Since Florida’s Surgeon General John Armstrong declared a public health emergency for the Zika virus on February 3rd, the total number of people infected with the virus has risen to 26 in the state. Although these are all imported cases seen in people who traveled outside the country, there is a rising concern that the virus will begin to spread locally and rapidly throughout the US.
Until recently, the Zika virus was dominantly found in African and Latin American countries, with the largest amount of cases found in Brazil. But now with low airfare costs, the tourism industry and the weather warming up, Orlando and Central Florida are facing major risks. To date, there are no known mosquitoes within Florida that carry the Zika virus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is keeping a close eye on the situation.
What is the Zika virus?
The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness. It is transmitted through the bite of a single species of daytime-active mosquito called Aedes aegypti. These mosquitoes also carry yellow fever, dengue fever and the chikungunya virus.
What are the Zika virus symptoms?
The most common symptoms are fever, headache, joint pain, rash and painful red eyes. Most symptoms are mild, lasting about a week, and very rarely require hospitalization. However, some people experience no symptoms at all.
What are the effects?
The Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, a rare neurological condition where children are born with underdeveloped heads and brains. In Brazil, where instances of the virus have surged, there has been an increase in the number of severe cases of microcephaly. The rising concern has Brazil officials urging women to postpone their pregnancies until more studies can be done.
How does this affect pregnancy?
Pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area affected by the Zika virus should talk to their healthcare provider even if they aren’t experiencing symptoms. Since the Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, doctors are advising women not to travel to infected countries. If travel is unavoidable, they should speak to their physician first, and adhere to strict guidelines to avoid mosquito bites while abroad.
What are the available treatment options?
Currently, no vaccination exists to stave off or treat the Zika virus. Instead, the prevention of mosquito bites is the only option. This can be done by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, using screens on open windows and doors of homes to keep mosquitoes out, and by using insect repellent as directed.
What are the available prevention options?
Some of Florida’s larger cities have mosquito control plans, but there are steps you should take locally. The Aedes aegypti mosquito only needs a small amount of standing water to breed. By eliminating all standing water such as dog bowls, flower pots, and tarps that have collected rainwater in and around homes, you can help prevent mosquitoes from breeding and spreading the virus.
If you have any questions or concerns about mosquitoes in your area, then please call the experts at Heron Home & Outdoor.
Before cooler temperatures roll in later this season, it’s important to get your lawn into tip top shape and ready for the seasonal change. This is because along with the cooler temps comes lower humidity and less rain. In return, your lawn’s watering needs, mowing needs, fertilization, and weed prevention will change. Following our simple tips below will ensure that your lawn stays healthy, weed free and ready for seasons to come. Here is an autumn checklist to guide you in the right direction:
- Installing new sod
- Proper Fertilization
- Weed Control
- Watering Practices
- Mowing Practices
Installing New Sod: Autumn is the perfect time to install new sod and plants. This is because plants will not lose water as quickly as they do during summer and they also tend to grow roots very quickly during this time of year. If you are planning on installing new grass, there are a few things to look out for. When the new sod arrives at your home or if you will be picking up your sod from a nursery, be sure to inspect it thoroughly for insects and fungus. Being that new sod usually arrives and is stored on pallets, it can be subject to little or no light for an extended period of time which is a perfect breeding environment for fungus and disease. For that reason, it’s important that after your new sod is installed, to have it inspected and treated by a lawn care professional. Your lawn technician can evaluate your new sod and come up with a plan of action for proper fertilization, fungicides needed and also pest prevention. He or she will also be able to go over the proper way to water your new lawn. Having your lawn professionally treated will allow it to grow in healthy, green and beautiful.
Fertilization: By the arrival of autumn, your lawn has used up a good portion of the nutrient base that was applied during its spring and summer lawn care treatments. This is the time of year when replenishing the soil with a well rounded fertilizer will help to restore nutrients back into the soil. Doing so will help maintain its healthiness and also provide a nutritional balance for the grass to regain its deep green color and density.
