Category Archives: Current Events

Active Insects in Jacksonville

Staying on top of the active insects, termites and lawn diseases is The Critter Gitter’s Specialty.

As a family owned and operated business since 1954, Peninsular Pest Control prides itself on the team of bonded service professionals who provide customers with treatment for the thousands of pests who make a home in your home or business. Four Generations of homeowners have trusted Peninsular Pest Control for their solution to their pest problems partly because they work around your schedule, providing regular service on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Peninsular also offers a one-time service for special problems.

Peninsular Pest Control offers a full range of residential and commercial services including pest control, lawn maintenance (fertilization and weed control) as well as termite treatment (Termidor® and Sentricon®).

Problems with Sandy Soil

Newly Built Homes with Lawn Issues

Have you just moved into a newly built home and your grass is not looking as good as it should?   There is a reason.

New subdivisions are often created on top of existing sandy soil.  If no topsoil is added to the ground before the sod is installed, the grass will not thrive.  We all know grass needs nutrients to grow …but a healthy soil profile containing rich, organic matter is equally important. Just adding fertilizer to the lawn will not help… unless there is healthy soil below.

Soils that are gray or sandy colored generally contain less organic matter and you need to add topsoil. 

Top Dressing
Top Dressing will add nutrients to the sandy soil.

Don’t add too much at one time, make sure you can still see grass blades through the soil. This process is called top dressing and needs to be done every 3 to six months… until you see results.

Once your new turf is established, give us a call and we will gladly come out and recommend a lawn care program for you.

Erin Harlow, Horticulture Agent III at Columbia County Extension Office, wrote an article in the November/December 2021 issue of Pest Pro Magazine that addresses Florida soil and the amendments that can be made to improve the plant nutrition uptake.

Pest Pro Magazine image

Read the full article in Pest Pro Magazine.

Soils in Your Landscape

Soil is rarely uniform throughout a landscape. To understand the soil on your accounts, you should understand the common soil texture in your area, the amount of organic matter in the soil, the soil compaction or bulk density, and how all of these factors may influence the health of plants.

Soil is divided into three categories depending on the size of the particle: sand, silt or clay. The percentage of each in your soil will determine what type of soil is on your site. The composition of the soil also influences factors such as water retention and how it moves in your landscape.

Most Florida soil is sand, but the panhandle of Florida has more clay layers. The larger the particle size, the larger the pore space, which means that water can flow through these spaces faster. For your plants, this means that water may move out of the root zone quickly, requiring more supplemental irrigation.

Florida soils tend to have low organic matter — less than 4 percent. Organic matter plays a huge role in soil health. Improving the amount of organic matter in your soil can increase the potential for nutrient uptake by your plants (cation exchange capacity), increase the porosity of the soil, provide food for microbes, bind pollutants, and reduce compaction. Most labs that test for soil nutrients can test for organic matter, including the University of Florida Extension Soil Testing Laboratory Soil compaction is another factor that can influence plant health.

Caribbean Root Weevils

According the The University of Florida IFAS, this root weevil which is native to the Caribbean was first reported in Florida in 1964 from a nursery near Apopka. It was presumably introduced in an ornamental plant shipment from Puerto Rico. Since 1964, Diaprepes abbreviatus or Root Weevil, has spread over a large area of central and southern Florida where it is damaging to citrus, ornamental plants, and some other crops. It is estimated that Diaprepes abbreviatus causes about 70 million dollars in damage annually in Florida. Estimates show the weevil infests more than 100,000 acres of citrus.

Weevil
Jacksonville, FL Weevil, spotted on November 11, 2021

These adult Florida weevils vary in length from 0.95 to 1.90 cm (3/8 to 3/4 inch). They are black, and overlaid by minute white, red orange, and/or yellow scales on the elytra (wing covers). These scales are often rubbed off of the tops of ridges on the elytra giving the appearance of black stripes on a light colored background. Adults emerging from pupae in the soil are armed with a pair of deciduous mandibles which break off as they tunnel through the soil to get above ground. Scars at the site where the deciduous mandibles break off are visible under a microscope.

