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Three Tips to Keep Your Trees and Plants Healthy and Looking Good

 

landscapingOne of the greatest sources of pride for a homeowner is the landscape that surrounds his or her home. In addition to providing aesthetic qualities, a well-maintained landscape raises property values, and if the homeowner were to sell, it can help the home sell faster.

Whether its landscape beds full of blooming flowers or an outdoor patio surrounded by carefully trimmed ornamental plants, homeowners invest heavily in the exterior appearance of their homes.

Protecting that investment, especially when California is in the midst of severe drought conditions and watering restrictions, can be challenging – but not impossible.

The Clark Man, in addition to preventing and eliminating pests from gaining entry to your home, also can help protect your lawn, ornamental plants and trees from destructive insects and diseases.

The three items homeowners should be most aware of when protecting their ornamental plants and trees from harmful pests and disease are:

  1. Proper fertilization
  2. Insect control
  3. Irrigation

Fertilize: It’s not just your lawn that needs regular fertilization; the shrubs and trees in your yard need to be fertilized to keep them healthy and make them less susceptible to disease and pests. There are two types of fertilization – deep root using a liquid, or surface using a granular – that will help promote a healthy shrub or tree.

Control insects: Aphids are a threat to ornamental plants and trees because they siphon off saprose care and deny proper nutrients. Plants will not bloom as strongly and their energy dissipates, making them more susceptible to disease and insects. The Clark Man recommends soil injections to treat for aphids in combination with regular fertilization.

Irrigate:  Many homeowners shut off their irrigation systems over the winter and forget that plants and trees need to be irrigated. Tree and plant roots are buried beneath the surface and need to receive regular deep-watering sessions to maintain their health. With watering restrictions in place across California, the Clark Man recommends homeowners start conditioning their plants and trees to twice-a-week deep-watering sessions. This will help plants and trees acclimate to receiving less water, and help them better endure the blistering summer heat.

Signs of trouble: When a plant turns yellow from its normal green, it can be a sign it isn’t receiving proper nutrients. As mentioned earlier, aphids are a problem in California, and if you notice a sticky sap (called honeydew) coming from a tree, it indicates that aphids are present. The sweet and sticky honeydew is also a favorite food of ants, and homeowners can get hit with a double whammy – ants and aphids – when this happens.

The Clark Man can make recommendations on proper irrigation practices for your lawn, plants, and trees, and also can recommend a fertilization program that will meet your yard’s specific needs. If pests and disease are present, the Clark Man can offer you options to eliminate the threat for good.

Should you have questions on how to keep your lawn, shrubs, and trees looking good all year long, call (800) 936-3339 or drop me an email at clarkcares@clarkpest.com.

Until next time, I’m the Clark Man – and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

National Pest Control Month

 

pest control month

We Aren’t Fooling:  April Is National Pest Management Month

Yes, today is April Fools’ Day, but make no mistake – pests are nothing to fool with. Such pests as termites and rodents can cause structural damage to your home, and stinging insects, cockroaches and rodents are known transmitters of bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria.

What kind of damage and what threats do pests pose? Consider these eye-opening facts:

  • Termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage annually in the United States
  • Rodents gnawing on electrical wiring are one of the leading causes of house fires in the U.S.
  • Cockroach allergens are known triggers for allergic reactions and asthma attacks in children
  • Insect stings and bites send nearly 500,000 people to hospital emergency rooms or urgent care clinics with allergic reactions

This is why the Clark Man and his pest management peers across the country are observing National Pest Management Month in April. However, this time isn’t just an occasion for pest professionals to pat themselves on the back and say, “Aren’t we good!” It’s an opportunity to raise critical awareness of the threats that pests pose, and a reaffirming of the professional pest management industry’s commitment to protect the public from harmful pests that threaten food, homes, and families.

The Clark Man and his fellow pest experts at Clark Pest Control want share their knowledge on how people can protect their homes and families from unwanted and unhealthy pests.

The busiest portion of the pest season is right around the corner, and so to celebrate National Pest Management Month, the Clark Man would like to share some valuable tips on how to protect living spaces from an array of spring and summer pests – including ants, flies, stinging insects, fleas, termites, rodents, and mosquitoes.