Weed Control: Central Florida autumn evenings are the perfect growing conditions for diseases such as Brown Patch Fungus to flare almost overnight, which can severely affect St. Augustine and Zoysia lawns in particular. Having your lawn treated with a pre-emergent weed control will help prevent weeds from ever being able to germinate or establish their seeds. Autumn tip: weed prevention in the fall will be the best practice for preventing weeds in the winter.
Watering Practices: Did you know that without regular rainfall or usage of a supplemental irrigation system, your lawn can become depleted of moisture within just a few days? It’s true. Your lawn’s soil will begin to dry out from top to bottom. A good rule of thumb to remember is: The deeper the root system of your grass, the better it will be able to withstand drought stress. It is critical that your lawn be conditioned to develop a deep root system. Applying ¾” to 1” of water per application will wet about 8 to 12” of soil underneath. Also, allowing the grass to slightly wilt before watering will prompt the grass to seek moisture deeper into the soil, lengthening the roots and creating a greater reserve of water within the plant structure. This will allow the grass to go longer without needing water, even through times of little to no rain. When properly conditioned, your grass will require only about two watering cycles per week at the beginning of fall. As winter approaches, you may be instructed by your neighborhood to cut back your watering to a maximum of once per week. But that’s ok. Provided that your lawn has been watered correctly up to that point, one watering cycle a week will generally keep the grass in good shape. It is also important to remember to never overwater your lawn and to follow the proper watering precautions during a freeze.
Mowing Practices: When mowing, never mow your lawn shorter than the recommended length for your grass type. An important rule to remember is that you shouldn’t cut more than 1/3 of the leaf blade to achieve your turf variety’s ideal length. Also, during autumn, times between mowing will increase from once per week at beginning of fall to once every 2 to 3 weeks at the onset of winter season. Mowing heights may also be raised in the fall to reduce the risk of winterkill from low temperatures. Taller grass blades will help insulate the lower portion of the grass and its roots.
Keep a close eye on your lawn this fall and let us know right away if something is not right. Remember, we’re always here to help. Happy autumn!
Look in our Additional Resources http://heronpest.com/customer-tips/additional-resources/ to see descriptions of some key issues that your lawn may experience such as frost, north side shade decline, and brown patch fungus.
It’s amazing that only thirteen years ago Heron Lawn and Pest Control was just a small start-up company that was run out of a tiny bedroom home office in Altamonte Springs, Fl. Now fast forward 13 years and today Heron Lawn and Pest Control is proud to have become one of the top 40 pest control companies in the nation. They’ve grown from one small home office to eight thriving branches throughout the Central Florida region, approximately 200 employees strong and now have over 19,000 customers. It’s without doubt that Heron has made quite an impression in this industry. However, with its future intentions of expansion and creating new footprints in new territories, Heron has come to a decision that in order to continue on its fortuitous path of expeditious growth, a new member to its Executive staff was needed. This special person would lead Heron on its journey of progressive advancements while opening up its doors to new, uncharted and opportunistic endeavors. With that being said, Heron is honored to be able to announce its new CEO, Greg Clendenin.
Heron has waited a long time to obtain a level of achievement that would afford them the opportunity to attract such a prestigious member, such as Greg, to its team. Heron not only wanted a leader who shared the same business philosophies and core values that the company encompassed, but it also wanted a CEO that could bring a great mix of leadership, operational and CEO experience, technical breadth, passion to persevere, adulation towards serving the community as well as preserving the environment and one who would also be willing to explore new options and push Heron to its limits. Heron’s owners strongly believe that Greg Clendenin is the person for the job. They recently spoke about the passing of the torch to Mr. Clendenin, and said, “Not only is Greg one of the best executives in the industry, but he also understands and embodies the hardcore committed, resilient character and winning culture that Heron represents. We truly believe that he has what it takes to take Heron Lawn and Pest Control to the next level of excellence.”