Life Cycle of the Caribbean Root Weevil

A single Diaprepes abbreviatus female can lay up to 5,000 eggs in her three to four month long life. Eggs are laid in clusters of 30 to 265 and enclosed within leaves that have been folded and glued together, or within two leaves glued together. In seven to eight days the neonate larvae emerge from eggs, leave the cluster and fall off of the leaves onto the ground. The larvae then enter the soil and search for and feed on the roots. After feeding for several months, the mature larvae pupate in the soil. Adults emerge from the soil, seek a host and mate as conspecifics gather on the host. The complete life cycle varies in time depending on nutritional and environmental factors.

Although adults can emerge year round, their primary emergence period is May through October and November in central Florida. It is suspected that their seasonality in South Florida is quite different because of the similarity with the Caribbean, where it can be found throughout the year.

Adults do not fly far from the spot where they emerged from the soil (estimated to be less than 300 m). Therefore, long distance dispersal is through the movement of contaminated soil and containerized plants containing potentially all life stages of the weevil. In addition, soil residues on vehicles may be contaminated with larvae.

Adults do not fly far from the spot where they emerged from the soil (estimated to be less than 300 m). Therefore, long distance dispersal is through the movement of contaminated soil and containerized plants containing potentially all life stages of the weevil. In addition, soil residues on vehicles may be contaminated with larvae.

Damage Caused

Notching along the margins of young leaves is a telltale symptom of the presence of Diaprepes abbreviatus adults, or other related root weevils. However, other pests such as grasshoppers and caterpillars may produce similar damage. Therefore, it is best to look for a sign, such as the pest doing the damage. Look for Diaprepes abbreviatus adults during the day on the foliage. Shaking the plant may aid in detection as adults fall off of the plant onto the ground. A light colored piece of canvas placed beneath the plant before shaking is useful. Do not look immediately after a heavy rain, which usually knocks weevils off of the plant.

Learn more about insects that can damage your landscape under our LAWN CARE tab.

Jadera Bugs

Jadera Bug Infestation

This is the season in which you will see Jadera Bugs if you have a Golden Rain Tree in your yard, or your neighbor happens to have one. This is a bug that many Florida residents have probably never seen, or even heard about.

Jadera Bug
Jadera Bugs appear in Spring

In early summer, during the midday hours are peak times for Jadera bug activity. These red and black insects can be found swarming in yards where golden rain trees are present. The insects don’t actually cause any damage to the tree or structures. They don’t bite or sting either. But, they will stain your clothes and carpet if you happen to squash them accidentally.

They can also become a nuisance due to their population. It only takes one large golden rain tree to create a Jadera Bug Infestation.

Jadera bugs will crawl into houses, onto cars, through carports, across shoes, and pretty much every other place in the immediate vicinity of the golden rain tree – even further, if wind scatters the seed pods further.

We have had many calls recently from customers inquiring about this red and black bug because it often occurs in huge numbers in yards a golden rain tree is growing.  This bug is even referred to as “The Golden Raintree” bug because of their association with this particular tree.

The Jadera Bug doesn’t have a scent and there are no particular peak times from month to month but, in our area, they usually appear in spring with the Golden Rain Tree is dropping seeds.

These insects are more of a nuisance than a true pest problem. Controlling them is not always necessary unless the numbers are overwhelming.

As mentioned above, the Jadera bug does not sting or bite people or cause structural damage but it will stain your clothes and carpet. So, if you can…try to ignore them and simply enjoy this natural phenomenon that occurs once a year.

Cicada Bugs

Cicadas

The unique sound of the cicada bug will probably bring back childhood memories of playing outside with your neighborhood friends or a special camping trip as a kid, growing up in Florida. 

Cicada Bug

It’s not just the distinctive buzzing sound of the Cicada that makes them so unusual, it’s their interesting life-cycle that fascinates entomologists and nature loves alike.  The most popular species of the cicada bug is the “periodical cicada” which is found north of us in states like North Carolina or Connecticut.  This is the year that particular species emerges from the ground to find a mate and reproduce.