The Clark Man’s Top 10 Pest Prevention List

  1. Seal cracks and openings on the outside of the home with a silicone-based caulk, including entry points for utilities and pipes

  2. Repair torn screens in windows and vents where insects can gain access

  3. Replace weatherstripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows

  4. Keep tree branches and landscape plants well trimmed and away from the house

  5. Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles

  6. Don’t overdo it on the mulch; maintain a 15-inch barrier away from the foundation

  7. Eliminate sources of standing water in your yard, including birdbaths, clogged drains, and gutters, to keep mosquitoes away; check irrigation systems and exterior faucets for leaking parts

  8. Keep attics, crawl spaces, sheds, and other storage areas well ventilated and dry; remove clutter that attracts pests

  9. Do a good spring cleaning and maintain good sanitation practices; store garbage and recycled materials in sealed containers and dispose of them regularly; wash out the recycling bin occasionally to get rid of excess sugars and oils that attract pests

  10. Don’t leave pet food dishes out when they are not in use; pests, especially mice, love pet food

Remember: If you have questions on how to make your indoor and outdoor living spaces unattractive to pests, call (800) 936-3339 or drop me an email at clarkcares@clarkpest.com.

Until next time I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

Spring Lawn Care Tips

 

Four Easy Tips for Spring Lawn Care

lawn gardenSpring is in the air in California and northern Nevada, and that means warmer temperatures are here to stay. The official arrival of spring also means it’s time to get outdoors and pay attention to your lawn and yard.

From designing new patios to planting early season flowers, homeowners are starting to get their green thumb on. Spring is also a good time to look down and start taking care of the grass between your toes.

You may not know this, but the Clark Man not only protects your home from unwanted pests  indoors, but he also can care for – and protect – your lawn, shrubs, and trees from destructive pests, weeds, and disease.

Mike Andrew, Director of Agriculture Services for Clark Pest Control, says there are four key spring lawn care tips that homeowners can follow to establish healthy, drought-resistant turf.

  1. Cut your grass higher: Raise the cutting height of your mower to 2 ½-3 inches.

  2. Mow your lawn on a regular basis: Cutting your lawn weekly is recommended.

  3. Water on a consistent cycle: Preferably, you should water early in the morning. When you water midday or afternoon, it will evaporate, and evening watering can promote disease.

  4. Check your irrigation system: Make sure your irrigation system and sprinkler heads are in good working order.

Andrew says that raising the cutting height gives turf the opportunity to grow longer and thicker, thus allowing moisture to be retained longer. This also will prevent invasive weeds and insects from taking root and ruining your lawn.

Mowing your lawn on a consistent basis, and at the appropriate height, prevents overgrowth that can prevent moisture and sunlight from gaining access to the roots.

With watering restrictions in place year-round for many California communities, it’s important to take advantage of the days you are allowed to water to satisfy your lawn’s thirst. Andrew recommends multiple-cycle watering to promote the growth of a deep, healthy root system that is better able to survive drought and heat stress.

The cycle should include several early morning watering periods on the days that you’re permitted to water. You shouldn’t water during the middle of the day or afternoon, because water will evaporate, and evening watering can promote disease.

A spring checkup of your yard’s irrigation system is also highly recommended by Andrew. Make sure sprinkler heads are working properly, that there are no leaks, there are no broken pipes or sprinkler heads, and that timers are set accordingly. A leaky sprinkler head can waste water, and too much moisture in the turf can lead to disease.

If you have questions on how to get your lawn in shape this spring and protect it from destructive pests, weeds, and disease, call (800) 936-3339 or drop me an email at clarkcares@clarkpest.com

Until next time I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

Termite Awareness Week

 

Termite Awarness Week
Unearthing the Truth About Termites During National Termite Awareness Week


Because the National Pest Management Association has declared this week as National Termite Awareness Week, the Clark Man is lifting the veil of secrecy on these silent yet highly destructive pests that threaten your home.

Termites are aggressive, relentless pests that feed constantly, but often go undetected because they enter through the soil or attic of a home. These “silent” intruders can cause significant structural damage to your home in just a few short years if left to their own destructive ways.

Other interesting termite facts you ought to know:

  • Termites are found in every state of the union except Alaska.
  •  Ten percent of the Earth’s mass of living organisms is composed of termites.
    • The total weight of all termites in the world is more than the weight of all humans.
  • There are roughly 2,000 known species of termites in the world, and 23 different species are found in California, according to the University of California.
  • Termites eat nonstop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Highly destructive Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formosanus) – which have been found in California – can eat the entire wooden structure of a home within two years.
  • Worker termites will search for food up to 250 feet from their colony.
  • Termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year in the United States.