Greg has been married to his wife, Dottie Moody Clendenin, for sixteen years and together they have four sons Jason, Aaron, George and Charlie. Greg joins Heron with an impressive 35 years of experience in the lawn and pest industry. He is a graduate from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia as well as from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College. Greg holds a B.A. in General Studies from the University of Lynchburg and a Master’s Degree of Business Administration from Rollins College. Greg started working in the lawn and pest industry in 1979 and quickly moved up the ranks. Since then, he has held such positions as Partner and Vice President of Operations of Sears Authorized Termite and Pest Control, as well as President and CEO of Middleton Lawn and Pest Control. Greg’s signature achievement was being the leader and architect of Middleton’s organic growth from $8 Million to $35 Million in 9 years. Greg has also acquired a plethora of accolades during his time in the field such as Chairperson of the year from FPMA in 2004. He graciously accepted the key to the City of Orlando from Mayor Glenda Hood in 2003. He was a finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Crummer Business school at Rollins College. He has earned Gov. Lawton Child’s Corporate Champion Award, The Leadership Award from the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Excellence Award from the Orange County Citizen’s Commission for Children and the prestigious National Leadership Award from industry peers in 2003. Greg also served as assistant Director for region 4 of the Florida Pest Control Assoc., he was a past chairman of the National Lawn Care Committee for NPMA, as well as a past NPMA board member and chairman of the National Quality Pro program.
As he is no stranger to the lawn and pest industry, Heron feels privileged that Greg has chosen to come on board as CEO. The company feels as though Greg has the perfect skill set for the position, as his individuality, ideal values and unmatched steadfastness to customer care will be the keys to Heron’s success in the future.
Crabgrass….the very mention of the word can send shivers down the spines of many homeowners. This is because crabgrass can turn what was once a vivacious lawn into a crisp, discolored, patchy nightmare. What’s more concerning is that Florida is known to have five different varieties of crabgrass! (As if one type isn’t enough.) And to make matters worse, one crabgrass plant can produce approximately 150,000 seedlings, which can stay dormant in soil for years! So, what this inevitably means for most homeowners is that, sooner or later, they will have to take on the challenging, crabgrass battle.
But that’s ok! There’s no need to fret. Heron is here to help and has come up with the following solutions that can help every homeowner prevent the spread of crabgrass in their lawn.
The number one way to help keep crabgrass and other weeds at bay is to maintain a thick and healthy lawn. There are three key ingredients to achieving a healthy lawn: adequate irrigation, proper mowing and fertilization.
You always want to make sure that your lawn is mowed according to its required length. Most turf grasses have an optimal mowing height of 2 ½ “ to 3”. Keeping lawns at the required height will allow the turf to shade the soil and prevent certain temperatures that could help crabgrass germinate.
Run the sprinkler system twice a week and ensure that at least ¾” to 1” of water is being applied per application. Watering more frequently or at less amounts of time can cause the lawn’s root system to become shallow and the grass to become weak. Shallow root systems and weak lawns invite crabgrass to sprout throughout the landscape, causing crabgrass and other weeds to become the more dominate plant. If you have any questions about irrigation or if you are unsure whether or not your landscape is receiving adequate water, we are happy to provide you with a free same day 7 Point Irrigation Analysis.
- Pre-Emergent Herbicides: Having the lawn treated with a seasonal, pre-emergent herbicide is an important part of crabgrass control. Pre-emergent herbicides are designed to create a barrier in the soil to help prevent seeds from germinating and young plants from developing strong root systems. Most crabgrass species are identified as summer, annual weeds and grow well in soil temperatures of 50 degrees or higher. For this reason, pre-emergent herbicides need to be applied in the very early spring when ground temperatures are still cool and haven’t yet started to increase.
