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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.

How To Control Clover In Lawns

Clover is right at home in Carlsbad NM lawns as well as most lawns throughout the U.S..  Because of its perennial growth habit and rooting system, it is often one of the most difficult weeds to control. It can often take several herbicide treatments as well as other factors to completely eradicate it from your lawn. Aside from herbicide applications, we’ll look at the other factors necessary for successful clover control.

While some folks find clover to be a desirable addition to their lawn because, as they will often say, “it is green”, most folks don’t. So at least for the context of this article, we’ll consider Clover to be a weed since the true definition of a weed is any plant that is growing where you don’t want it to.

So at least for the context of this article, we’ll consider clover is a weed since the true definition of a weed is any plant that is growing where you don’t want it to.

The following information will be helpful if you plan to do your own clover weed control or as well as give you tips as to your part to supplement the efforts a professional weed and pest service.

Aside from the use of herbicides, the key to successfully controlling Clover is a thick lawn that chokes it out, a good fertilizer program with plenty of nitrogen and low phosphorus, and a lot of persistence. In most cases, the use of weed killers and pre emergent herbicides alone will not eradicate Clover from your lawn. And definitely not in one treatment and one season.

Developing a timed herbicide application  program is necessary. However, it shouldn’t be your only plan of action or main focus. As I point out over and over, your main goal and best defense against Clover and ALL WEEDS is a thick lawn with no room for weeds to grow.

So to start, and before a successful herbicide application program can begin, an evaluation of the overall health and state of the lawn is necessary. Some points to evaluate and get in order are -

  •  - Is the lawn too thin with a lot of bare spots? Could it benefit from overseeding to thicken up the turf? (NOTE: if you plan to overseed, a pre emergent application program will have to wait till later as pre emergents will prevent grass seed from sprouting as well as weed seeds.)
  •  - Are the nutrient levels in the soil right for controlling clover? As I stated and we’ll discuss further, clover control requires high nitrogen and low phosphorus levels in the soil.

I’ll not get too technical here. While there is a lot of science and technical information behind herbicides, the growth habits of plants, and other areas, we’ll stick to the most important basics of just getting Clover and other weeds out of your yard.


Interesting Weed Fact – Up until the 1950′s, clover was a common addition to many grass seed mixes. This is one of the reasons it is still so widespread in lawns today.


Is It Really Clover Or Black Medic?

Before we go any further, it may be helpful to determine whether you have clover, black medic which is often confused as clover, or both. While there are a few differences in the weeds, they both can be successfully treated and respond to most common herbicides so it really doesn’t matter. They’re both troublesome weeds that can throw off the texture and appearance of your lawn. And it’s just good to know the difference so that…..you’ll just know.

 

This is Black Medic. It has the little yellow flowers. It is a long lived Summer annual that can last several years and through a few very cold seasons.

 

Black Medic Weed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is White Clover.

White Clover

 

So Why Is Clover And Black Medic So Hard To Control?

So you sprayed it or your weed control guy sprayed and it was gone. And then, after a few weeks or months, it started to come back. So you sprayed again, and again, and…

Let’s start at the start and I’ll say it again (I know, it’s a bit repetitive). A thick stand of turf with plenty of constant nutrients is the best defense against weeds. This is especially true for plants like clover because it is a nitrogen fixing legume. It gathers nitrogen from the air and puts it back into the soil. It doesn’t need or necessarily like a lot of nitrogen and is often a sign of a lack of nitrogen. So get on a good fertilization program to start. See – Fertilizing To Prevent Weeds In Lawns

Also, clover has a lot going on at the root level so it likes a lot of phosphorus. So a high nitrogen, low phosphorus fertilizer will work best for combating clover.

In order to control clover it’s important to understand the nature and type of the plant. It’s a perennial. As well, Black Medic is a long lived annual so it can respond in the same way. That means that it comes back every year from the root as well as from seed. So while a pre emergent herbicide application may address the seeds, it won’t touch the root growth. And if  a post emergent weed killer was applied, many of the plants that hadn’t appeared yet, won’t be affected either.

So, with that said, it’s important to be constant and address it as soon as you see it. This is where a lot of attempts to control clover fail. A lack of persistence. If you’re doing your weed control yourself, just keep some over the counter herbicide that’s labeled for clover and black medic on hand and give it a squirt as soon as you see it.

Pulling it and digging it up is almost pointless. Unless you get every bit of the root system, it will just regenerate. Spray it so as to get it all the way to the root level.

When Is The Best Time To Treat Clover?