The Cicada Mating Call

Males make the loud buzzing sound which is what attracts the females to them. The reason for the loud volume is because the males with the strongest sounds attract the females.  Imagine the ruckus when you have that many males competing for the same thing… at the same time!

Cicadas are easily heard but not so easily seen or captured.  The distinctive sound can be deafening at times as thousands of males compete with one other for the attention of the females. 

Florida Cicadas occur annually, just as soon as the temperature is right. In much of the eastern United States, they are also known for their appearance in colossal numbers (as many as 1.5 million per acre).

The Periodical Cicadas only appear every 13-17 years so, our northern residents are preparing to see and hear the show this year!  Some people are so fascinated with Cicadas that they are making special plans to spend time outdoors or camping in those northern states from mid-May through June.

Don’t spend time worrying about your pets or kids because these bugs don’t bite or sting, they simply SING!  Enjoy the sounds this year because it may another decade and a half before you have the chance again.

Peninsular Pest Control is the largest, family owned pest control company in Northeast Florida.

Fleas

Flea Treatment for the Home and Yard

Here are some facts about fleas and flea treatment both inside and outside of your home. Understanding that most pet owners rely on the advice of their veterinarian when it comes to fleas on their pet, treatment of the home is just as critical. Fleas enjoy biting humans and pets equally and if you experience an infestation inside of your home, chances are you or your kids will be the target!

Kid and Cat
Fleas will bite animals and humans

Fleas pass from the Egg to Larvae and then to Pupae before becoming Adults.  We only notice them when they are in the adult stage, when they bite and then the cycle begins again.  Although you may be treating your pet for fleas, you need to control them inside your home and in your yard at the same time. That’s why Home Flea Treatment is so important.

It’s important to treat the grassy area of the lawn for fleas but, it’s also important to treat the areas where the pet likes to rest. 

Inside the home, check those areas most used by the pets. One way to determine if fleas are active is to place a white cloth on the floor in this area.  They are attracted to white and will appear on the cloth.

Once the home is treated, pets and people need to stay out until the product is dry.  Insect Growth Regulators can be added to the flea treatment eliminating the need for any indoor follow-up applications.  But the yard will need a second treatment two weeks after the initial one.  This will break the life cycle of these pesky insects.

The professional exterminators at Peninsular Pest Control are well equipped to provide Flea Treatment for your home and your yard. Dealing with all types of pests and insects in the North Florida area is The Critter Gitter’s speciality. Awarded annually for their exceptional customer service by Angi’s List, the Better Business Bureau and the Bold City Best.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants

How do I get rid of carpenter ants?

In the north Florida area, we deal with two different types of ants, large ants (or carpenter ants) and small ants. Both ants follow pheromone trails. These trails are where we place the bait so the ants will take the bait back to the colony to destroy the rest of the colony.

We use these trails to place our bait so the ants will eat the bait, return to the colony, feed it to other members of the colony and the colony will be destroyed.

Ant Extermination

Carpenter Ants will excavate soil in flower pots or in flower beds to make their nests.

Here we have carpenter ants that have nested in the base of this flower pot, they have excavated soil around this flower pot to build their nest.

Now I’m going to show you the difference between the larger carpenter ants and the smaller fire ants. The best way to treat carpenter ants is with a liquid insecticide it leaves a residue that continues to kill the ants over time.

Another thing to remember about carpenter ants is they will invade rotten wood, so it’s important to repair any rotten wood that you have around your home.

There are two ways to treat the small ants one is with granular bait that’s disbursed to the ants will take it back to the colony.

The other way is gel bait that we place along the trails where they feed. Another thing to remember about small ants is that they will gain entry to your home through cracks and crevices. But most homeowners have problems with the smaller ants.

In this example, these are called pavement ants. They are treated with a granular product that the ants actually pickup and carry back to the colony. This will eventually kill off the entire colony.

