What’s Trending? Fungus Gnats are a “Little” BIG Nuisance Indoors

fungus_gnat_products_resizedAs our houseplants are thriving, so too are fungus gnats!  More often than not, these are the little black gnats that are flying around in your home, hanging out next to your windows, doors, computers, kitchen, or anywhere houseplants are kept.  Even though these gnats can be a big nuisance and are often hard to capture in mid air, there are several treatments that work really well for them!

Diagnosis:  Fungus gnats are small, wispy, black flies that are found indoors any time of the year.  Adults measure about 1/8″ long and have delicate legs and antennae.  Despite being a nuisance, they are harmless in the adult stage.  Adults breed and lay their larvae in the moist soil of houseplants, so if you have indoor plants you will be more susceptible to them.  Fungus gnats typically fly in short erratic patterns, almost like they are bouncing around in the air.  At this time of the year, fungus gnats are often confused with fruit flies, who have a thicker body and are attracted to fermenting fruit or moist decaying organic matter.  For more information on fruit flies, please view our Blog article from last year.

Treatment:  Fungus gnats have a life cycle that lasts about 3-4 weeks.  Flying adults live for about 10 days, but a female can lay up to 200 eggs in that short time.  For this reason, it is critical to take some steps to eliminate them before becoming a larger problem.  The best areas to treat are your houseplants or nearby windows.  If you don’t have any houseplants, then maybe plants close to your doors outside are the culprit.  Because fungus gnat larvae like to live in the top 2 inches of soil, it is best to limit watering to only what is necessary and allowing your pots to dry out in between waterings.  This can kill larvae and make it less appealing for adults to breed.  Modified watering habits are sometimes all that is necessary for effective control, but we typically recommend either stick traps or an insect killer be used in conjunction.  Safer Brand’s sticky traps are a great solution for capturing adults.  They simply push into the soil of your potted plants and lure gnats because of their yellow color.  By capturing the adults you are effectively ending the life-cycle of the gnats.  You might also want to consider an insect killer or two.  Pyrethroid-based sprays work great again adults, but if you want to kill the larvae in soils then you are best off with a granule-based product with imidacloprid, such as Bonide’s systemic Houseplant insect granules.  Repeated applications of either of these insect killers will help out greatly.  If you were to choose only one insect killer, you would be best served using the imidacloprid and focusing on the control of the larvae since it is harder to predict the whereabouts of adult gnats.

Prevention:  Consider treating the soil of outdoor plants (or re-potting them entirely) anytime you are bring them indoors.  Actually, re-potting plants in general is a good idea, because older potting mixes are more attractive to fungus gnats.  Also, only water houseplants as much as necessary and try to eliminate periods of prolonged moist soil.  As we mentioned above, it is best to allow houseplant soil to dry out partially in between watering.

 

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What’s New? Deck & Dock Elastomeric Coating

deck_and_dock_small_image_resizedDecks can be hard to maintain and after a couple years of neglect, they can often get dried out and rough from intense sun and precipitation.  If your deck looks like mine (shown to the right) and makes you cringe to rub your hand or feet across it because of the high risk of splinters, then we have a solution for you!  There is now a deck coating that is designed to fill in all of the gaps and cracks in damaged, dried out wood so that you don’t have to replace it.  SuperDeck’s new Deck & Dock Elastomeric Coating can revive your deck and allow you to enjoy this space once again!

Deck & Dock provides a lot of benefits:

  • Flexible elastomeric formula holds up tremendously well to temperature changes and heavy walking traffic.
  • Fills unstable cracks up to 1/4″, resurfacing the deck and making it have a much smoother appearance and prevent it from breaking down further.
  • Deep, long lasting color provides maximum hide of the damaged surface and UV protection.
  • For a non-skid texture, add anti-skid granules that we sell in store.
  • Excellent adhesion on both wood and concrete!

Easy to Apply:  Clean the deck first.  Allow the deck to dry fully.  Apply to cleaned wood with a roller.  1-2 coats are generally needed (depends on the surface).  Allow to dry 1 hour before touch, 2-4 before re-coating, and 24-48 hours for foot traffic.