Fall is the best time to treat your lawn for clover. There are a few reasons for this.

In the late Summer and early Fall, most if not all of the plant is actively growing with a lot of leaf surface above ground. And of course, the more of the leaf surface you can treat, the more of the whole weed will be killed to the roots.

As well, in the Fall, the plants are actively creating and sending lots of starches and sugars to the roots to store up for Winter dormancy. So of course, this is the best time to kill it at the root level.

Professional Clover And Weed Control

At Horizon, we understand that professional weed control for something like this can be outside the scope of many budgets. It can take, several treatments in one year, and the other factors we’ve pointed out to get some yards to the point of fewer necessary treatments.

Part of the purpose of this article is to help you help us to have more successful results. We’re always willing to work with folks as a team or even educating them on a do it yourself plan of action. If you live in Carlsbad NM, Artesia NM, or other parts of Southeast New Mexico and need assistance with Clover or other weeds in your lawn, give Horizon a call today at 575-725-9331 .

 

Grub Worm Control In Lawns

Lawn grubs, often referred to as grub worms, aren’t actually worms at all. The majority of them are actually the larvae of the masked chafer and Japanese beetle. Around here in Carlsbad and Southeast New Mexico, these Japanese beetles that result from the grubs are often referred to as June Bugs. You may recognize them as the small brown beetles that start to show up in early to mid summer and fly around your porch light and accumulate everywhere.

Regardless of what type of critter they are, grubs can cause a lot of damage to lawns. The damage they create can be both directly from eating the roots of grass and plants and indirectly by attracting other animals like skunks and racoons that dig them up and eat them.

Identifying A Lawn Grub Problem

A problem with grubs in your lawn is usually visually obvious as it will create irregularly shaped  yellow dead areas in the turf. However, yellow dead spots in the grass can also be a sign of some other problem such as a lawn disease, a fungus, too much shade, or even a faulty sprinkler system. Another sure sign is the small holes left in your lawn from grub foraging animals.

Grubs are most often found in sunny area lawns rather than shaded area lawns. And the most activity and greatest concentration of grubs is most often going to be found where the dead area of lawn meets with greener healthy lawn.

To see if the damage is really from grubs and to identify them, peel up the top layer of sod with with a flat shovel to inspect the area just under the roots. In many cases, the sod can just be lifted without a shovel due to the damage done.

Once you have the area exposed, you should be able to see the pests out in the open or with a little roughing of the soil. They are most often white, cream, or light brown C-shaped soft insects. And if you’re seeing surface damage to your lawn, you should be able to see at least five per square foot.

Preventive Or Curative Treatment

While most lawns will have a grub or two or more, having a few rarely cause any signs of damage or warrant any alarm or need for treatment. However, if a test of questionable areas as explained above does reveal five or more grubs per square foot, curative treatment is necessary of the troubled spots.

Preventative treatment is more a means of treating the entire lawn with systemic insecticide in both Spring and late Summer. This almost always ensures that beetles won’t be able to even lay viable eggs in the grass and those that do will die quickly.

Generally, the biggest deciding factor in preventive grub control is budget and expense. And of course, the larger the lawn, the bigger the expense. So most folks that have never had an issue usually opt for the curative approach.

Other deciding factors for preventive treatment are whether or not a lawn has had issues in the past, if a lot of mature beetles were present in the Spring, or if surrounding yards have issues. This may warrant a just in case approach.

 Best Time To Treat For Grubs

Preventing grubs correctly is a matter of treating at the proper time. In most cases, within a few weeks after the beetles have emerged and are present, they will lay eggs in the soil. This is generally in July. Depending on soil temperature and moisture, the eggs hatch in about two weeks. At this point, the grubs will remain close to the surface and feed on grass roots. This is a good time to treat the lawn.

Early Spring can have some benefit. However, depending on the insecticide available to you, the effectiveness can dwindle by the time the eggs are deposited and marginal control can be expected. At this stage of the grubs life they are harder to kill since they are larger, not feeding anymore, and are deeper under the surface of the soil.

While I don’t suggest not doing anything at all in the Spring, just keep in mind that any type of treatment will be marginal and generally not complete. We can slow them down a bit but the real results are going to come from treating at the end of the season and be obviously visible next year.

A simple step that can be done in Spring to slow down the visible damage is to apply a contact insecticide like liquid Sevin or malathion. A contact insecticide is necessary since they’re not feeding. These insecticides can usually be purchased over the counter at your local home center, garden center, or feed store. Applied and watered in, these insecticides will kill some but generally not all of the grubs. As I said earlier, they are quite large at this stage, almost mature, and deeper under the surface.

