Are you seeing a lot of mud daubers (wasps) buzzing around your house this summer? With that comes a bunch of little mud homes they’ve built in brick grout, under eaves, etc. And usually it means you have an abundance of spider webs closeby. These insects do not generally sting people and are more of an annoyance than a risk, but read on beccause they do have some signfiicant benefits.
Mud daubers are solitary insects, meaning each nest only has one wasp that is responsible for all the necessary tasks. The nests are constructed from mud by a single mated female and they can vary in shape, from pipe-shaped to globular. These nests can be found in any protected such as area under eaves, in garages, and the like.
Mud dauber is a common name given to a number of wasps that build their nest from mud. Also called “dirt dauber,” “dirt dobber” or “mud wasp”.
What’s inside those mud dauber nests anyway?
Good question. The nest of the black and yellow mud dauber is a simple, one-cell, urn-shaped nest that is attached to crevices, cracks and corners. Each nest contains one egg. Usually several nests are clumped together and covered in mud.
How can you tell a mud dauber from another wasp?
Adult mud daubers are three-quarters of an inch to 1 inch in length and, depending on the species, vary in color from dull black to black with bright yellow markings to iridescent blue black. The feature that best identifies the mud dauber is its long, narrow waist — the section between the thorax and abdomen.
What do mud daubers eat?
Mud daubers are solitary insects and like most wasps, they are predators. They sting their prey with paralyzing venom. The venom does not kill, but paralyzes and preserves the prey so it can be transported and stored in the nest cell as food for the larva. Although the black widow spider is the preferred food, the mud dauber also will dine on flies, crickets and leaf hoppers, with some flower nectar and pollen for dessert.
Two species generally found in Texas are the black and yellow mud dauber and the metallic blue mud dauber. Both are predators, but each function in different ways. These two species may occupy the same sites year after year, creating a large number of nests. These nests can last many years in a protected area and are often used as nest areas by other kinds of wasps and bees, and sometimes other types of insects.
The black and yellow mud dauber will prey on small, colorful spiders, like the crab spider, orb weavers and some jumping spiders. These are usually found around vegetation. The black and yellow mud daubers build simple, one-cell, urn-shaped nest of mud, attaching it to crevices, cracks, and corners of buildings. The nest is composed of a series of cylindrical cells that are plastered over to form a smooth nest almost the size of a lemon. Each cell will contain only one egg.
The metallic-blue mud dauber is one lazy wasp. Instead of building their own nest, they use abandoned nest of other species, usually old nests of the black and yellow mud dauber. They carry water to the abandoned nest and recondition it for their own purposes. The blue mud dauber is the main predator of the black widow spider. They prefer the immature black widow spiders found in dry areas around outbuildings, rocky areas and stone piles.
Why are mud daubers beneficial to my yard?
Mud daubers are considered extremely beneficial insects. They keep the spider population in check. Mud daubers are wasps and even though they can sting, they don’t generally sting people. Most wasp stings happen when people get too close to the nests of the more aggressive social wasps, like the hornet or yellow jacket. The solitary mud dauber does not defend its nest as aggressively as the social wasps and is very unlikely to sting even when provoked. However, you might get stung if you attempt to handle them.
If you just don’t give a hoot about the benefit of the mud dauber and want to get rid of the nests, call First Response Lawn Care at 214-701-7622. We offer a pest control program that will rid your yard of insects. We are licensed with the Texas Department of Agriculture License #450863. We can help!
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide, lactic acid and octenol found in our breath and sweat. They may have a preference for beer drinkers!
Those pesky mosquitoes. Why do they love us so? They hover around our porches ready to take a bite from our face or, worse, follow us indoors where they can munch on us during our sleep. To add insult to injury, we’ve got to be concerned about the dreaded West Nile Virus, which adds a layer of worry on top of the itching. We thought we’d share these 14 facts about our pesky summer companions:
1 ) There are around 3,500 species of mosquitoes, but only a couple hundred feast on human blood.
2 ) If you’ve been bitten by a mosquito, it was a female. Male mosquitoes make do just fine with plants, but females need a blood meal before they can lay eggs.
3 ) The female’s saliva contains an anti-coagulant that lets her more easily suck up her meal. The saliva induces an allergic response from her victim’s immune system; that’s why your skingets an itchy bump.
