Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wind Storm Disrupted Pests Along with Branches

Undoubtedly you've heard about the thousands of families who were forced to live elsewhere because of extensive power outages and flooding from the wind storm two weekends ago. (If you were one of those thousands, our hearts and thoughts go out to you as you try to put your life back in order.) What you probably didn't hear about are the millions of insects overwintering in those trees who were abruptly awakened from their winter slumbers as their 'homes' crashed to the ground.

The great weather we had this past weekend, combined with our access to...not only 1 but...2 chainsaws, gave us the perfect opportunity to clean up the mess that Mother Nature had dumped in our yard. While cutting down a partially-broken branch (see photo), we encountered a carpenter ant condo. They weren't very happy to have their home broken into, but since it was so nice out, we're sure they were able to find a new residence in no time in another nearby dead branch.
Since carpenter ants, and termites, feed on decaying plant material, dying branches and dead trees are the perfect place for them to live. If those trees are close enough to your home, as the ant colony grows, they may look for new opportunities to feed and live, such as the mulch around your house. Once near your home, that's when they can then get into your home and cause damage.
Interestingly, some carpenter ants don't even look like ants: The workers of the colony have the typical ant body, while the reproductives have wings and look more like a termite (see photo at left).

Now is the perfect time, before the leaves start popping out, to see if parts of your trees may dying and subject to carpenter ant infestation. Once carpenter ants infest a tree, they will then speed up its demise. Proper trimming and sealing of decaying branches can protect and prolong the life of your trees. Obviously, once carpenter ants are inside your home, trimming is no longer an option and that's were we come in!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Horizon Educates Students on Insects & Shows Live Madagascar Hissing Roaches at Super Science Saturday

As part of its community outreach program, Horizon Pest Control recently participated in Ridgewood’s Super Science Saturday to share its knowledge of insects and pests with children of all ages. Although many people think that Horizon exists solely to kill all bugs, it’s not entirely true. In general, we like bugs: We’re only interested in eliminating the pests that threaten heath and cause problems in people’s homes and businesses.

Our interactive exhibit at the area’s largest science fair featured Madagascar Hissing Roaches that attendees could touch and hold, as well as a live tarantula, which we kept safe in an observation habitat…for obvious reasons! It was exciting to see so many people approach the roaches with trepidation, but then, upon seeing their mild demeanor, muster the courage to pet them. Our team was eager to answer any and all questions…from ‘what does the tarantula eat’ to ‘how many roaches are in there’ to ‘can I have one?!’ For those less inclined to be near live insects, we also displayed preserved specimens of common pests and the damage they can create.

Many students and their parents also attended our new presentation, titled ‘How Do Such Small Pests Cause Such BIG problems’, which covers diseases and illnesses caused by pests and their global impact. From Malaria killing 3000 children a day over 1/3 of the world to Lyme’s Disease threatening us here in the United States, we discussed how the economy, weather and local demographics can affect how pests interact with humans with negative outcomes.

For more information on Horizon’s community outreach programs, please visit us at http://www.horizonpestcontrol.com/ or contact vholst@horizonpestcontrol.com.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Jerseyans rely on Horizon Pest Control to protect their health and homes from pests. Our services are effective and safe. Our service technicians are State certified. Our service guarantee gives peace of mind to our customers. Would you like to sell for Horizon? Read on.

We are seeking entrepreneurial sales professionals who enjoy the challenge and reward of hunting and closing new business. You will be responsible for prospecting, and solving often complex problems utilizing a technical, consultative approach, and closing new business in the form of customer-specific pest management programs and home services.You will receive company-provided leads, while aggressively self-generating leads, and developing your sales territory. Our ideal candidates are independent and analytical, with strong problem solving skills. We prefer college graduates with technical or business degrees, and demonstrable accomplishments selling to home owners.

Minimum 2 years sales experience with a stable work history
Experience in pest management, security services, home improvement, and/or other industries selling directly to home owners is preferred
Proven prospecting, presentation, negotiation and closing skills
Skill using MS Office, Internet/Email, and CRM software
Valid driver's license and drug-free

Generous Base Pay + Commissions / Health Insurance + Paid Vacations + Sick Days

You bring your sales acumen, we will train you in our business. Curious? Apply now to learn more.

Monday, March 1, 2010

You're not seeing things...

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to take our puppy on a hike despite the fact that we knew the trails would be covered in the recent snow fall. We had a couple lazy days so we were feeling up for a challenge...and felt like we needed some fresh air. We headed out to a local reservation, Campgaw Mountain, and started down the 2.5 mile path.

It was quite beautiful. It was exactly what we and especially Oakley - needed. Except for a few birds, nothing was stirring. We usually see deer on this particular path...but there was nothing. The snow was heavy and as we stepped in the footprints of many hikers before us, I started to notice something WAS stirring. More than just my boots filled these footprints and I decided to take a moment to see what was going on in the many feet of snow beneath me. At first I thought I was seeing things... there were little specs inside each and every footprint. When I took a closer look - I realized, they were jumping. Yes. Jumping. As a person in the pest control industry, my mind began to race. But I came up short. In the dead of winter - in all the snow...the ground seemed to be teaming with these black jumping specs. The only insect I knew that looked and acted like these were fleas. I was immediately very concerned...especially as I watched Oakley run and put his paws right in the middle of these jumping insects....over and over again. I was nervous that our afternoon hike was going to turn our car and our home into a flea fest.

We rushed out of the woods as fast as we could...which was about and hour and a half later and immediately we did a google search. As it turns out - they WERE fleas...but not the typical ones that you protect your pets from... they're called (very appropriately) snow fleas.

Here's what I learned about these pesky snow fleas...as it turns out - they aren't pesky at all.

Snow fleas are actually tiny insects which come out on warm, sunny days to eat decayed plant material or sap oozing from the tree. They hop around acting like fleas and that's where they get their name, snow "fleas." They're not fleas though, but actually an arthropod called Collembola (kol-LEM-bo-la) or commonly called springtails which measure about 1/8 inch (2mm) long. They have a very unique catapult system to get around. Two "tails" on their back end are tucked up underneath their belly, held in place by tiny "hooks." When the springtail wants to move, they just release the spring-loaded "tails," called furcula, which hit the snow and send them flying into the air. Since snow fleas can't conrol their flight or direction, they frequently land in the same spot or only a few inches away.

These are not just winter critters. You can find them any time of year in the forest living in the leaf litter stuck to the underside of leaves or on the surface of the soil, chomping on bits of rotting vegetation. They also live on the surface of ponds. You'd have to look very closely to see them here because they blend in well and are so tiny.