In California, there are three termite species that can threaten your biggest investment:

  • Subterranean termites (Reticulitermes hesperus) are found in many areas of the state where moist soil is present.
  • Drywood termites (Incisitermes minor) are prevalent in coastal regions, and also can be found in the Central Valley.
  • Dampwood termites (Zootermopsis angusticollis; Z. nevadensis) are found in the central and northern coastal regions and in the Sierra and Cascade ranges and foothills.

If you have or suspect that termites are targeting your home, the Clark Man recommends you contact Clark Pest Control for a thorough inspection and review of treatment options. Playing the do-it-yourself card with termites can lead to unwanted headaches and hassles, and may require a significant amount of money to correct.

Remember: If you have questions on how to protect your home from termites, call (800) 936-3339 or drop me an email at clarkcares@clarkpest.com

Until next time I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

Making a List to Help You Prevent Termites

 

TermitesAs an old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Regarding termites, that statement rings very true. Termites, like most structural pests you’ll encounter, are opportunists and will take advantage of any conducive conditions that provide them with food, water, and shelter.

To help keep termites from damaging your most valuable possession, your home, the Clark Man has put a list together that can help prevent termite infestations. Effective termite prevention means that it’s much less likely your home will need to be treated for a termite infestation. We recommend that homeowners follow these steps to help avoid these destructive and unwelcome house guests.

  • Avoid moisture accumulation around the interior and exterior of your home – termites are attracted to moisture.

  • When watering your lawn, don't sprinkle stucco or wood siding.

  • Routinely fill in any cracks in your foundation’s masonry or concrete, and caulk around door and window frames; make sure there are no easy entry points to your home.

  • Keep your gutters and downspouts in good repair and clean. Wet leaves provide moisture and harborage for termites and other pests.

  • Store firewood off the ground and away from your home.

  • Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath your home.

  • Eliminate any wood contact with the soil. – an 18-inch gap between the soil and wood is ideal.

  • Avoid planting trees and shrubs too close to the house. Trim trees and shrubs when necessary and keep them from touching your home’s roof or exterior walls, because they provide an easy pathway for termites.

  • Keep the exterior of your home well painted and in good repair. Bare wood is attractive to termites, and a good coat of paint can act as a barrier for drywood termites.

Another key element in protecting your home from termites is to have it inspected by a licensed termite inspector on a regular basis – every three years at the minimum, but annually if possible. An early diagnosis of a termite problem and taking corrective action sooner rather than later can help prevent more expensive treatments and repairs down the road.

During your inspection, Clark Pest Control’s highly trained inspectors will examine windows and plumbing along with the structural areas around them, and will inspect the attic, the basement, and any crawl spaces or voids. They will look anywhere termite colonies might be establishing a home base in and around your home.

 

If our inspector discovers evidence of termite damage, he or she will recommend a treatment method customized to meet your home’s specific needs, and also advise you on appropriate repairs for any damaged areas.


Remember, if your home has a problem with termites, call (800) WE NEED YOU (936-3339) or drop me an email at clarkcares@clarkpest.com

 

Until next time, I’m the Clark Man. Thanks you for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.
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Battling an Old Adversary: Cockroaches

 

Nothing gets a homeowner more worked up than seeing a cockroach scurrying along the kitchen baseboard,german roach or darting around on a shelf in the pantry when the light is turned on. Cockroaches have earned a nasty reputation, and deservedly so, which precedes them.

Let’s be honest: any pest that has been around as long as the cockroach – more than 300 million years, according to some researchers – can develop some less-than-desirable habits, which include infesting homes in search of food, water, and shelter.

While no pest will win an award for its sanitation habits, cockroaches seem to go out of their way to travel in areas where human and animal waste, grease, stagnant water, and rotting food are present.

Cockroaches are nocturnal pests, and will hide in dark, warm areas, especially narrow spaces where surfaces touch them on both sides. Their ability to hide in very small spaces – in cracks as tight as 1/16-inch wide – can make them a challenge to control.

Cockroaches tend to congregate in corners and travel along the edges of walls or other surfaces. The most commonly encountered cockroaches in residential settings are the German and American cockroach, respectively.

The repulsion homeowners feel when they encounter a cockroach is trumped by the threat they pose to food safety. Cockroaches – especially the American cockroach, which comes into contact with human excrement in sewers or with pet droppings – can transmit bacteria such as Salmonella if they come in contact with food preparation or serving surfaces.

Not to be outdone, German cockroaches are believed to be capable of transmitting disease-causing organisms, including those that can cause staph infections and hepatitis. They also can spread dysentery.