4 ) Femaleslay their eggsin shallow water or even damp soil that’s prone to flooding. Get rid of any standing water near your home to reduce the mosquito horde.
5 ) The best time to avoid mosquitoes is in the afternoon, when temperatures are hottest and the insects rest in cooler spots.
6 ) The Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlists only four chemicalsas being effective for repelling mosquitoes: DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (or its synthetic version, called PMD) and IR3535.
7 ) Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide, lactic acid and octenol found in our breath and sweat, and they also sense the heat and humidity that surrounds our bodies. They may also have apreference for beer drinkers.
8 ) Some scientists think that eliminating mosquitoeswouldn’t be such a bad thing. Others aren’t so sure, though, and worry about the effects on the ecosystem of the loss of an insect that is eaten by spiders, salamanders, frogs, fish and other insects.
10 ) George and Martha Washington both suffered from malaria. George contracted the disease when he was a teenager. In the second year of his presidency, he experienced severe hearing loss due toquininetoxicity.
11 ) Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) that hang over a bed have been shownto reduce malaria incidenceamong children and pregnant women by up to 50 percent. The nets last only a few years before they have to be replaced.
12 ) The last time there was an outbreak of yellow fever, another mosquito-borne illness, in the United Stateswas in 1905 in New Orleans. At the time, the city was trying to prevent the disease by fumigating all the ships that entered the city. However, a smuggler’s ship full of bananas avoided the quarantine and by June cases began to emerge among Italian immigrants who unloaded banana boats.
13 ) Birds were originally blamed for the spread of the West Nile Virus across the United States. But a 2010 study says that it was the mosquitoes themselves, which can travel up to 2.5 miles per day, that wereresponsible for the spreadof the disease from 2001 to 2004.
14 ) The emergence of a worldwide outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease chikungunya can betraced to a 2004 drought in Kenya. The disease hasn’t made it to the United States yet, but scientists think that could occur at any time.
That about sums up what we learned from Sarah Zielinski, an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for Smithsonian.com and a lot smarter than we are.
So put the beers down and call First Response Lawn Care at (214) 701-7622 if you have any issues with mosquitoes dive bombing you while you’re trying to chill. Our Mosquito Abatement program can eradicate those pests and get you back to your beer drinking in no time!
Have you discovered an army of fire ants in your yard? Summer in the south is known for many things, and unfortunately one of them is pesky fire ants.
The impact of red imported fire ants in the state of Texas is estimated to be $1.2 billion annually. Red imported fire ants are pests that can pose a serious health threat to plants and animals.
These creepy crawlers create nests all over your yard and venture into your home for food. If you encounter them, you might end up with some nasty stings. Fire ants can even attack small animals and kill them.
If left untreated, fire ants can run rampant in your yard and even start nesting in or underneath your home. First Response Lawn Care is fully equipped to handle even the worst fire ant infestations.
If you are experiencing an army of fire ants in your yard that won’t go away, call First Response Lawn Care today at (214) 701-7622. We’ll win the fire ant battle for you with our professional fire ant control treatment.
Seriously, we are so excited about new irrigation systems, we wet our plants on a regular basis. First Response Lawn Care is a licensed lawn sprinkler company.
A water-efficient home sprinkler and irrigation system will take the pressure and frustration of maintaining a green and healthy lawn off of your hands, so you can focus on enjoying family time.
First Response Lawn Care offers hands-free and hassle-free solutions that will keep any size yard healthy and green, even during the hot and dry Texas summers.
Anyone can dig a trench, and it isn’t difficult to install PVC pipe. First Response Lawn Care promises that we will treat your property like it belongs to us, and we will treat you like you are a part of our family. We will show up when we promise, get to work, and do the job you asked us to. When the job is over, we will leave your property cleaner, and in better health than when we started.
Your new sprinkler system will be based on our professional design and tailored to your needs. That means it will water your yard and gardens and not your driveway, the side of your house, or parts of your neighbor’s yard. Our design and plan will also make sure that we do not use more sprinkler heads than your water pressure can handle. We have been doing this for 30 years, we know which parts will work best for your specific yard, landscape, and zoning needs to keep your yard healthy and green.
We have options available for yards of all sizes and shapes, even if you don’t think a sprinkler system would work for you, give us a call and we’ll come out and give you a free estimate.