Angie’s List Super Service Award for 2020

Angie’s List Super Service Award
10 Years in A Row


Another year with the Angie’s List Super Service Award! That makes the 10th year in a row for The Critter Gitter’s at Peninsular Pest Control.

We are proud to announce that Peninsular Pest Control has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award® (SSA)! This award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List in 2020.

For 21 years, the Angie’s List Super Service Award® has honored excellence among top reviewed companies. Pros who have earned the Super Service Award can mark this distinction with a special icon on their profiles and in their advertising.

Both Angie’s List Certified Service Providers and non-participating service providers can win this coveted award. For service providers who win the Super Service Award, a badge displays next to their company name on their profile page. For Angie’s List Certified Providers who win the Super Service Award, the badge will also appear on the search results page.

Angie’s List Super Service Award® Criteria

A service provider must meet the below minimum criteria to be considered for this award. In the past, many eligible service providers exceeded the minimum criteria.

Minimum eligibility requirements for the Award:

    • Maintain an “A” rating in each of the following areas:

         › Overall grade, an average of all reviews.

         › Recent grade, an average of category reviews from last 3 years

         › Review period grade, an average of category reviews from Nov.1st of the previous year – Oct. 31 of the current year

    • Good business standing with Angie’s List

    • Have at least 3 reviews where the member has indicated that services were performed

Award Requirement:

Additionally, to claim the award, eligible service providers must meet the minimum credential requirements.

    • Passing a criminal background check of the owner or relevant manager;

    • Attesting that they have the proper licenses to perform listed work; and

    • Remaining in good business standing with Angie’s List.

Our Service Professionals are bonded professionals trained to provide you with the best Cicada Treatment for your Cicada Infestation Problem. Offering Cicada Inspection and Removal for both inside and outside, we will keep your home or office Cicada free, and your lawn healthy and green. Our Commercial and Residential Services are perfect for anyone searching for: Our lawn service includes, weed control, lawn aeration, lawn and weed treatment, and fertilization.

Bold City Best Award

Bold City Best Award

Two Categories

Bold City Best Award

Thanks again to our wonderful customers for voting us #1 in the BOLD CITY BEST AWARD contest in both BEST PEST CONTROL and BEST LAWN SERVICE in the recent Bold City Best Contest! This makes it 8 consecutive years in a row this local, family owned company has been awarded for outstanding customer service.

Jacksonville.com holds an annual Bold City Best Award competition which gives the community the opportunity to nominate their favorite people, places and businesses in 135 categories, including auto services, cuisine and cocktails, homes and finance, health and well-being, home and professional services, things to do, and shopping. There are two phases: nominations and voting.

Congratulations Bold City Best Award Winners of 2020!

Here they are, the winners of this year’s program! Watch as they’re announced in the virtual awards show below or view the individual categories and winners underneath the video. These organizations represent the finest in our area. Winners and finalists are given a window decal and a plaque or certificate to identify them — look for them when you shop and visit. Thank you to our readers for the overwhelming response and congratulations to these award-winning businesses and organizations!

Peninsular Pest Control, this year’s Bold City Best Award winner, the “Critter Gitter”, has been providing pest control, termite & lawn fertilization services to North Florida homes, businesses and hospitals since 1954.

About the Bold City Best Award winner

Our service technicians are bonded professionals trained to provide you with the specific treatment that you need for your particular pest problems. Offering solutions for both inside and out, we will keep your home or office pest free and your lawn healthy and green.

Our Exterminating Services include: Termite Control, Spider, Roach, Ant & Bee Control and Bedbug Control. Our Lawn Services include: Weed control, Lawn Aeration, Lawn & Turf insect treatment & fertilization. We also offer a mosquito suppression program. Another reason our customers have voted us Bold City Best Award winner for 2020.

We will work around your schedule and treat your home or business on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. We can also schedule one-time services for special needs. Whether you are in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beaches, Mandarin, Green Cove Springs, St. Augustine or Macclenny, we invite you to call us for a free estimate to discuss your pest control needs, or visit us online at CritterGitter.com.

Thanks to all of our loyal customers for making us the Bold City Best Award Winner again in 2020!