The Clark Man has years of experience dealing with this nasty adversary, and recommends the following tips to protect your home, family, and food from exposure:

The Clark Man’s Top Seven Cockroach Prevention Tips

  1. Keep kitchen counters, sinks, tables, floors, cabinets, and pantries clean and free of clutter.
  2. Clean dishes, crumbs, and spills right away – cockroaches love grease and waste.
  3. Store food in airtight containers where cockroaches cannot access it.
  4. Seal cracks or openings around home foundations and inside cabinets.
  5. Eliminate excess moisture buildup (i.e., a leaky faucet).
  6. Inspect packages, school backpacks, and laundry bins for signs of cockroaches (and other pests). Don’t be afraid to give items a good shake!
  7. Keep the landscape plants next to your house trimmed, and don’t use too much mulch, as it can provide an ideal harborage for cockroaches.

Remember, if your home has a problem with cockroaches, call 800/WE-NEED-YOU, or drop me an email at clarkcares@clarkpest.com

 

Until next time, I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.

 

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.
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Keeping Rodents Out This Winter

 
rodent preventionAt first glance, the house mouse does not appear very threatening, but don’t let looks deceive you. Mice are the number-one rodent pest for homeowners in United States, and it’s estimated that mice and their rodent brethren invade more than 20 million homes each winter across the country.

How do these furry little creatures, which consume approximately 1/10 of their body weight – two to four grams of food – on a daily basis, gain access to your home? And what areas are most vulnerable to a mouse infestation?

According to research conducted by the National Pest Management Association, the kitchen – the hub of activity in many homes – is the number-one area where rodents are likely to be found. Let’s be honest: Rodents, while not Rhodes scholars, know where their bread is buttered, so to speak, and kitchens offer abundant sources of food, water, and shelter for these unwanted visitors.

What other areas of a home are susceptible to hosting a rodent infestation? The research revealed the following:

  • Kitchen – 50%
  • Basement – 27%
  • Living Room – 25%
  • Bedroom – 22%
  • Bathroom – 11%
  • Other – 9%

In addition to spoiling food with their droppings and urine, and transmitting dangerous bacteria, including salmonella and E. coli, rodents also can pose a significant threat to the structural integrity of your home.

A house mouse or roof rat infestation can destroy insulation in attics, and can chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and electrical or computer wiring. In fact, rodents cause up to 25 percent of house fires in the U.S. every year.

The keys to any successful rodent-prevention program are exclusion and sanitation. If you don’t “build” rodents out of your home and follow good sanitation practices on a consistent basis, the benefits of the Clark Man’s rodent-prevention measures will be lost, and rodents will reinvade faster than a New York minute.

Keep counters clean. Eliminate clutter. Make sure to collect and empty garbage, trash, and garden debris frequently. Also, make sure all garbage receptacles have tight-fitting covers, indoors and out.

The Clark Man’s Top Five Rodent-Prevention Tips

  1. Seal cracks and holes on the outside your home – pay special attention to areas where pipes and utility wires or cables enter the home, even those up high; mice can squeeze through a  ¼-inch opening.
  2. Replace loose mortar and weatherstripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  3. Store firewood at least 20 feet from your home and five feet off the ground.
  4. Keep basements, attics, and storage areas free of clutter, and eliminate moisture sources –  including leaking pipes, faucets, and clogged drains.
  5. Keep food – especially pet food – in sealed containers.

Remember, if your home as a problem with rodents, call 800/WE-NEED-YOU or drop me an email at clarkcares@clarkpest.com

Until next time I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.

 

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

There Is a Mouse in the House

 

mouse

Did you know that rodents will invade approximately 21 million homes this winter? That statistic from the National Pest Management Association confirms what the Clark Man already knew – that these furry little intruders have no intention of taking the winter off!

Rodents, especially house mice, are the most active of winter pests. Like many pests, rodents seek warmer digs in the winter, preferably with an abundant supply of food, water and nesting materials.

Rodents are a crafty bunch and will wait patiently for the right opportunity – a door left propped open, a box of off-season clothes brought in from a storage area, an open bag of pet food or a small crack in the foundation – to enter your home. Rodents only need an opening of ¼- to ½-inch to gain access to your home. And, unlike a herd of noisy teenagers, they won’t announce their arrival until after they have settled in.

What are the most common signs of a possible rodent infestation in your home? They can include the following:

  • Rodent droppings (usually black in color and ¼- to ½-inch long) and urine (best detected using a black light).
  • Chewed electrical, computer or cable wiring (a major cause of electrical fires).
  • Unexplained chewing or gnaw marks on carpet, upholstery, drapes, furniture and baseboards.

