SAVE MONEY TAKE 3: DO-IT-YOURSELF PEST CONTROL
GARDENLINE CHARITY IDEA
SATURDAY APPEARANCE AT PLANTS FOR ALL SEASONS
In the matter of "full disclosure" regarding this week's GardenLine email tip, I have a pest control company that provides me a quarterly service. I choose not to do-it-myself. Also, if the topic of do-it-yourself pest control completely bores you, then at the very least skip on down to the bottom where I have a small little charity event I would like GardenLine listeners to help with. And, you can also scroll down to important information about this weekend's GardenLine appearance at Plants for All Seasons.
Until next issue, here's to Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively, 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. Sundays, only on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
With all that said, this week's email tip is the latest in my continuing series on how I can save you money in these strained economic times. This week, we talk about doing your own Pest Control.
Much like two weeks ago, it is sort of unfortunate that there are many unscrupulous/greedy pest control companies out there that are adept at "scaring" people into monthly services. And if you are paying for a monthly service, you are being ripped off in the pest control world. Quarterly or biannually service is the norm. Granted, there are some people that simply don't want to ever see a single bug, and it doesn't matter how much it costs to achieve that end. And there are some people so frightened by the thought of termites that they too are willing to pay anything to insure for such protection.
Admittedly, termite control can be a separate discussion later in this tip sheet, but for now, general pest control by over-priced service companies can be one place you can save money each and every year, if you'll do-it-yourself. Do-it-yourself pest control really does depend on what you're dealing with and/or how intense the infestation. Whereas, I think everyone can do their own fertilization schedule, I admit there are a number of pest control situation where you might have to get "the professionals" to help. If you only occasionally see a spider, fly, outdoor roach, sole wandering ant, etc. then you could probably survive with your own pump-up sprayer and a modern day insecticide.
The most effective form of pest control is preventive, finding out how the pests get into the house and sealing the access, removing food sources, and limiting harborage sites. If really nasty infestations or bizarre bugs, then you should definitely consider a professional. I'm not going to go through every imaginable pest in this email tip and give you "kill advice." Rather I'm letting you in on a great inside secret of GardenLine and that's the direct links to a few of the websites I've referenced year after year to find information for the myriad of pest questions I get. Most of these sites have solid information on what controls work best on what pests, and a couple of them allow you to order specialty products on-line for yourself.
You may be thinking that pest control operators have access to products that you and I don't. That's only slightly true. The fact is that most licensed pest control specialists still use the same active ingredients that you and I can, only in different strengths. So, if you can buy the same product that pest control operators buy, why can't you do-it-yourself? To that end, I give you the four Solutions Stores in the Houston area, the countless feed stores and specialty garden shops that can also order specific products for you. Do-it-yourselfers have, for years, visited Solutions stores and places like Southwest Fertilizer to get the latest and greatest in home pest control technology. But you don't even need pesticides for effective pest control. In fact, you often rarely have to spend a time if you have:
MOISTURE CONTROL - Removing moisture that attracts pests...
Repair leaky roofs, faucets, pipes and appliances.
Clean gutters and downspouts.
Direct water away from the house.
Eliminate standing water and water in outdoor containers.
Ensure that crawlspaces have vents and a vapor barrier.
EXCLUSION - Sealing keeps pests out...
Seal foundation cracks, and gaps where utility lines enter.
Keep doors, windows and vents screened and well sealed.
Keep exterior wood painted, stained or sealed.
Seal items in storage. Store items in plastic, not cardboard.
Before bringing in new items, inspect them for pests.
SANITATION - Cleaning removes food and hiding places...
Keep trash containers clean and tightly sealed.
Keep foods in sealed containers.
Don't leave dog/cat food or birdseed out for long periods.
Remove clutter and junk, indoors and out.
PREVENTION - Making your home unattractive to pest...
Eliminate wood-to-ground contact.
Use gravel or rock instead of wood mulch.
Use concrete or plastic instead of wood landscape timbers.
Keep plants trimmed and woodpiles away from house.
Use yellow "bug lights" in exterior light fixtures.
MECHANICAL CONTROL - Removing pests, without pesticides...
Use snap traps for mice and rats.