Between work, kids, appointments, and making sure dinner is on the table before bedtime, you have enough to deal with on a daily basis. Coming home to green grass at the end of the day should not be one of your concerns.
Call First Response Lawn Care today (214) 701-7622 and let’s get started on a new sprinkler system for you! You’ll be so excited, you’ll wet your plants too!
Garter snakes are among the most common snakes in Texas.
A few garter snakes in the garden can be a good thing. They eat insects and other pests, so they can control those pests that harm your plants. While generally shy and withdrawing, a garter snake will bite if you accidentally step on them.
Where did they get their name?
Even though “garter snake” has been the common name for Thamnophis sirtalis for over 200 years, some refer to them as garden snakes, because they are often found in gardens. The name “garter” was probably chosen because these snakes, like the fancy garters that once were used to hold up men’s socks, have colorful, longitudinal stripes.
When do they appear?
Most garter snakes are only active during the daytime unless the weather is very hot, in which case you might see them at night.
Texas garter snakes are seldom found in large numbers. They can be found in a wide range of habitats, but are usually close to a water source. They have typically been found in stream-side vegetation or in damp soil near bodies of water. They can be found under objects like old metal, or wood, under ground, and in plants.
Are they poisonous?
If you try to handle a garden snake, it will often flail about wildly to try to escape. It will probably release a musk foul-smelling fluid from its tail and may strike at you. Although the toxins in garden snake saliva can be deadly to the snails, salamanders and other animals they eat [source:Venomous Snakes], they’re not dangerous to humans. Nevertheless, a garden snake bite may still cause redness, swelling and discomfort.
Will they hurt your dog?
If your dog has an encounter with a garter snake, their reaction will depend on what they did to the snake. … If your dog did not ingest any part of the snake, then they should be fine.
What will naturally repel snakes?
Certain plants like marigold, wormwood, West Indian lemon grass, Sarpgandha and garlic are natural repellent against snakes. These plants have bitter tastes and strong smells that cause discomfort and disorientation to snakes when they slither over them.
The bottom line is that Garter snakes are fine to stay in your yard or garden. They are shy and will avoid human beings and pets at all costs, living peacefully in harmony with you and your family. They eat all the pests that wreak havoc in your garden, subsisting on slugs, snails, insects, grasshoppers and small rodents. They also like to chow down on worms, frogs, salamanders, fish and tadpoles, hiding under boards, vegetation, in stone walls, under logs or among rocks.
If you have any other lawn pests that are bothering your lawn or garden, contact First Response Lawn Care at (214) 701-7622.
The most common lawn watering mistake that most homeowners make is they over water the lawn. It is much more damaging to over water a lawn versus under water a lawn. Over watering a lawn causes the soil to become anaerobic or absent of oxygen. Water replaces air in the soil and anaerobic soils become compacted, prevent deep digging grass roots, and will kill beneficial microbial activity.
Daily lawn watering is extremely damaging for a lawn. Daily lawn watering prevents the roots of the grass from growing deep into the soil. These shallow grass roots will make the lawn unable to stay green during the heat of the summer.
The best way to promote the grass’ roots to start digging deep into the soil is to water deeply and infrequently. After changing the lawn watering to the recommendations below, your lawn might look worse before it starts to look better. The lawn will start to look healthier as soon as the grass’ roots start digging deep into the soil.
The ideal time to water a lawn is early in the morning before sunrise. Our recommendation is to finish watering no later than 6:00 AM. If this is not possible then the next best time to water is late evening.When daytime high temperatures are hot and average above 85°F: Water no more than 3 days per week. This is typically between mid or late June through mid or late August. (e.g. Water every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).
This lawn watering technique is a very deep watering, but it also allows the soil to completely dry out before the sprinkler system waters again. Organo-Lawn invented this lawn watering technique and it is universal worldwide.
Symptoms of an Over Watered Lawn
Some clear signs of over watering a lawn include: severely compacted soils, the presence of Necrotic Ring Spot lawn fungus, the abundance of insect pressure, mold, root rot, and a shallow root system. Over watering a lawn is much worse for the grass and trees than under watering a lawn because a lawn that is watered too much will starve the soil of oxygen. Air is extremely important to the health of the soil and to promote deep digging grass roots. Most of the time when we see a lawn watering problem in a Boulder or Fort Collins area lawn, we advise the customer that we need to adjust the lawn watering schedule in their lawn, they often assume we want to increase the amount of water. This might be true some of the time, but the majority of the time we end up reducing the frequency of days the lawn is being watered and increase the duration.