So in order to get much better results, we treat lawns with a systemic long term insecticide in the late Summer and early Fall while the grubs are still small, feeding, and closer to the surface of the soil. The results are most always complete and satisfactory with one treatment.

Can A Grub Infestation Be Prevented?

It’s difficult to predict if an individual lawn will get a grub infestation or not. Actually most don’t. So to suggest that a yearly preventative treatment is a necessary expense may not be completely accurate or as necessary as say pre emergent weed control. Still, it would be logical to say that yes, an insect infestation in your lawn could be prevented with a yearly preventative treatment of long term residual insecticide.

For consideration, there are some factors that may indicate whether or not your yard is a candidate for an early preventative treatment.

For example, if your yard is the only green moist lawn in a sunny location surrounded by others that are not so, your yard would be the best candidate for an egg laying beetle to use. Or if you notice a lot of the Japanese beetles on your lawn in the Summer months, it may also be a worthy indicator. Still, it’s not always certain. It really matters if it’s in your budget and practical for you to do so.

Professional Grub And Insect Control

If you live in Carlsbad, Artesia, or elsewhere in Southeast New Mexico and would like a free inspection, evaluation, or advice, or if you would like a quote for a treatment, give Horizon Pest And Weed Control a call today at 574-725-9331.

 

Lawn Weed Control Tips – Fertilizing To Prevent Weeds In Lawns

Fertilizing As An Important Step To A Weed Free Lawn

Photo of a weed free residential lawn

Weed Free Fertilized Lawn

I’ll say it again. The best weed control in lawns (besides concrete) is a thick healthy stand of turf grass that leaves no room for invasive unwanted plants to gain a foothold. And while this is often easier said than done, it’s not unobtainable. Even so, it can still take several seasons and a lot of work to reach that point. However, once this goal is reached, it’s a lot less work to keep a yard healthy and weed free.

Proper fertilizing, along with other steps like proper watering and pre emergent, plays a very important role in creating healthy weed free lawns. Besides the obvious reason that it helps create healthy grass plants than can more successfully choke out weeds, there are many opportunistic weeds such as sand bur that prefer an infertile soil in order to thrive.

While the mechanics of actually spreading fertilizer on the lawn are simple, proper methods are often overlooked, misunderstood, or not known at all. Improper applications can actually make the turf grass weaker or have little benefit at all.

When And How Much?

For most folks, a fertilizing program consists of a heavy application of high nitrogen fertilizer in the Spring and generally nothing else for the rest of the growing season. This usually produces a very green fast growing lawn for about six weeks along with the need to mow every three days or so. The desired results are there…at first. However, long term results can be minimal along with some not so obvious problems later in the Summer and in the grass plants themselves.

While a heavy nitrogen application can produce a fast thick beautifully green colored lawn to start, it can actually create very weak plants with very little root system that can’t withstand disease and drought. This in turn will eventually leave a very thin stand of turf with lots of room for invasive weeds.

Also, nitrogen is very soluble and readily available in most commercial fertilizers and plants will absorb as much as they can and more than necessary while it is available. Then it’s gone. It’s best to apply several light fertilizer applications over the growing season rather than one or two heavy applications all at once. This helps ensure that there is always an adequate supply throughout the season rather than a shot in the arm and then nothing.

It’s best to apply several light fertilizer applications over the growing season rather than one or two heavy applications all at once.

While some manufacturers instructions on the bag recognize and follow this approach, most don’t. And while the manufacturers generally give proper application amounts per application, the nitrogen is generally depleted before the next suggested application. Remember what I said about nitrogen being very soluble and that plants will use more than they need until it’s gone?

Macro & Micro Fertilizer Nutrients

Most lawn fertilizers will have phosphorous and potassium along with the nitrogen which are generally the most vital, utilized, and necessary elements required for good healthy plants and root systems. These are called Macro Nutrients. However, these aren’t the only nutrients required for healthy plant growth. Plants also need a periodic micro nutrient supplement.

While most soils will have adequate amounts of the lesser micro nutrients available, it’s still good practice to supplement the soil with one application of a full spectrum macro and micro nutrient fertilizer once every three years or so. Some lawn fertilizers do have minor amounts of iron, zinc, copper, etc. in them or it may be necessary to incorporate a general purpose or tree food mix into the program. Once every three years is generally more than enough for most soils.

Some lawn fertilizers do have minor amounts of iron, zinc, copper, etc. in them or it may be necessary to incorporate a general purpose or tree food mix into the program.