SuperDeck makes a full line-up of products for cleaning and re-staining your wood deck, so there is something for everyone when it comes to SuperDeck.  We are always here for you, so please stop by our paint department for advise and recommendations specifically tailored to your situation.

Thanks for reading!

Derek Satterfield

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Spend A Little – Save A Lot: 3M Headlight Restoration Kit

Cloudy_HeadlampsAccording to the motor vehicle lighting council, cloudy headlamps, taillights and other plastic features of a vehicle have caused an estimated 2.8 million auto accidents, 23,000 fatal crashes and 2,300 pedestrian deaths each year!

Most vehicles on the road today have headlight covers made from plastic, which make them very susceptible to yellowing and cloudiness from the sun’s UV rays.  Over time the sun’s rays can reduce the light output of your vehicle’s headlamps by up to 90%!

Back in the day if you wanted to clean your headlamps you would have spent at least $100, if not more, to have them professionally restored by an automotive detailer or pay $600-1,000 to have them replaced!

Now several companies are making do-it yourself kits that enable you too clean up your headlights for as little as $16.97 and an hour of your time.

If you plan on taking a family vacation, or already struggle with seeing the road in the dark take a look at your headlamps and see if they are dull or foggy.

3M has three different headlight kits to restore your headlamps.

  • Headlight Restoration Kit (No tools required!) – Good for headlamps with minor cloudiness.  Recommended that you purchase automotive masking tape.
  • Headlight Restoration System (Requires standard household drill 1200-1600 rpm) – Ideal for heavy cloudy/foggy headlamps. Must also purchase automotive masking tape.
  • Lens Renewal System (Requires standard household drill 1200-1600 rpm) – Ideal for heavy cloudy/foggy headlamps.  Includes automotive masking tape.

NOTE: All kits will require you to supply a spray bottle with water and a detail cloth.

 

What’s New? Organic Insect Control for Lawns and Gardens

Summer is here and bugs are in full force in our yards and gardens.  Before this year, there were some organic grub controls, but no organic product to quickly and effectively control lawn-damaging insects that crawl near the soil surface.  Now there is a solution and it comes in the form of an easy-to-spread granular based from plant oils!  Jonathan Green’s new Organic Insect Control for lawns quickly kills and prevents cinch bugs, sod webworm, ticks, fleas, ants, and over 100 other pests without posing has a harm to kids or pets.

How it works:  This patented blend of organic oils kills bugs fast by blocking the neural pathways, termed Octopamine receptors, that are only found in insects.  That is the beauty of this product!  Because these receptors are unique to insects, our pets, kids, and critters around the yard will not be effected in any way by the natural plant oils in Jonathan Green’s Organic Insect Control.

Kills and PREVENTS:  Not only does Jonathan Green’s patented formula kill bugs quick, it also acts as a strong repellent against new insects that may look to encroach on your lawn!

For a short informational video on this revolutionary new product, please see below…

 

What’s New: BactroKill Hospital Disinfectant and Odor Eliminator

bactrokill_P3_in_use_resizedBactronix has been making headlines for several years for their revolutionary solution to killing and eliminating bacteria, germs, and odors found in busy hospitals and commercial environments.  Now, their unique nanotechnology is available to everyone in an easy-to-use formula called Bactrokill!

What Makes Bactrokill Unique?  This new technology is far superior to past methods that attempt to kill bacteria through toxic chemical saturation.  Instead, Bactrokill is a non-toxic product that physically kills dangerous microbe organisms on both hard and soft surfaces.  Odors and germs are completely eliminated.  Bacteria cannot buildup a resistance to Bactrokill!

Why is Bactrokill Better Than Bleach for Sanitizing?  Bleach has always been known to kill bacteria, but over the years, bacteria has built up an immunity to bleach in the form of what is called “biofilm”.  This layer protects bacteria from being eliminated by products such as bleach.

Why is Bactrokill Better Than Odor Eliminators for Smells?  Many odor control products simply coat odor-causing bacteria only to have that odor resurface over time.  Not to mention, these products typically have a cover-up smell that produces more VOC’s or carinogens.  Bactrokill eliminates odors without produces VOC’s or carinogens and causes surfaces to be truly odor free!