What areas of your home are most vulnerable to attracting an unwanted rodent infestation? The Clark Man has identified the following locations as “rodent hot spots”:

  • Attached garages and carports, along with storage areas above these locations where storage boxes, pet food and other items are found
  • Kitchen and bathroom cabinet voids
  • Back base voids of refrigerators, stoves and kitchen appliances
  • In utility rooms and areas beneath, and within base voids of furnaces, washers and clothes dryers
  • In wall, ceiling and floor voids
  • In the insulation of attics and in the contents of the attic (i.e., storage boxes)
  • In basements near utility feed lines.
  • Firewood stacked next to the house and near a door

The Clark Man recommends that you seal cracks in the foundation of your house or utility pipe openings with caulk or other appropriate materials to deny rodents easy access, and that you make sure the weather stripping around exterior doors is in good repair.

Also, be sure to keep food in sealed containers, do not to leave pet food in the bowl overnight, and closely inspect any boxes you bring in from storage areas or that are delivered for signs of rodent infestation.

Remember, if an unwanted pest crosses your path, call 800/WE-NEED-YOU or drop me an email at clarkcares@clarkpest.com

Until next time, I’m the Clark Man – and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.

A Toast to a Happy, Healthy, Pest-Free 2015

 

HappyHolidays

According to the Wine Institute, Californians lead the way among Americans when it comes to enjoying sparkling wines and champagnes. That should come as no surprise, since California vintners produce some of the finest varietals in the world. Golden State residents enjoyed 3,645,900 cases in 2013, and when you consider it takes 600-800 grapes to make one bottle, that’s a whole lot of bubbly!

In the spirit of the season (and minus the bubbly during work hours), the Clark Man would like to toast to our success in preventing and eliminating unwanted, unhealthy, and potentially destructive pests from our customers’ homes this year.

Whether it’s removing an Argentine ant infestation along your sidewalk or performing a whole-house fumigation to eliminate drywood termites, the highly-trained professional men and women at Clark Pest Control enjoy serving your pest control needs, day in and day out. You can rest assured that the Clark Man has the solution to whatever your specific pest issue may be.

As the calendar clicks over to 2015, it’s time for the Clark Man to make his New Years’ resolution, and here it is: to maintain our uncompromising commitment to providing outstanding service and effective results for our customers, each and every time we visit their home. We also will continue to learn at every turn and embrace the latest pest management practices, so that our customers will receive the finest service possible.

Our final gift has nothing to do with pests. The Clark Man wishes you and your family a very happy holiday season and a healthy, prosperous New Year. We appreciate your business and we look forward to keeping your home pest free in 2015 and beyond.

If you think you have a problem with pests, please contact Clark Pest Control at 800/WE-NEED-YOU or drop me an email at clarkcares@clarkpest.com. We will come out to inspect, identify whatever your pest issues may be, and provide a treatment recommendation.

Until next time, I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.
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Bumping Bed Bugs From Your Holiday Travel Itinerary

 
bed bugThe holiday travel season is upon us, and according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average for travelers is four nights away from home. Whether it’s a trip to visit relatives or a holiday getaway to grab some powder on the ski slopes or sun at the beach, Americans like to hit the road for the holidays.

As you finalize your holiday travel plans, the Clark Man reminds you to be aware of certain unwanted travelers that have no problem hitching a ride in your luggage or backpack, and come home with you to infest your living space. The travelers we’re talking about are bed bugs.

In a survey by the National Pest Management Association, 75 percent of pest management professionals indicated that they’ve encountered bed bug infestations in hotels and motels. As you set out on your travels, the Clark Man offers the following tips for preventing bed bugs from ruining your travel plans:

  • Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, notify the front desk and change rooms or hotels immediately.

  • inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas and chairs. If any pests are spotted, change rooms or establishments immediately.

  • If you do need to change rooms, be sure that you do not move to a room adjacent to and/or directly above or below the suspected infestation. Bed bugs can hitchhike easily via housekeeping carts, luggage, and even through wall sockets.

  • Pack and store your clothes is sealable plastic bags to prevent bed bugs from infesting them.

  • Inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house and vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing it away if you see anything suspicious. Wash your clothes immediately.  Those that you haven’t worn – throw in the drier to ensure that any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers or closet.

If you think you have a problem with bed bugs, contact Clark Pest Control at 800/WE-NEED-YOU or drop me an email at clarkcares@clarkpest.com. We will come out, inspect your residence, identify any active pests, and provide a treatment recommendation.

Until next time, I’m the Clark Man, and thank you for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit ClarkPest.com to learn more.
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