Monthly Archives: December 2014

Weed Spraying Explained – Spraying The Blue Stuff

In the past few years, weed spraying to control unwanted weeds and grasses in lawns, planting beds, and other areas has become more and more popular and visible. I’m sure you’ve noticed the “blue stuff” a lot more on lawns and other areas during certain times of the year.

This article will help define the different types of weed control spraying applications, their different uses, different types of herbicides used, and how they may be beneficial to you.

First, a note about The Blue Stuff – A lot of folks are under the impression that the herbicides and weed killers themselves are blue and that the amount used is indicated by how dark or light the blue color is when applied.

Actually, the blue color is just an indicator dye that allows the applicator to see where they have already sprayed. This helps prevent excessive overlapping and over spraying which makes the applications safer and more economical.

While you’ll notice that some lawns and other applications are very dark blue, at Horizon we generally keep our applications on the light side. We do this for a few reasons. While the indicator dye is relatively inexpensive, the accumulated cost of many yards can add up. And of course that cost has to be filtered into the price. As well, a lot of our clients have expressed that they don’t care to have their properties blue for weeks.

So, we only use as little as needed for us to see and do and get effective results. Again, the depth of blue is not an indicator of the active chemical ratio.

Types Of Herbicide Weed Sprays

There are several different types of herbicides and weed killer sprays to address specific applications for different results. I won’t get too scientific with this. I’ll do my best to explain everything in a way that’s easy to understand. See Weed Control And Herbicides for a more detailed explanation of all the ins and outs of these types of chemicals and how to use them.

First, There are selective and non-selective herbicides.

  • - Selective Herbicides – These are chemicals that are used to control and kill some vegetation species without harming others. These are most commonly used in lawn applications or planting beds with desirable plants and trees. For example, dandelion or sand bur can be targeted and killed without harming the surrounding lawn turf. As well, there are some that will kill one type of grass without harming another grass type.
  • - Non-Selective Vegetation Killers – These are generally used in areas where no vegetation is desired or to spot spray in confined or other areas. A good example of a non-selective herbicide is glyphosate (Roundup). It is designed to kill most plants including grasses.

Pre Emergent

Again, not to get too scientific, pre emergents are designed to stop weed and other plant seeds from sprouting and growing. They generally don’t have any effect on existing vegetation that’s already growing.

There are many types of these chemicals in different strengths and chemical make ups to target different plant groups, species, and application areas. The most common areas where these are used are lawns and planting beds. Most are selective as explained above.

Post Emergent

Post, meaning after, emergent herbicide weed killers are designed to kill existing vegetation that is actively growing after it has already sprouted. These can be used in most applications but are also commonly used in lawns and planting beds. These can be selective or non-selective as explained above.

There are a lot of these chemicals that target different groups and species as well. A good example of a selective post emergent weed killer used in lawns is 2,4-D. This is one of the most common herbicides for lawn use that is still available to the general public in products like Ortho Weed-B-Gone. For example, it can be used to target dandelion without harming the surrounding lawn.

Bare Ground Soil Sterilant

These herbicides are always non-selective. They kill all vegetation including grasses for an extended amount of time. These are most generally used in industrial sites, oilfield weed control, fence lines, driveways, vacant lots, and planting areas without desirable ornamentals, trees, and other plants.

Bare ground soil sterilants can be very dangerous and unpredictable if not used correctly and cautiously. Honestly, they should only be applied by licensed knowledgeable pest control applicators.

There are a few reasons these chemicals can be so dangerous. One, if the wrong type for the wrong situation is used, it can be moved from the target site by wind or rain. If it is moved into an area where desirable plants are, the results are predictable. A lot of beautiful ageless trees have been lost due to this.

Another is when these chemicals are spray close to or over the root zone of desirable plants and trees. Again, these chemicals can move laterally and vertically in the soil due to wind and irrigation.

And yet another is when irresponsible applicators spray during breezy or windy conditions. Even the slightest breeze can cause enough drift to harm or kill nearby plants. Again, spraying these herbicides should only be done by licensed experienced applicators.