First Response Lawn Care can perform a sprinkler auditand set up the system to water according to our suggestions. The lawn is usually being watered deeper and less frequent. Most of the time, after we make our adjustments, the total water use is reduced which goes a long way towards water conservation. It’s a good thing for your lawn, for resources and for your pocketbook.
Call First Response Lawn Care (214) 701-7622 if you would like a sprinkler audit, sprinkler repair or need a new irrigation system in Rockwall, Fate, Royse City and surrounding areas!
Yet, it’s hard to maintain a well-kept lawn when you’re on the go all week long and your weekend schedule is maxed out. If that describes you, it may be time to hire a professional lawn mowing service to help you keep your yard looking great—even while you’re away. Here are 8 reasons why you need to hire a professional lawn mowing company to mow your yard:
Itsaves you time: Let’s face it. You’re busy. You spend the majority of your week at your job, and your weekends are filled with activity. When do you have time to mow your lawn? You can still enjoy your yard even with a pro mowing it for you.
It doesn’t need to involve a long-term contract: Don’t feel that you need to sign on the dotted line for a long-term relationship with a lawn mowing company. Instead, opt for a month to month services like First Response Lawn Care offers.
A residential lawn mowing company will use only professional-grade equipment: Your lawn may actually look better after it’s mowed by a pro because of the type of equipment used. Since professional lawn service companies only operate the best mowers on the market and keep them serviced so your lawn will look great.
A professional lawn care company will only use the sharpest blades: One of the keys to good lawn maintenance includes mowing only with sharp blades. You get a cleaner cut with no injuries—thus, protecting your lawn grass from disease and insect infestation.
A lawn service company will only mow at the right height throughout the growing season: Another smart lawn care technique includes only taking 1/3 of the grass blade off with each mow. You want your grass to be a bit longer to naturally crowd out weeds.
A pro may also be available for additional lawn and landscape maintenance: You may be so busy with your life that you may opt for additional lawn and landscape maintenance services. Look for a brochure or a business card left by your mowing company to see if they provide additional services.
A professional lawn mowing service is available for you when you’re traveling for work or you’re on vacation: With First Response Lawn Care you can schedule your yard to be mowed while you’re on vacation or on a business trip.
A landscaping company will help you when you’re busy with other projects and want help for only one mow: Say you’re the person who loves to work on his lawn. Yet, you get busy with work projects or something else might come up where you only need help with mowing “just this time. First Response Lawn Care has no mandated contracts or follows up needed.
Now that the rainy season is
pretty much behind us, and the temperatures are soaring into triple digit
threats, it is imperative that we protect our lawn. Follow these summer lawn care tips to ensure that your lawn
stays healthy even in most brutal Texas sun.
1) Water deeply, but infrequently. Always in the
Watering your lawn is very
important, and make sure your watering schedule is in keeping with the
current watering restrictions.
The City of Rockwall has guidelines set for watering:
Watering permitted up to 2 times per week, as needed
There are no assigned watering days
Do not water between 10 am – 6 pm
does watering deeply mean? Well, you need to water enough that the water
penetrates deeply into the soil. If your lawn hasn’t been aerated in a
while, this might be a problem. Be sure to water early in the morning to
avoid evaporation. Also, be sure not to over-water, as that will result
in fungi growing in shady areas, and your roots could potentially drown.
possible to give your lawn ample water for survival and still follow the
recommended guidelines to conserve water.
2) Mow at the
highest height possible, but don’t avoid the 1/3 rule.
Each grass type has a
different range of heights the blades can be mowed at. During periods of
drought, be sure to mow on the higher end of that spectrum. Most of the
common Dallas grass types should be mowed to around 4 inches, about 1/2 inch
higher than normal.
Additionally, be sure to mow
frequently enough that you are never cutting off more than 1/3 of the grass
blade length. In fact, it’s much better to only cut off 1/4 of an inch at
a time. Chances are that biweekly lawn mowing should do the trick.
