Keep Your Family Safe From Chiggers With Terra Bites

Bites on footIf you just moved to Georgia from the west or far north United States, you may have never heard of a chigger. Because chiggers tend to live in warmer climates, if you just moved, you may be surprised when you go out in your yard and feel a bite like you have never felt before. Chiggers are juvenile mites, members of the arachnid family (the same family as spiders and ticks) and despite their size, have a bite way worse than their bark. 

What makes a chigger so bothersome is after it bites a human, it injects its digestive enzymes into the skin after about 1-3 hours, causes symptoms and signs to begin. Symptoms include:

  • Pronounced itching
  • Area redness, flatteness, or a raised area and may resemble a blister
  • The itch is due to the presence of the stylostome and usually is most intense within 1-2 days after the bite, but can last up to two weeks

Although many think the chigger itself burrows into skin and remains there, this is a myth, so applying nail polish or alcohol to suffocate the chigger will not do much good. The best solution is prevention, meaning keep your lawn manicured, and weeds controlled with Terra Bites Lawn Service.

We understand that life gets busy, and you may not have the time or energy to keep up with mowing, edging, and other general lawn care. Hiring a lawn care company like Terra Bites is a great way to eliminate a chigger’s ideal home. We will be sure to keep up with the maintenance of your lawn, even when you are out of town, on vacation, or just get busy. With our basic service, we visit your lawn twenty times throughout the year, which equates to every other week during the primary growing season. We also offer weed control, eliminating another breeding ground for these tiny pests.

Keep your family safe, and bite-free with help from Terra Bites Lawn Service!

Beat The Heat And Save Some Dough While You’re At It!

It is definitely summer here in Georgia and at Terra Bites Lawn Service LLC, we know how important it is to keep your lawn looking beautiful year-round. We also know that means keeping your other plants, not just your grass, looking good too, and we would like to offer some tips on how to keep your plants hydrated without breaking the bank this summer.

Thermostat Pick Hardy Plants

If you have not planted them yet, try choosing plants that like the heat and do not require much water. Not only will your plants be happier, but so will you and your budget for not having to water them constantly.

Reuse Water

Have you boiled anything recently? Instead of throwing the cooled water you used to boil your veggies away, put it to good use and water your outdoor plants! Cleaning your fish tank? Reuse the water! The water is rich in nitrogen and phosphorous, which helps your plants.

Watch The Weather Forecast

It happens every time you get your car washed and water your garden, right? The next day, it inevitably rains. If you are trying to conserve water, be very mindful of the weather forecast, and if there is a good chance of rain, skip watering that day.

Invest In A Moisture Meter

These handy tools are readily available and provide an accurate account of what your soil has and what it needs. We suggest putting them in each different plant area, as different plants require different amounts of moisture.

For all of your lawn care needs, call the experts in the industry; contact Terra Bites Lawn Service LLC!

Fireworks Safety Tips

White Firework

This year is flying by! Can you believe Independence Day is Monday? With the legalization of fireworks in Georgia, we know many of our customers will want to get outdoors and light up the sky this Fourth of July, but here at Terra Bites LLC, we  want to remind you of a few fireworks safety tips to lessen your chances of injuring your property, yourself, or others.

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks- you always want to be sure you are following the rules, but still having a great time
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • An adult should supervise all firework activities, and know what to do in case of emergency.
  • Do not operate fireworks while intoxicated
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket anywhere on your person.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • Report illegal explosives, to your local fire or police department.

Tips from our friends at the National Council On Fireworks Safety

However you’re spending this holiday, we hope you have a great one! Don’t forget to pick up firework debris to prevent harm to your lawn.

3 Misconceptions About Watering Your Lawn

Did you know June 23rd was National Hydration Day? If you are like many, you may be concerned that your lawn is getting dehydrated in the summer heat, but properly watering your lawn takes more than just putting a sprinkler on it whenever the idea hits. There are several misconceptions about watering your lawn, and here at Terra Bites Lawn Care, LLC, we would like to clear some of them up. Sprinkler on lawn

Common Misconception #1: The water from my hose is too warm

According to horticulturalist Linda Chalker-Scott, PhD, you will never be able to scorch your grass due to your water being too warm. If you choose to wait until dusk, you are just prolonging your grass’s suffering, as well as encouraging fungal development.

Common Misconception #2: Leaving footprints in grass is a sign it is adequately watered

This is actually the exact opposite of what it means! The test to see if your grass is under drought stress is to walk across it and see if you leave footprints. If you do, it needs more water. Other signs your grass needs water are if the blades start to wilt or curl, and if it turns bluish-gray, instead of green.