A Word About Soil PH

Proper soil PH is critical for proper nutrient uptake in lawn grass and other plants. For example, there could be plenty of iron in the soil but if the soil ph is incorrect, it will be locked up in the soil and the lawn can’t access or use it. And with common fertilizers, it doesn’t matter how much you apply, it won’t be accessible.

Proper soil PH for most grass types is 6 to 7 which is slightly acidic to neutral. Generally, the soil around here in Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico is a bit on the alkaline side. For alkaline soils some agricultural sulfur may be necessary to bring it in balance. For acidic soils, a bit of lime may be necessary.

If a fertilizer application doesn’t bring a dull lawn to proper healthy color, it’s best to do a PH test before you go dump another application on it. You could have plenty of nutrients in the soil but the plants simply can’t access it and use it.

Inexpensive soil ph and nutrient test kits are usually available at hardware stores, do it yourself centers, or online.

A Word About Winterizing Fertilization

Winterizing with fertilizer is an important step for cool season grasses like Fescue that stay green in the colder months. Obviously, if they’re green, there’s something still going on there. However, the nutrient requirements are different at this time of year and a fertilizer with very little nitrogen and medium amounts of phosphorus and potassium is best for root production and preparation for Spring.

Warm season grasses like Bermuda and St. Augustine that go dormant in the colder weather do not need winterizing in the Fall. While the grass plants are still somewhat active at the root level preparing for next season, they don’t need added nutrients.

Late Fall fertilizing of warm season grasses can actually cause great harm to the turf. A late Fall application of nitrogen and other nutrients can stimulate unwanted growth as the turf is trying to go dormant. And if the plants are green and growing when a freeze happens, it will kill the grass that is growing leaving bare spots in the Spring. And bare areas not only mean an ugly lawn but are also areas where weeds can set up home.

While it may not seem as direct a link to weed control as pulling weeds, herbicides, and pre emergent applications, fertilizing is a very important step in a long term lawn weed prevention program.

If you have any questions or would like us to help you develop a weed control program for your lawn or property, give Horizon a call today at 575-725-9331. Whether you hire us or do it yourself, we’re always happy to offer advice and help out.

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.

Is Winter Pest Control Necessary

Is continuing pest control in the Winter even necessary?

Whether you do your own pest control or have a professional service do it for you, it is a good idea to keep up with your protection throughout the colder Winter months. This is especially true in the warmer climate areas of the desert southwest like here in Carlsbad and Artesia New Mexico.


First, Let’s define pest control. It’s not just about simply applying chemical pesticides to kill and repel bugs and rodents. A good pest prevention program starts with creating exclusion steps to keep pests out and eliminating food sources as well as using chemicals and traps when necessary. Also see: First Steps To Effective Pest Control for more details about creating exclusion and eliminating critter food sources.


When it gets cold outside, insects and rodents want to be inside for the same reasons you do. It’s warm, comfortable, and there’s generally a good supply of food available. While you may not see as many running around outside or inside, they’re still there feeding and multiplying.

Critters that are normally content with being in your yard, flower beds, sheds, and other outdoor shelters will start to seek other shelter as the weather gets colder and food supply gets scarce. And if there are access points and your insecticidal barrier around and in your home becomes less effective, they’ll venture to where they previously couldn’t.

So to avoid this migration into your home, it’s a good idea to do a pre-Winter inspection for entry points as well as schedule times when either you or your bug guy will apply external insect barriers. We generally recommend that our clients get treated every other month. With a good residual chemical, there’s usually not a need for more than that. So with that, it would mean an application in Fall, once in dead Winter, and then back on schedule in the Spring.

Why So Many Indoor Insects In The Spring

Spring time is when our insect control service heats up. Sightings of spiders, roaches, and other insects inside the home increase as the Winter rolls out and the weather warms up. Generally, these are from new clients who haven’t kept up with a Winter pest control program.

Many of the sightings and infestations will be from pests that have been over Wintering in walls, attics, basements, and crawl spaces. As they’ve occupied a nice cozy space in your home, they’ve continued to feed, breed, and multiply. As they sense warmer weather and the you start to mature, they venture out into the home.

* * NOTE * * The external barrier to your home which is a tightly sealed home with a good residual insecticidal barrier is more important than applying chemicals inside the home. If insects and rodents can’t get in in the first place, there really shouldn’t be much need for extensive indoor applications. Still, we include a good indoor application with every service application just in case a resilient persistent insect makes it past the barrier.