3) Be sure to keep those mower
Sharp mower blades are always
important, but during the summer heat, they are more important than ever.
The grass is already stressed; cutting it with a dull lawn mower blade
will stress it even more
4) Leave all chemical applications to the professionals
Most grass types do not require fertilization during the summertime. If for some reason you are inclined to treat your lawn with fertilizer or chemicals, be sure to call a professional, licensed service provider. Risk of Nitrogen burn is super high in the summer, so it’s best to leave any lawn treatments to a professional.
Hopefully, these tips help you, and for those of you who don’t feel like doing your own lawn, check out First Response Lawn Care’s professional lawn services in Rockwall, Fate, Royse City, Caddo Mills, and surrounding areas.
Get a FREE Estimate! Call Now – (214) 701-7622! We will gladly help you with your lawncare needs!
Does your grass look dead? What are the differences between a dead and a dormant lawn? A brown lawn does not always mean that your lawn is dead, it could just be dormant! Dormancy is essentially the lawn going to sleep.
Summer dormancy occurs when the grass is stressed out by intense heat and drought. It can stay in this dormant state safely for 3-4 weeks without dying, although intense drought will kill it over time. Dormant turf is not very pleasant to look at with its unsightly brown tinge. Fortunately, the grass will green up once conditions improve.
How to Revive Dormant Grass
It can be tough to determine whether or not your lawn is dormant or if it is actually dead. A good way to determine if it is dormant is by watering in the early morning. Water it regularly and heavily for a couple of days. This should bring your lawn out of dormancy. Also try to minimize the foot traffic on your lawn, as foot traffic can damage the root systems on dormant grass. Hold back on mowing your lawn, as longer blades of grass will provide shade for the roots. The longer blades keep the moisture from evaporating in the heat as quickly.
Keep an Eye on Daily Progress
After watering there may be some patches or areas that stay brown. If there are many areas that need to be replaced or the areas are quite large, sodding is your best bet. If the areas are small and few in number, reseeding may be the way to go. Call us at First Response Lawncare. We can help you determine how your yard is coming along and calibrate your irrigation system to be optimized to bring your lawn back to life.
Checking your lawn before deciding it is dead could potentially save you time as well as money. Be sure you give it proper attention for a few days before writing it off! Re-sodding or reseeding certain areas is more cost effective than replacing your entire lawn!
Get a FREE Estimate! Call Now – (214) 701-7622! We will gladly help you with your lawncare needs!
Before you dive into summer, have a look at our summer irrigation tips for North Texas. These will ensure that your lawn stays green and nourished throughout the season. We understand that it can be easy to forget about your irrigation system, or just expect it to “do its thing” in the background. But you can’t afford to forget about irrigation.
These 3 summer irrigation tips will get you through the summer with a lush lawn for all those relaxing days spent by the pool.
Timing is Everything
It is best to have your irrigation on to water your lawn in the early morning or late afternoon. If you water the hot soil in the midday sun, the water will quickly evaporate, leaving your plants dry and deprived. We recommend that you use your irrigation system between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Be careful of how much your home irrigation system is operating. Those of us in North Texas usually find that we need to water our lawns less when we experience those rainy summer days. Overwatering can be as harmful, if not worse, as underwatering. Be Waterwise!
Your watering schedule needs to change throughout the year according to the different amounts of rainfall. An automatic irrigation system can monitor soil moisture to determine whether the system needs to be automatically switched on. You want to make sure that your irrigation system is watering the right amount across your lawn. As a rule of thumb, we suggest irrigating twice a week. If it has been a very rainy week, you might be able to cut this down to one.
Get Professional Advice
The change of season necessitates the change of your irrigation system schedule. First Response Lawn Care can advise you with the planning and operation of your irrigation to ensure that it is suited to the climate and your lawn. If you neglect to modify the schedule, you risk watering too much, or not enough. Either way, you could cause extensive damage to your lawn by skipping this simple step.
As well as guiding you with the schedule and frequency of your irrigation system, we can assist you with its positioning and setup. Sometimes a sprinkler head needs to be adjusted to evenly water the lawn. Or perhaps your shaded patch of the lawn does not need as much water as the other patch that sits under the sun all day.
Get a FREE Estimate! Call Now – (214) 701-7622! We will gladly help you with your irrigation needs!