Monthly Archives: December 2015

Cockroach Control – Doing Your Part

Cockroach infestations are some of the most common issues in our Southeast New Mexico service areas of Artesia and Carlsbad. They range from minor “water bug” (Oriental Roach) presence to extreme infestations of German roaches. Some are rather easy to control and others take a bit of time and persistence.

While this article is directed more as a supplement and guideline for our own clients, the following information, steps, and requirements will also be helpful if you’re going at it yourself. This stuff is important for complete long term control and goes beyond the resources that are used to actually kill the pests. As well, these are important as preventive measures.

Along with an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach and an attack plan from all angles, educating our clients and client participation is critical in achieving the best long term results in the least amount of time. Please understand the importance of this. There are things that the client must do to help. We’ll do our part and educate our clients but it is critical that they do their part.

First, let me make the point clear. Any home, clean or unkept, can get a roach infestation. An unkept house is not usually the cause or source. And it doesn’t mean your house is dirty or unsanitary because you get one. However, having a good supply of clutter, food sources, and water will amplify an environment to encourage roaches and other insects to hang around and multiply. It will also hinder our progress in achieving desired results.

Effective control of cockroach infestations requires a different approach than other types of insect pest control, maintenance, and exterminator practices. Simply spraying an insecticide labeled for roaches generally isn’t going to do the trick. It doesn’t matter what the label says.

So…….what can you do?

 Minimize Clutter

There are a few reasons to minimize or eliminate clutter.

  •   – Harborage – This is pretty obvious. Clutter creates lots of areas where the roaches can hide and breed.
  •   – Make Areas Treatable – While liquid spray insecticides are a very small part of our roach control program, we still use specialized insecticides that include IGR’s (Insect Growth Regulators) which are basically bug birth control. We obviously can’t treat toys, clothes, shoes, and other personal items so all of these things need to be picked up. This means everything and not just the few things I just named.
  •  - Cardboard Boxes And Paper Sacks – This is where a lot of infestations start and where the roaches are brought in in the first place. These items have seams that are perfect hiding places and carriers for eggs and the bugs themselves. Get rid of them and try not to bring them in in the first place.

 Sanitation

As I stated before, any home, clean or unkept, can get a roach infestation. However, having lots of  clutter, food sources, and water will help create an environment to encourage a roach infestation. It will also hinder our progress in desired results.

  •   – Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum  - Your vacuum is one of your best tools for fighting roaches. And preferably one with a good filter like a hepa that will trap allergens produced by the bugs. Frequent vacuuming will trap roaches of all life stages, their eggs, allergens, and food sources. After each use make sure you empty the vacuum right away into a sealed bag and dispose of it in the outside receptacle.
  •  - Clean counter tops, stove tops, etc. with bleach solution. Do this often and especially at night before you go to bed.
  •  - Cupboards And Cabinets – Clean out all cupboards and cabinets, wash the dishes, clean with a bleach solution, and place new shelf paper.
  •  - Make foods inaccessible – Place food sources in sealed plastic containers. This includes pet foods. I know that this can be time consuming, costly, and seem a bit extreme. However, this is very important for long term control and prevention.
  •  - Empty trash often.
  •  - Clean up crumbs where you eat. If you eat in front of the television or in bed, make sure these areas are cleaned up after use. Again, your vacuum is one of your best tools.
  •  - Do a thorough clean up of the entire house. I don’t think I need to explain what thoroughly clean is. However, a few suggestions are to shampoo the carpets, mop the floors, clean grease splatter from the sides of appliances, clean out light fixtures, dust, etc.

 Eliminate Water Sources

Roaches can’t survive without water so it’s important to get rid of all sources of water. It’s one of the things they’re looking for in your home or business.

Several species of cockroaches are tropical or from areas that have more moisture than we do here in Southeast New Mexico. And while they are very adaptive to many environments, they still need water to survive.

  •  - Water leaks and dripping faucets – Fix ‘em or call a plumber
  •  - Dry out sinks and keep the drains plugged. This is especially important at night before you go to bed.

 Exclusion – Keep Roaches Out

  •   – Cracks And Crevices – Many species of roaches are nocturnal and spend much of their time nesting in cracks, crevices, and voids. These areas such as cracks in walls and where pipes come through walls need to be repaired or filled.
  •  - Seals Around Electric Outlets – Electrical outlets are very common nesting areas. New seals around your electrical outlets is helpful.
  •  - Weather Stripping – Weather stripping under and around doors and windows need to be tight and create a seal to keep more bugs out.