So there you have it. A little non scientific easy to understand explanation of weed spraying and what the blue stuff is.

I would also like to add that there are a lot of these post and pre emergents that come in granular form which are often more practical for the home owner who wants to do it themselves. Most folks don’t generally have access to the type of commercial sprayers that professional applicators have. If you do it yourself, Read and follow the label. It’s the law.

If you plan to do it yourself and have application or safety concerns, feel free to give us a call. Or if you would like professional weed spraying and control services for your lawn or property, give Horizon a call today at 575-725-9331.


How To Get Rid Of Mice – Mouse Control

Effective mouse control, as well as dealing with rats and other rodent infestations in homes and businesses is generally quite simple and in most cases, something that the average homeowner or business can do themselves quite easily. While exterminating mice and rodents is on our list of pest control services and we will be glad to take care of it for you, with our free evaluation we will also advise you on what you can do yourself to eliminate the problem and prevent further infestations.

First, an important note about using poisons to get rid of mice and other rodents. We don’t use any poisons in a commercial or residential application unless the client is willing to sign off that Horizon is not responsible to find and extract any dead rodents that have made their final resting place in a wall, under the floor, or some other hard to discover or access area. Simply, poisons aren’t generally the best solution for mouse control in living and working space buildings. Give some thought to the results before you use them.

Generally, by the time we get a call regarding a mouse infestation, it has been identified and the client has already been active in trying to eliminate the issue. They may have already caught a few or many mice. Using every fancy electronic, spring loaded, or box trap on the market, they still can’t seem to get rid of the problem completely. So they give us a call in hopes that we have the magic cure or some super poison to end all civilization known to mouse and rodent.

The problem usually is that they’re approaching the problem a bit backwards. It’s a process. And traps are the last step in the process and not usually the means to the end. So let’s start from the beginning.

Sanitation – Stop Feeding The Mice

While eliminating food sources doesn’t guarantee that mice and other rodents and pests will stay away, a plentiful food source will almost guarantee that they will take up residence and stay.

While mice and many other rodent species prefer grains and cereals, they also enjoy and will feed on many other types of food. So all sources need to be considered for this step. A plus side to this step is that it will also help with keeping your home free of insect pests as well.

Take an assessment and evaluation. You can’t really go overboard with this step. All food sources from grain products like flower and cereals to candy to meat products need to be considered. Also, don’t forget pet foods.

Place these and all food sources in sealed containers. While metal canisters with lids are preferable, especially for pet foods, tightly sealed plastic will generally do the trick.

Keep pet food spills cleaned up. It’s even a good idea to pick up and store pet food bowls at night.

Exclusion – Rodent Proofing

Even if you’ve got the trapping process down to an art, you’re not going to ever reach the end of it as long as more mice can continue to gain access to your home or business. You need to do a little investigating to see where the mice are gaining access and then fix the issue.

Even the smallest spaces that don’t seem possible for entry can be access points. Mice can fit through an opening as small as 1/4″. So don’t exclude any areas. Also, look at it this way. Patching up all the little holes will also help eliminate other pest issues like insects. As well, it may even help with your heating and cooling bills.

Identifying Entry And Access Points

  • - Around pipe entry points through walls – Look under sinks, behind toilets, where hvac lines come into the building, etc.
  • - Around electrical receptacles – Be careful here. Don’t touch or apply any sealant to or near actual electrical wires or connections.
  • - Make sure doors and windows seal tightly. Replace worn weather stripping and seals around and under doors.
  • - Repair torn window and door screens. A mouse can chew through wire screens with no problem. Still, as long as you have eliminated food sources as mentioned above, the temptation to simply crawl through will be lessened.
  • - Patch and repair any holes in walls.
  • - Around heating and cooling vents.
  • - Eliminate any and all entry points that you can identify. This means even high up on a wall. Mice are excellent climbers and can jump a good distance.

Seal Holes To Keep Mice Out

Mice, rats, and rodents can chew their way through just about any material. Wood and plastics are really no obstacle for them. Still we use what is practical and called for the job. And once again, eliminating food sources will lessen the temptation to access an area.

