Unwelcome Home Invaders

With pleasant weather year round it's no wonder so many people move to Florida. Unfortunately our local climates can also attract some unwanted guest. Don't let your home be their next stop, One Call Lawn and Pest Control can handle your indoor pest problems safely and effectively.

The Paper Wasp

Paper wasps are 0.7 to 1.0 inch (1.8 to 2.5 cm)long wasps. Their nest is gray or brown that is a papery material. Their nest is made from fibers of dead wood and plant matter. If provoked, they can become aggressive.

Brown Widow Spider

The adult females have 1"-1.5" leg span and are poisonous. The males are approximately 1/3 their size, but they are harmless.

The color can range from tan to dark brown to black, with shades of grey also possible. 

They have an hourglass-shaped marking on the underside of the abdomen. the Brown Widows hourglass is an orange or yellowish color.

If bitten by a female brown widow, symptoms include nausea, vomiting, faintness, dizziness, tremors, loss of muscle tone, shock, speech disturbances, and general motor paralysis. Death is a rare occurrence.

American Cockroach

The American cockroach is also known as the water bug or Palmetto bug. American cockroach adults grow to an average length of around 1.6". They are reddish brown and have a yellowish margin on the body region behind their head. Immature cockroaches resemble adults except they are wingless. American cockroaches generally live in moist areas, but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer warm temperatures around 84°F and do not tolerate cold temperatures. American cockroaches are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders that feed on a great variety of foods and liquids, to include other dead or injured cockroaches.

German Cockroach

The German cockroach is a small species of cockroach, measuring about .5" long. It can be tan through brown to almost black, and has two dark parallel streaks running from the head to the base of the wings. They are a nocturnal cockroach, but may be seen during the day if disturbed or in high numbers. They are the fastest reproducing cockroach and one of the most difficult to control. They may eat household items such as glue, soap, toothpaste or they may even turn cannibalistic. High numbers of these roaches can cause constant sickness among the occupants of the establishment.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed exclusively on blood. Adult bed bugs are light brown to reddish-brown, flattened, oval-shaped and have no hind wings. 

Adults grow to 4–5 mm in length and 1.5–3 mm wide. A number of adverse health effects may result from bed bug bites, including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms.

They can be difficult to diagnose as an infestation. If proper steps are not taken, eradication can be nearly impossible. A 10-14 day follow up is necessary to ensure the issue has been resolved.

Fleas

Fleas are the insects that are wingless, with mouth parts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood. Fleas are external parasites, living off the blood of mammals and birds. They are typically 1/16 to 1/8-inch long that are agile, usually dark colored (for example, the reddish-brown of the cat flea), with tube-like mouth-parts adapted to feeding on the blood of their hosts. They can jump vertically up to 7 inches and horizontally up to 13 inches. Proper preparation is imperative for eradication with a 10-14 day follow up to ensure the issue has been resolved.

Ants

There is a large variety of ants that can be a nuisance in Northeast Florida. Many of these include the following:

Ghost Ants, Pharaoh Ants, White Footed Ant, Carpenter Ants, Argentine Ants, Acrobat Ants and Crazy Ants. Size, treatment method, food preference and behavior differ in most species.

Rats

The Brown Rat, also known as the Street Rat, Sewer Rat, or Norwegian Rat, is one of the best known and most common rats. It is a brown or grey rodent with a body up to 10 in long, and a similar tail length. 

The male weighs on average 12 oz and the female 9 oz. The brown rat is a true omnivore and will consume almost anything. Similar to other rodents, brown rats may carry a number of pathogens, which can cause and spread many diseases. They are thought to have caused the spread of the Bubonic Plague. Rat proofing the home is the best way to prevent these rodents. The other 2 methods of control and through using poison and traps.

Weeds, Diseases, and Green Pests

Dollarweed

An aquatic weed that thrives on excessively moist soil. Reducing the amount of moisture in these areas can help reduce and prevent the outbreak of this perennial weed.

Crabgrass

An annual grassy weed that invades weakened, thin or bare areas. This grassy weed prefers hot dry climate and spreads rapidly until it dies off in the fall to return in the spring if proper treatments and actions aren't taken.

Spurge

A prevalent summer annual weed which thrives in hot, dry climate. This weed spreads rapidly in shrub beds and bare areas in the turf and dies off in the fall.

Carolina Geranium

A winter annual weed which flourishes in most conditions throughout the cool season. This annual weed dies off as warm weather approaches in the spring.

Annual Bluegrass

A winter annual weed which prefers moist soil and flourishes best in full sun but can grow in partial to full shade. This weed starts its life cycle as summer ends and fall arrives and dies out with warm weather in spring.

Brown Patch

A very common lawn soil borne disease that is caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani. It is very prevalent in warm and humid areas attacking St. Augustine, Centipede and other various types of turf in North Florida.The disease appears in circular patches of dead grass that vary in size. Excessive moisture is a mojor cause of this disease with excessive moisture being a compounding contributor. When the disease becomes severe, the fungus rots the blades of grass at the sheaths causing the grass to pull out with no resistance.

Dollar Spot Fungus

A common summer turf disease caused by low soil moisture along with humidity. Lack of potassium and nitrogen also contribute to this disease. This fungus effects various types of turf throughout North Florida. This fungus appears in fist sized patches of brown. New growth must push out the aesthetically unappealing brown patches.