Use sticky traps to locate and control insect/spider infestations.
Use pheromone traps for clothes moths, meal moths, etc.
Use light traps indoors for flies, etc., flypaper and swatters too.
Use a vacuum to remove ladybird beetles, fleas, spiders, etc.
Finally, if termites are your biggest fear, you can do-it-yourself with a quarterly application of termite-approved insecticides such as Termidor, Permethrin and Bifenthrin-based products. You just have to be very consistent with your controls, and you have to monitor the house from time to time, making sure there are no signs. I'm not trying to over-simplify this, but think about it: If you're paying for a quarterly service (remember, if you're paying for a monthly service, you're probably being taken advantage of) and if you can essentially buy the exact same product that many of the pest control operators use, why wouldn't you try it yourself if you need to save money?
Yes, pest control operators have what is affectionately known as a Pest Control Applicator's License. But you can get one very easily too, by attending a seminar or two at places like Texas A&M one weekend. And you can start the whole process on line at the Texas Department of Agriculture. That too, gives you the ability to spray stronger products than are available on the retail market. But those products aren't always needed above and often beyond what is already available to the average consumer.
And if you're all about Going Green, then Pest Control Operators have absolutely no advantage over you, because if an insecticidal repellant is considered 100% organic, you don't need a license for that application, now do you?
A Good Charity for GardenLine Listeners
I have a few charitable concerns I think GardenLine listeners can really help with, and "keep it in the garden" so to speak. I'm always moved to help out The Brookwood Community each and every year, and if you've ever been there to buy their poinsettias, flower or crafts, you have too.
I've got a new one for you. One of what I call the "GardenLine Faithful," Shelia Thorne, dropped a pamphlet in my hands recently asking if we could help her project out. It's known as the GardenPlay Project. And simply put their tag-line on their brochure says it all for me PROTECT, PLANT AND PLAY!!!
The GardenPlay Project is a vision for addressing the problems on many of today's youth in that their lifestyles aren't all that healthy and fit anymore. While society has decreased our outdoor activities because of television and computers, at the same time you have some families that are hyper-sensitive to personal safety issues for kids outdoors. All together, you have less kids playing outdoors and less places to play outdoors. The GardenPlay Project is coupling that with the need to protect open spaces in the face of land development.
This is a chance for an Outdoor Classroom, Community Garden and Playground in one location. The idea is to provide a safe playground/exercise and social environment for kids from 5 to 12 years of age. They will accomplish this through a series of fun activities where the kids experience and learn about the environment, nutrition, economic life skills and physical fitness.
Please check out their website and see how you can help or to find out more information about this exciting project in the Seabrook area - which could really use the additional help following Hurricane Ike.
http://projects.kaboom.org/GardenPlay or you can call 281-334-PLAY (7529)
Saturday November 1st 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., I'm at Plants For All Seasons
Speaking of being one of the "GardenLine Faithful", I'll bet no one can do what Robert and Nancy Short have done - pretty much visit me at every single GardenLine Appearance we've had since September 1st. You can start your own consistent tradition by visiting me this weekend at Plants For All Seasons at 249 & Louetta.
Not only will we have our requisite give-aways from the likes of Garden Weasel AG Crabgrass Killer and Nelson Plant Food's Color Star, this weekend, we are going to try and feed you some lunch from Double Dave's Pizza Works - more specifically PEPPERONI ROLLS. Yes, the famous Double Dave's Pepperoni Rolls, which if you've never tried, you don't know what you're missing.
Not to mention, if you print out this email, as we encourage the GardenLine Faithful to do each week, you get to choose from the grand prizes courtesy of Garden-Ville. And we're talking about one-of-a-kind products from the company that is basically the Godfather of "all things organic" in Texas horticulture.
So, come get some free stuff, a pepperoni roll or two and take advantage of discount pricing on my book Gulf Coast Gardening with Randy Lemmon. They are selling it for 15 dollars a copy, nearly 5 bucks off the regular price. So, since it will officially be Nov. 1st, you can honestly say its Christmas shopping season. So, stock up on the cheapest price of my book for holiday presents.
It's all this Saturday at Plants for All Seasons on 249 at Louetta. www.plantsforallseasons.com
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