Sealing holes around pipe and wire entries can be done with a mixture of steel wool and caulking or with canned expanding foam insulation. If possible, place some steel wool in the holes before sealing.

Try and make the sealing materials as smooth as possible. Mice and rats will pull at and find it easier to gnaw on any extrusion or angle in the sealant.

Mouse Deterrents And Repellants

Rodents are very sensitive to scent, sound, sight, motion, and touch. So so this is worth mentioning here and clearing up any false ideas about it.

Ultra Sonic And Noise Pest Repellants

Seriously? Don’t let some snake oil pest control guy sell you on these. At the time of this writing, they simply do not work to eliminate and repel mice, other rodents, insects, or other pests.

For one, they are directional and can’t penetrate through walls or other obstacles. So, unless you’re going to purchase one for every electrical outlet and behind every wall, it is pointless.

As well, at the time of this writing, there is no clinical research evidence that they even work at all. Sure, there are lots of reviews on the sites that sell them. But try to find the clinical scientific research proof on the sites. There is none.

Secondly, let’s just say that ultra sonic or noise deterrents did work. While mice may be initially  frightened by loud or unfamiliar sound, they soon get use to it, realize there is no harm, and return.

Scent Repellants

As stated earlier, a mouse’s senses are very keen. Their sense of smell is way more sensitive than humans. So some scent repellants have been found to be very effective and used with great success.

Peppermint Oil – We’ve actually had good success with this. Not peppermint extract. Peppermint oil. You can generally find this online and sometimes at your local health food store.

Put a few drops on a cotton ball and place the cotton ball on a piece of foil or other object that it can’t seep through and place in areas where you’ve seen mouse droppings or activity. Also place near or in holes that can’t be repaired. You may be surprised at the results.

We’ve used this with great success to keep mice and rats from chewing the wires under hoods of cars and trucks. Placing the soaked cotton balls in magnetic hide-a-keys and attaching them to the firewalls, it usually fixes the problem. Make sure whatever you use and wherever you place it won’t be prone to catch on fire from the heat of the engine.

Natural Scent Rodent Repellants – We’ve used several of these with great success. However, they’re generally very strong and can often be a bit overpowering when used in residence and business locations. Use sparingly at first until you know how they will affect you.

The main problem with using these natural scent repellants is that they do diminish over time and have to be replenished. Still, they’re a good part of any do it yourself mouse control program.

Mouse Traps???

While there have been fancier and cooler mouse traps developed that work well, I really don’t think they can be called any better or more effective than the good old fashioned spring loaded wood trap. They’re inexpensive, easy to use, easily monitored, and easy to dispose of.

Multi-catch live catch box traps are good for certain situations and maintenance. They need to be monitored regularly and can be a pain when you have to figure out what to do and dispose of live mice. We’ll leave that one up to you.

These multi-catch live traps may be an option when you have pets or small children that may get into the other conventional traps. When using these types of traps, place them against walls in areas traveled by mice. And make sure the entry ways are against the wall. Mice generally travel rooms against the wall.

What To Use For Mouse Bait

You may have to do a little bit of experimenting with this to find out what your resident mice like best and what’s most effective. As a general starter, peanut butter, chocolate, or even good ol’ cheese will often work best. Another good one is a piece of bacon put in place and then lightly torched. And then again, you may find something that works even better in your situation.

Final Words And Cautions

Mice are nasty little critters that can carry a lot of diseases. For a list of some of the diseases that rodents can carry and spread see -  Diseases Directly Transmitted By Rodents

When dealing with, handling traps, disposing of mice and rodents, and cleaning droppings and infested areas, wear resistant gloves and a dust mask. The kind of dust mask used for mowing lawns is generally adequate. Better is better.

Professional Rodent And Mouse Control

As I stated at the first of this post, rodent and mouse control is on our list of  services offered. If you are in Carlsbad, Artesia, or most of Southeast New Mexico, we will be glad to take care of it for you if you don’t wish to mess with it. From creating exclusion to advising on sanitation to trapping and monitoring the traps, Horizon is available at an hourly rate. However, depending on the extent of your infestation, it can run into some expense. Give us a call today at 575-725-9331.