Gray Leaf Spot Fungus

A summer turf disease caused by consistent leaf moisture throughout the rainy season. Excessive nitrogen can also contribute to the spreading of the fungus. Small brown and gray circles on the blades of grass is the key indicator. New growth must push out the aesthetically unappealing lesions.

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Troublesome Outside Invaders

Florida is known for it's beautiful weather and lush foliage. Unfortunately this can also attract some unwanted guest. In many cases homeowners might not even realize that by planting certain flora or improperly watering their yard they are inadvertently creating the perfect environment to invite these destructive pest.

The Chinch Bug

By far the most destructive insect in St Augustine turf in North Florida. Chinch bugs reside in the thatch area of the turfgrass and prefer to feed on the lower leaf sheath and crown area of the plant. Adult chinch bugs are about 1/8" to 1/5 inch)" in length and black with white markings on the wings, resembling an "X". The chinch bug inserts its straw-like mouthparts into the plant tissue and sucks out the plant juices while injecting toxic saliva into the plant which clogs the vascular system. Damaged areas first appear as small, irregular patches which enlarge as the insects spread. Chinch bugs are most damaging in open, sunny areas, sources of radiant heat, such as a driveway and will target stressed areas of the turf. The vital keys of prevention is ensuring adequate irrigation, proper mowing height and preventing scalping of the turf.

Mole Crickets

Mostly considered turfgrass pests that prefer moist soil. They are 1 1/2"-2" in size. Mole crickets can damage plants by feeding at night on foliage or stem tissue above ground and on roots and tubers below of shrubs. Mole cricket feeding is not considered as damaging as their tunneling. Mole cricket tunneling near the soil surface dislodges turf, causing it to dry out making it aesthetically unappealing. Grasses differ in susceptibility to injury. Bahiagrass and bermudagrass are especially injured by mole crickets. Whereas St. Augustine grass seems to tolerate injury because of its dense growth habit, but is injured at times. Centipede grass and Zoysia grass are infrequently injured.

White Grubs

Immature scarab beetles. They hatch from eggs laid in the soil, and also pupate in the soil. White grubs are not a heavy turf destroying insect in North Florida. The adults (beetles) are rarely turf pests, but some may feed on tree leaves or make mounds in the soil. White white grubs feed on grass roots, the grass gradually thins, yellows, and dies. This makes the grass feel soft and spongy. Scattered, irregular, brown patches of grass appear, which increase in size over time. The root injury reduces the turf's ability to take up water and nutrients to withstand drought stress. Heavily infested grass lifts easily like new sod.

Adult Moths

Dingy brown moths with wing spans of about 3/4 inch and do not cause damage to turf. Caterpillars grow to almost 3/4 inch long , appearing translucent green with small dark-colored spots or plates arranged on each body segment and a dark, yellowish-brown head capsule. The caterpillars have chewing mouthparts, while the adults have siphoning mouths. Caterpillars feed during the night on turfgrasses, including Bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass, Centipedegrass, Bahiagrass, Crabgrass and Zoysiagrass. Injured grass blades initially appear notched and ragged as tissues are removed from the edges until the entire leaf is consumed. Injured turf is usually spotty within a lawn, but damaged areas enlarge as caterpillars migrate in search of more food.

Adult Fall Armyworms

Their wing spans are 1 1/4"-1 1/2" wide and are brown and gray with white spots on the wings. The caterpillars grow up to 1 1/2 inches long, and are brown and greens with a yellow inverted "y" on their head and have chewing mouthparts, while the adults have siphoning mouths. Caterpillars feed during the day on turfgrasses, including Bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass, Centipedegrass, Bahiagrass, Crabgrass and Zoysiagrass. Injured grass blades initially appear notched and ragged as tissues are removed from the edges until the entire leaf is consumed. Injured turf is usually spotty within a lawn, but damaged areas enlarge as caterpillars migrate in search of more food.

Fire Ants

They vary in size and can have multiple queens in a colony which can contain up to 200,000 ants in each colony. Fire ants prefer sunny areas that have moist soil. The damage caused by fire ants to North Florida turf is not tremendous. However, the mounds they create can hinder root development in turf, shrubs and annual flowers. Fire ants are extremely aggressive and will attack when threatened or their colony is disturbed.

Whiteflies

An insect that are found primarily on the underside of the leaves of various plants and feed by tapping into the phloem. They are approximately 1/4" in size as an adult. They produce a honeydew excretion which eventually leads to sooty mold which spreads among infected areas of the shrub.

Aphids

Pear shaped insects that can be many different colors and most aphids are host specific to certain plants. Aphids are 1/8"-1/4" in size as an adult. Aphids are found primarily on the underside of the leaves of new growth. Their damage causes the leaves to yellow and wilt. They produce a honeydew excretion which eventually leads to sooty mold which spreads among infected areas of the shrub.

Mealy Bugs

White insects that vary in size from 1/8"-1/4" that feed in crevices of the plant stems and undersides of leaves. They produce a honeydew excretion which eventually leads to sooty mold which spreads among infected areas of the shrub.

Scale

Insects that target most shrubs and some trees. There are many types of scale in North Florida which attack various plants. Scale harm shrubs by feeding on sap drawn directly from the plant's vascular system causing yellowing and browning of leaves. In some cases, scale can kill the plant host if infestation is heavy enough. Most scale is found on the stem or on the underside of the leaves. Sooty mold excretions are caused by soft scale. Whereas armored scale do not produce sooty mold.

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