Common Misconception #3: The best time to water my lawn is the evening, when the sun starts to set

For optimal saturation and minimal fungal development, the best time to water your lawn is early morning. This will give your grass time to absorb the water, but allow the sun’s rays to evaporate excess to avoid fungus. If your grass is under drought stress midday, do not be afraid to water it! Water your lawn when it is thirsty, and it will stay beautiful all summer long!

With Terra Bites’ lawn service packages, you will not have to worry about underwatering or overwatering. We will take care of everything for you, making your summer stress-free and relaxing. Contact us today for more information.

Father’s Day is Right Around the Corner!

Father’s Day 2016 is THIS Sunday, June 19th! If you have not gotten your dad anything yet, do not panic. Terra Bites Lawn Service is here to offer some last minute Father’s Day gift ideas that are more creative than a tie or a ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ mug. Father's Day

  1. A Beard Trimmer

Great for dads resembling Grizzly Adams or for those who like the look of a 5 o’clock shadow, a beard trimmer is something your dad may be in need of replacing or can be a valuable tool if he just started growing his facial hair and has not gotten one yet.

  1. A Smart Watch

Your dad will never have to worry about asking for directions, or even pulling out a map with this great watch. A bit higher end, these watches have time, date, and satellite GPS capabilities, making the days of dad driving around aimlessly because he refuses to ask for directions a thing of the past!

  1. A Great Book

Whether your dad is an avid reader or a novice, you cannot go wrong with a great book! Check the New York Times Best-Seller List for suggestions, and pick one up at your local book store!

  1. A Worry Free Year

If your dad is responsible for the yard work at your house, give him the best gift ever: the gift of time. Call Terra Bites Lawn Service LLC and let us take care of his lawn during the hot summer months! It will be a load off his mind, and he will most definitely appreciate not having to exhaust himself in the hot summer sun trying to maintain the lawn. Contact Us today to get started!

5 Hardy Summer Flowers

Summer FlowerAlthough summer does not officially begin until June 20th, here at Terra Bites in Braselton Georgia, it sure feels like it is in full session. With the weather only getting warmer, it is important to think about which flowers would work best with our hot, Georgia climate. Here are five plants that are tried and true to withstand the Georgia heat, and look beautiful all summer long!

  1. Black-Eyed Susans: This beauty comes in yellow or red with beautiful black centers. It is great for full sun exposure, and will attract birds, butterflies, and even beneficial insects.
  1. Coneflower: Usually found in purple, these flowers come in pink, orange, red, yellow and white. These flowers, which resemble inverted daisies, consist of petals surrounding a large dome-shaped cone. Blooming from spring to fall, they also attract butterflies and bees.
  1. Lantana: This groundcover, shrub, or potted plant has blooms clustered with dark green foliage. It comes in a variety of colors including yellow, orange, red, purple, white, and multi-colored. This flower thrives in full sun, and will attract birds and butterflies.
  1. Zinnia: Your grandmother may have grown this long-time favorite of many gardeners. Their large flowers come in a variety of colors and they will withstand almost any summer heat. Enjoying full sun, they will attract butterflies and bees.
  1. Salvia: This versatile and varied beauty comes in a variety of sizes and colors. They are easy to grow and love full sun. They will attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds!

During the summer, you should be spending time at the pool or with your family, not worried about weeds in your beautiful flower garden. Let Terra Bites Lawn Care take care of those unwanted weeds to keep your flower bed beautiful all summer!

Wait a second…those aren’t leaves!

Have you ever been walking around your yard noticing your trees, and all of the sudden, see something that looks off? It resembles a dead leaf bunch, but upon closer inspection, you realize it is not leaves at all. At Terra Bites Lawn Service LLC in Braselton Georgia, we want to educate you on bagworms and give some easy ways to rid your yard of them.

Bagworm

By Andrew C via Wikimedia Commons

What Are Bagworms?

Often mistaken for dead leaves or moss, bagworms are highly destructive insects that quite literally attack many deciduous and evergreen tree, as well as shrubs. When they are young, the caterpillars feed on the needles of the tree, and can be recognized by their signature “bag” they construct around themselves.

Getting Rid Of Them:

Method 1: The first removal method is to physically remove and destroy as many of the bags as possible. This can significantly reduce bagworm populations. Unfortunately, many times they build their “bags” very high in trees making easy removal unlikely. Trust your friends at Terra Bites to help you with this problem! By having proper, and regular lawn care maintenence, we should be able to spot any developing bags, and dispose of them before it is too late.

Method 2: Products such as bifenthrin or permethrinfrom, when used from April to August can help to prevent bagworms from being attracted to your trees in the first place.

Method 3: Trees under stress, much like people, are more susceptible to illness and infestation. Proper watering, and maintenance of your trees and lawn like the services provided by Terra Bites will help deter bagworms from inhabiting.