How Do Cockroaches Get Into Your Home

Cockroaches are in every place on earth. We treat a lot of infestations in the area and they often prove to be some of our most challenging projects. And while it’s often puzzling to a lot of folks who keep very clean residence and businesses as to how they got a roach infestation, it usually comes down to one or more not so mysterious reasons.

Knowing how cockroaches get into your residence or business and where they come from can help avoid many infestations.

Most folks associate a cockroach infestation with a dirty home or unsanitary conditions. They believe that the roaches, in their quest for food, water, and shelter will bypass the well kept homes and journey on until they find a nice nasty place to take up residence. And while a bit of grease splatter and a continual supply of crumbs will encourage an extended stay, it’s not generally the circumstance that leads the cockroaches to any particular spot in the first place. The truth is that any home or business is susceptible to a roach invasion regardless of its state of cleanliness.

To a lot of folks, seeing even a single roach on the inside is cause for alarm. However, there is a bit of a difference between an opportunistic roach that finds its way in from the outside and an infestation. Most single opportunistic roach sightings can be addressed with an insect barrier spray and a bit of exclusion and tightening up any possible entry points like weather stripping under doors and around pipe entries. However, an infestation of all growth stages of roaches inside your home or business is generally already established. Both cases need to be addressed immediately to prevent an infestation or further infestation.

For the most part, the single sightings that most folks see in and around buildings, often referred to as “water bugs” are Oriental Roaches and are usually easier to control than others with one or two applications of insecticide and some exclusion as mentioned above. These most often are adults that have simply found their way in from the outside and are not established colonies on the inside.

On the other hand, multiple sightings of any roaches, especially German Roaches, in all growth stages including nymphs is the sign of an infestation of established colonies that are reproducing. And if left unattended, they can reproduce at at alarming rate.

OK, So How Did The Roach Infestation Get Inside?

Believe it or not, most cockroach infestations are brought into your residence or business. That’s right. Still, that’s not to say that they don’t venture in form an adjoining building, from the neighbors house, through old sewer drains, through cracks under the door, along wire and pipe entries, or a number of other ways. But for the most part, they generally hitch a ride on some person or thing.

A Few Of The Most Common Ways Cockroaches Are Carried In

  • - Packages And Packaging – Food or otherwise like in the folds and seems of cardboard boxes and paper bags. In a sack of potatoes or fruit from the store are common examples.
  • - In A Visitors Suitcase Or Other Goods – Folks coming to visit and especially those who travel a lot are often likely to carry a roach or two or even eggs in their belongings.
  • - On A Person Themselves – This could happen with anyone but especially those who work in areas that are prone to cockroaches. Some examples would be someone who works in food service, in warehouses, or on docks.
  • - On Items Borrowed Or Lent – This happens all the time
  • - Garage Or Rummage Sale Items – This happens a lot as well
  • - ???????

Preventive Measures

  1. While it is practically impossible to check every item in detail that comes into your home or business, it’s still a good idea to give the most high risk items like garage sale items, boxes, and sacks a going over before you bring them in.
  2. Keep your home treated with a good residual and safe insecticide that is labeled for roaches. Either hire a professional pest control company or do it yourself.
  3. Do an inspection of your home or business and create exclusion of every possible means of entry.
  4. First sign of bugs, if your area isn’t already treated, either get it treated or do it yourself.
  5. Keep all areas clean. Vacuum daily, do dishes immediately, take out trash daily, sanitize counter tops, dry out sinks and keep them plugged, clean up all crumbs after eating, etc..

Professional Cockroach Control Services

Generally, a cockroach infestation has gone beyond the need for simply spraying over the counter consumer pest control products. It could take several months and several different means of extermination. That’s not to say that you can’t do it yourself. However, if you would like assistance and you’re in the Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico area, give Horizon Pest Control a call at 575-725-9331 and we’ll be glad to advise you or get you set up on a program.