It doesn’t take a trained eye to spot and address the obvious. If it’s even questionable, take care of it. In the case of cockroach infestations, there’s no such thing as too much control and prevention.

 Professional Cockroach Control

If you live in Carlsbad, Artesia, or surrounding Southeast New Mexico areas and would like professional help with a cockroach infestation, give Horizon Pest Control a call today at 575-725-9331 . With this type of issue, time is critical. Either get on it right away yourself or get professional help.

Is Fall Pre Emergent Weed Control Really Necessary

Is a Fall pre emergent weed control application for Carlsbad, Artesia and Southeast New Mexico lawns really necessary? Actually, it could be the most important application of your entire lawn care program. While it is good practice for all lawn types, it is especially true for warm season grasses like Bermuda and St Augustine that go dormant in the Winter.

Why In The Fall?

A fall pre emergent application is generally targeted toward cool weather annual broadleaf weeds that thrive in Winter and Spring. The seeds from these plants have been lying dormant in the ground since last Spring and will start to germinate in early Fall when the night time air temperature drops to and below 75 consistently. This is usually in mid to late September depending on the year. So to target these specific plants, you should spray in the early to mid Fall.

In the Winter lawn and especially in warm season turf lawns that go dormant, there is little competition for space and light. So the weeds germinate easily and can dominate large areas if seeds are present. This has the potential to be very damaging to the lawn when Spring arrives as the emerging grass will have to compete for space and light. After the Winter annuals die off, there can be bare areas left where crabgrass and other Summer weeds can take hold.

Some of the most common and troublesome Winter and Spring weeds you’ll notice in Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico are Mustard (London Rocket), Henbit, Black Medic along with many others. And usually by late Fall to early Spring they will be well established and quite noticeable in dormant lawns. As the weather warms, they will flourish, re-seed, and then start to die off leaving more seeds to repeat the process next Fall.

So a Fall application of pre emergent herbicide applied before these seeds germinate will help to minimize if not completely eliminate their presence. This, in our opinion is a lot better approach than going through the same cycle year after year of waiting until they’ve overtaken a  yard in the Spring and then addressing them.

An important advantage to adding this step to your program is in breaking the life cycle of certain species. If they can’t germinate and grow, they can’t re-seed and therefor become less and less of a problem to try and control. Sure, you may still get an occasional volunteer sprout here and there. However, pulling or treating a few weeds is a lot better option than dealing with hundreds or even thousands.

Now, if you’re specifically targeting a plant such as Sand bur, Puncture Vine or some other Summer annual, a Fall application isn’t going to help much if any as these plants don’t start to germinate until the weather and ground temperature starts to warm again. In the case that these are what you’re wanting to target, your Spring application followed by a mid Summer application will be more successful at addressing these.

A Consistent Weed Control Program

Creating a beautiful thick lawn is hardly ever by accident. It requires a thought out strategy of several elements that include a consistent weed control program. In most cases, one application in the Spring will not last an entire year.

While the presence of weeds is largely dependent on the health and fullness of the turf, it is a continual process to keep it that way. Your program should also include a timed fertilizer program and grub control treatments as well as pre and post emergent herbicide treatments.

Most programs for most lawns should include at least a Spring and Fall treatment. And sometimes more. Again, it depends on the condition of the turf and what specific weeds you’re wanting to target. However, over time as a thicker healthier lawn is established, there may not be a need for as many treatments.

So is it necessary? In most applications, we say yes. Honestly, we feel it’s the most important application of the season. It helps stop a lot of problems before they even begin. Only doing one pre emergent application in the Spring will only give control for part of the season. It is a never ending battle and continued cycle that repeats itself year after year.

So whether you do it yourself or have a weed control professional do it, consider at least a second pre emergent application in the Fall. As well as breaking the cycle of seeding and re-seeding, it will buy you some time for getting your Spring application down when things are getting busy at the first of the year.

Professional Weed Control Services

If you live in Carlsbad, Artesia, or other parts of Southeast New Mexico and would like help in creating a complete lawn weed control program, give Horizon Pest Control a call at 575-725-9331 . We can help you evaluate, plan, and get you started toward a healthier, thicker, greener weed free lawn.