To learn more about bagworms, or any of our services, contact Terra Bites today!

It’s A Serious Problem…

Shrooms. We hear it all the time. Someone’s family member or friend is having a problem with mushrooms. What can you do? Should you have an intervention? They do not realize how harmful it is…to their lawn! The most common cause of lawn mushrooms is poor drainage, leading to an excess of moisture. At Terra Bites Lawn Service LLC, we know that lawn mushrooms are not only an eyesore, but can be potentially dangerous to children and pets. Here are some ways to get rid of them.

  1. Let Terra Bites Mow Them

If you use our lawn services already, then you do not have to worry about these pesky, fungal eyesores; we will take care of everything. If you do not, cutting them with a knife at their base, then throwing them in a plastic bag in your trashcan is probably the best way to do it, so they do not spread spores.

  1. Reduce The Amount Of Shade In Your Yard

Mushrooms. Love. Shade. It is how they thrive. So, decrease the amount of shady spots in your yard, and decrease the amount of mushrooms. Also, overwatering your lawn creates the perfect breeding ground for these little guys. Terra Bites uses weather monitoring technology to ensure your lawn is watered just enough.

  1. De-thatch To Create Circulation

De-thatching your lawn is a great way to minimize shade and create more pathways for air circulation. You have a couple of options for doing this. You can either: manually go over your entire lawn with a convex rake, break your back with a power rake, or hire Terra Bites to help you de-thatch your lawn.

So, if you no longer want “fungus among us” or just do not think mushrooms are “Fun-gi’s” give Terra Bites a call. Lawn mushrooms

The Recipe For A Great Memorial Day BBQ

Wow! Can you believe we are just over a week away from Memorial Day? This national holiday is an opportunity to remember all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country’s armed forces. Originating as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, the holiday has taken on some colloquial connotations in addition to its solemn association. Often people have barbecues, and open their swimming pools as a kick-off to the summer season. While we always want to remember those who gave their lives for our country, we also want to offer some ways to liven up your backyard if you are having a barbecue! BBQ

Ingredients for a Great Memorial Day Barbecue:

1 part great food:

Food is the universal language. Having a wide variety of food options, and accommodating for dietary restrictions so there is something for everyone, is a great way to please a crowd! You will also want to have something that can be grilled, as most people will prefer to be outdoors in the warm weather.

For your meat/protein, consider: Classic burgersBBQ chicken, and maybe even shrimp as great protein options. For the vegans/vegetarians, try grilling a grilled  or even cactus!

For your side dishes, consider: Of course, the classic crowd pleasers are always great options, but try jazzing it up with some Mexican Grilled Corn with Cilantro, or this fun twist on the classic mac-n-cheese!

For your desserts, consider: Everyone loves banana pudding; everyone loves Rice Krispies Treats, but try this twist that combines them for a fun and different BBQ dessert!

1 part great backyard:

If your backyard is not something you are proud of, contact Terra Bites Lawn Service LLC to speak with one of our friendly associates and get started on making it the backyard of your dreams! We provide free estimates, and consultations to answer all of you questions!

1 part friends and family:

The most important part of any barbecue are the people you share it with.

There you have it! The perfect recipe for a great Memorial Day BBQ! Surround yourself with people who love you, great food, and a great backyard (with help from Terra Bites) and it is sure to a great time!

Myth Busters: Poison Ivy Edition

Poison ivy plantFriday is a day filled with superstition. It is Friday the 13th, and the ONLY Friday the 13th in 2016. Many people hold strong beliefs about this day, including some preventative measures to combat the perceived bad luck. Oftentimes, however, these superstitions are just that, and have no factual evidence to prove their validity. Similarly, we find oftentimes people have been misinformed about one of the most common yard plants we see: poison ivy. At Terra Bites Lawn Service LLC, we want to clear up and confusion with this seemingly dangerous plant.

Myth #1: Leaves of three, let them be

Truth #1: Although poison ivy does have 3 leaves, poison oak, and poison sumac have 3-5, and 7-13 leaves respectively. These plants present similarly and cause very similar reactions.

Myth #2: You can contract poison ivy simply by being near it

Truth #2: No, you have to actually be in direct contact with the urushiol oil (the oil in poison ivy that makes you itch and break out)  in order to get it. This does not include forest fires, or burning of anything which may contain poison ivy, as it causes the oils to become airborne and potentially get on you.

Myth #3: My only solution to not contracting poison ivy is complete avoidance

Truth #3: There are a few products on the market called ivy blockers or barriers that will protect you from poison ivy when applied before coming in contact with it.

Terra Bites would love to be your local lawn care provider, so the risk of contracting poison ivy will be far less for you. Please contact us for your estimate today!