- Post-Emergent Herbicides: If you notice that crabgrass has already taken root in your soil and is now growing in spots throughout your lawn, it may be time for a post-emergent herbicide. Post-emergent herbicides kill the crabgrass after it is has sprouted. Using the correct post-emergent herbicide will depend on the type of lawn you have. Your lawn care specialist will be able to determine the correct type and amount of herbicides to use. More importantly, maintaining a continuous lawn care regimen is key to preventing crab grass from invading your lawn throughout the year.
If your lawn is completely covered with crabgrass and/or has major bare spots throughout, resodding may be your next option. Fall is a great time to re-sod as the grass will have plenty of time before winter to root properly. Once your new sod is rooted properly, you’ll want to have your lawn treated on a regular basis to prevent crabgrass from growing throughout. Following the previous steps will ensure that your lawn stay green and healthy.
As always, if you have any further question, we are always here to help. If you would like a free same day inspection, please call 1-800-81-HERON.
To read more about proper irrigation, click here.
To read more about proper mowing, click here.
To read more about seasonal lawn care, click here.
It’s back to school season! To help out, we are running a special that will not only protect your home from termites, but will also give you a substantial discount! It is our goal to keep your family safe this termite season and prevent any potential termite damage to your home.
From now through the end of August, we are offering a 30% discount on termite protection for our customers who currently have or who purchase our pest control service! This will ensure that you will not only receive the best termite protection available, but that your home will also be pest free!
We will inspect your home at no charge, and leave you a detailed report notating any areas of concern. We will carefully go over your current termite protection plan with you to make sure you are fully covered.
Rest assured knowing that Heron’s termite program is backed by a $1 Million Repair Agreement. It is extremely important that you protect your home now, because waiting can be detrimental.
Here are some key facts about termite destruction:
- In Florida, termites do more damage to homes each year than wind, fire, storms and other natural disasters combined!
- Termite damage is NOT covered by homeowners insurance.
- Termites are silent thieves. Before you know it, they will quietly invade your home and cause significant damage to both your home and wallet.
- Termites cause MAJOR structural damage to any wood inside of your home.
- There are few warning signs, however, pinholes around a door frame, baseboards or window frame, a crack in drywall or loose tiles can all be signs of termite damage.
- Unfortunately, many homeowners are under the impression that they have current termite protection, and do not find out that they’re not covered until it’s too late.
DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE! CALL FOR YOUR FREE HOME INSPECTION!
Watch our termite video at ByeByeTermites.com
Don’t let an Infestation ruin your summer. Prevention is key!
Summer is here and fleas and ticks are in abundance. Although they may not always be visible, fleas and ticks live all around us. They’re in our lawns, shrubs, in our sandy soil and unfortunately, sometimes on our pets. If the latter part of that statement sounds a little too familiar to you, then your pets are in need of some serious help…and quick! Fleas and ticks can be dangerous to humans and even more so to pets. Can you imagine walking around all day long with tiny bugs constantly sucking your blood? One flea can bite up to 400 times in a day. (OUCH!) What’s worse is that not only do fleas and ticks feed on our pets but they also transfer deadly diseases, such as Lyme disease. Take a look at the informative chart below to read facts about fleas and ticks, the differences between the two and the variety of diseases they can spread. If you have pets, it’s imperative, for your health and theirs as well, to be proactive and seek proper pest control treatment for your home and lawn. Also, if you think that you may have a flea or tick infestation, an inspection and professional treatment is critical to rid your home of these pests.
Don’t wait until it’s too late, prevent a flea and tick infestation in your home and keep your family and pets safe.
Call 1-800-81-Heron TODAY if you have any questions or if you would like to schedule your FREE Same Day inspection.
The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for Monday evening and Tuesday. Freezing temperatures can kill plants and other vegetation if not adequately protected.