So once again see First Steps To Effective Pest Control , do a pre Winter inspection, and keep up with your pest control efforts even if it appears that everything is under control. This will give you a head start in the Spring as well as keep you and your family safe and secure during the colder winter months.

Professional Pest Control Services

If you simply don’t want to do it yourself, aren’t confident with your efforts, or aren’t comfortable applying chemicals, give Horizon Pest Control a call today at 575-725-9331 for professional services, consultations, and advice in the Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico area.

Effective Insect Pest Control – First Steps

Effective and lasting insect pest control goes beyond simply applying insecticides to kill the invading and visible bugs. While bug killers will often provide a quick solution to the problem, alone they generally don’t provide a lasting long term solution of prevention.

Usually at the first sighting of bugs, most folks reach for the jug of home defense or the phone to call the local exterminator to simply come spray the home. Again, this is only a temporary solution to insects actually gaining access to your living space.

A good pest control operator or you yourself should also perform a thorough inspection to determine how the pests are gaining access as well as what may be attracting insects. For the most part, this inspection and the steps necessary for long term prevention are generally very simple.

* * * While this article is focused on insect control, these first steps and considerations are also important for eliminating rodents, birds, and other pests.

Creating Exclusion To Keep Pests Out

Regardless of how good of a repellant insecticide is, some bugs may still manage to make it to the foundation of the home and gain access. While most will die due to the residual action of the insecticide, some will survive. At the very least, you may just simply still be seeing dead bugs in the home.

A thorough inspection will help determine areas where these determined survivors are gaining access. And once these areas are identified, it’s generally simple to address them with some minor preventative repairs.

Common Places Where Bugs Gain Access

  • - Weather stripping under and around doors – This is actually one of the most common  access points. Repair or replace weather stripping
  • - Weather stripping around windows – Repair or replace
  • - Where pipes and wires enter the home – These can be sealed with caulking, foam     insulation, stucco, mortar, paint, or other construction materials. At the very least, they should be dusted with insecticidal dust.
  • - Around pipes and drains under sinks – These can also be sealed with some type of   construction materials.
  • - Heating, cooling, and sewer jacks on the roof – Jacks and flashing should be repaired or replaced.
  • - Attic vents – These need to remain open so generally fine wire mesh or screening can be placed on the interior of the vents to prevent insect access.
  • - Chimneys – Keep flu closed when not in use.
  • - Cracks in exterior walls – Repair and paint.
  • - Doggy doors – Make sure they seal correctly

These are just the most common and obvious access points for insect pests. However, depending on the age and individual type of home, there could be more.

Eliminate Insect Food Sources

Insect pests are opportunistic invaders that are in constant search for food. If it’s there, they’ll find it and continue to come. And when they find a good source, they’ll also stay and multiply.

Sanitation and proper storage of food sources is an essential first step in effective pest control.

Sanitation

Keeping a clean living space will often help avoid many types of infestations including cock roach infestations. Sources like grease, spilled sweet juices, spilled sugar and crumbs are favorite foods and should be cleaned up immediately to avoid attracting insects.

Dirty dishes left in the sink for an extended period of time as well as dirty sink drains can also attract many types of insects. Keep dishes washed and put up as well as periodically rinsing out the drains with hot soapy water will help keep things sanitary and eliminate insect issues.

As well, keep trash cans clean and emptied as soon as their full.

Proper Food Storage

Where possible and practical, all dry foods should be transferred to sealed plastic, glass, or metal containers. Foods like cereals, flower, and sugar left in original open containers are just an invitation for insects in search of food.

Fruits, vegetables, and seasonal foods such as green chilies and dried red chilies should be prepared and stored as soon as possible to avoid attracting bugs.

Pet foods should also be kept in plastic or metal containers with lids.

These first steps of exclusion and elimination of food sources should be a part of a complete integrated pest management (IPM) program that includes an insecticidal barrier on both the interior and exterior of the home. With all of these methods in practice, your pest control efforts to keep insects out of your home should be more effective.

Professional Pest Control Services

Performing the steps outlined in this article are generally very simple and economical to do yourself. And while it is standard practice for us to perform an inspection and be observant on all of our pest control visits, we’ll point out problem areas and give free advice on how you can take care of these issues yourself. This can save you a lot of money as opposed to having us or a contractor do it for you.

As well, creating an insecticidal barrier and spraying insecticides can also be effectively done yourself. However, at Horizon, we realize that some folks simply don’t want to mess with it on any level and that many aren’t comfortable with applying chemicals. And of course, that’s what we’re in business for.

For a free inspection, evaluation, and estimate for professional pest control services, please give us a call today at 575-725-9331.