TIPS TO HELP YOUR PLANTS SURVIVE THROUGH A FREEZE
1. Watering your lawn before a frost or freeze will help to insulate and protect the lawn’s root structure. By watering early enough before a freeze, water has time to seep into the soil and evaporate off of the leaf blades. However, do not water your lawn right before a freeze. Doing so will not give the water on the leaf blades enough time to dry and will cause major, irreversible damage to the turf.
2. Avoid mowing or walking on a frozen lawn! Doing so can crush the leaf blades causing permanent damage to your lawn. Keeping the grass tall is also beneficial because maintaining taller turf in the winter promotes a deeper root system and it creates a warmer microenvironment between the grass blades.
3. Protect your plants during a freeze by placing a blanket or burlap cloth over them. However, do not place plastic over plants. As water turns into condensation, ice crystals will form under the plastic which will cause the plant to die.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that any plant with an abundance of water in their cell structures, such as tropical or succulent plants, are at a higher risk for damage during a freeze.
THESE ARE SOME OF THE PLANTS THAT SHOULD BE COVERED OR BROUGHT INSIDE DURING A FREEZE:
|– Crotons||– Any Palm Plant||– Hibiscus
|– Succulents (such as Cacti)||– Citrus Trees (with fruit)||– Mexican Petunias|
|– Lillies (if planted, first cut them and then cover)||– Bougainvilleas||– African Iris|
|– Ixora||– Eugenias (Topiaries)||– Birds of Paradise
|– Schefflera||– Goldmounds||– Plumbagos|
|– Annuals will normally die during the freeze.|
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL US IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS.
The Heron Team
And Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, Heron Lawn and Pest Control’s #1 Creepiest Crawler in Central Florida…The Black Widow!!!!October 31, 2013
The Black Widow sits lonesome in her extravagent web
Waiting calmly and patiently in hopes to be fed.
Her prey consists of mosquitos and fleas you may find.
Grasshoppers, beetles and caterpillars of the kind.
Her bite is fatal to creatures of the night
Once venom is injected there’s no hope just pure fright.
Their insides will become liquid once the enzymes take hold.
The Black Widow will win, there will only be cold.
For us humans that accidentally come in contact with one
Our outcome will be different, a new story shall be spun.
Her venom is 15 times more strong than a rattlesnakes’ blight
It is powerful, precise and full of pure might.
One bite from this vixen will cause certain distress
There will be nausea and aches and paralysis of the chest.
Sometimes fatal to small children, animals and the old
All symptoms could be avoided if warnings were foretold.
So take heed to this message, keep it fresh in your mind.
Remember to stay away and share it with all of mankind.
The Black widow is vicious, she shows no remorse.
Just ask the male spiders that have come across her course.
So be safe and have fun on this Halloween Night!
But BEWARE of this Femme Fetale….
BECAUSE SHE JUST MIGHT BITE!!!
Commonly called the “Violin” spider because of the distinct patter on its back, the Brown Recluse is definitely a CREEPY CRAWLER to watch out for! Although this recluse likes being alone, if provoked its bite can be one of the nastiest bites known to man! The venom of a Brown Recluse bite can cause the living cells and tissue around the bite to die, resulting in very painful, gruesome, “FLESH ROTTING” open wounds. Removal of the dead flesh and skin grafting are often the only ways to stop the ulcer from spreading. Side effects can also consist of fever, chills, rashes, nausea and vomiting. Look for these crafty critters hiding in your old shoes, clothes, wood piles and behind old boxes. This is certainly not a spider you want to come in contact with!
Often confused with bees because of their black and yellow coloring, Yellow Jackets are far more dangerous! These noisy nuisances are extremely aggressive and often attack without being provoked. How rude!
Do not swat at a yellow jacket! These vicious villains feed off of your aggression and will attack if you do. Unlike bees, yellow jackets do not lose their stingers and can actually sting and bite their victims multiple times!
FREAKY FACT: Smashing a yellow jacket releases a “warning” pheromone to alert other yellow jackets to attack! With nests containing 400-5000 angry yellow jackets, this is not a flying army that you want coming after you!