Where is Bactrokill Frequently Used?  Bactrokill is recommended for many environments and the convenient travel safe size (3 oz) is great for taking on the go!  Use on grocery carts, airplanes, hotel room, door knobs, remote control, public restrooms, computers, keyboards, baby car seats, toys, etc.

For more information on Bactrokill please visit the Bactronix website.

 

 

What’s New: Two Old Goats Arthritis & Fibromyalgia Lotion

Two-Old-Goats LotionAccording to NHIS (National Health Interview Survey) 52.5 million adults in the United States have been reportedly told by their doctor that they have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or Fibromyalgia.  22.7% of adults have doctor diagnosed arthritis and a staggering 49.7% of adults 65 or older have been diagnosed with arthritis! *

Because there is no known cure for arthritis, you can only hope to lessen the pain through natural remedies (acupuncture, diet, exercise, physical therapy, etc.) and medications (Celebrex and steroid injections).  If you’re looking to supplement a medication, or you are trying to stay all natural, Two Old Goats makes a lotion/creme that is effective for many individuals suffering from mild forms of arthritis and Fibromyalgia.  Made from a goat milk base, the lotion provides a natural moisturizer with a non-greasy feel.  It is infused with a collection of essential oils known for their anti-inflammatory qualities.  Relief is noticed instantly, and daily applications begin to have a cumulative effect!  In addition, Two Old Goats is great for your skin too, contains no dyes or perfumes, and is alcohol free!

If this sounds like something you would like to try, we stock the 2oz ($5.99), 4oz ($9.99) and 8oz ($17.99) bottles at Rolliers.  Stop in today.  Our full selection is available at the housewares service desk.

Want to hear what customers are saying about Two Old Goats’, check out some of these customer testimonials: http://www.twooldgoats.com/page/page/4642422.htm

NOTE: We had some of our employees try the creme that suffer from arthritis and the general consensus is that it is effective for individuals suffering from mild forms of arthritis, but not more debilitating states.

*statistics were compiled from 2010-2012, see: http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis_related_stats.htm

What’s Trending? Charles Viancin Food Covers

Lily-Pad-Charles-ViancinWhether it be a party, or just nightly leftovers, there always seems to be food to put away in the fridge.  You could repack everything in Tupperware containers, but that takes a lot of time, so most of the time people choose to just cover all their leftover bowls and dishes with aluminum foil or saran wrap.  While this works, sometimes aluminum foil and saran wrap just don’t make a good seal.  Rather than fuss with these types of wraps, many people are choosing to use Charles Viancin’s reusable silicon food covers.

The lids from Charles Viancin come in a variety of different sizes, shapes and patterns to cover almost any type of bowl, Pyrex cooking dish, etc.  Not only are these covers easy to use, but they are decorative as well. While these food covers are used for storage, they are also convenient for covering bowls and dishes at outdoor parties to prevent flies and insects from getting into your food!

Charles Viancin’s line goes well beyond just bowl and Pyrex food covers, they also carry a variety of other items including….

  • Silicon Drink Coversindex
  • Wine Bottle Stoppers
  • Drink Coasters
  • Tea Infusers
  • Overboil Rings
  • Pot Holders
  • Cutting Boards
  • Hot Food Grips

Most customers that try a Charles Viancin cover, purchase more of them, which is a testament to their quality and usability.  Stop in to see our full selection in our Housewares department and let us know why you love them!

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Now’s the time to: Apply season-long grub control to your lawn

grub_damage_resizedThere is not much worse than a seeing your lawn quickly damaged by grubs in the fall after all of the hard work spent on your lawn throughout the season.  What makes it worse than anything, is that damage cannot be predicted or foreshadowed.  The white grub larvae are not seen since they live below the soil and munch on your grass roots below the surface level, disconnecting the grass blades from their source of nutrition and killing them at the root!

Grubs may be a problem one year and not the next, so the best way to prevent the headaches of grub damage is to treat your lawn with a preventative.  Preventatives take about 1 month to systemically reach your grass roots and to be present for grubs to feed on.  Because of the late start to spring this year, it is recommended to apply grub control anytime now through Mid-July for the Western PA region.  Please reference the image below to see the 12 month life-cycle of the Japanese beetle (the most popular white grub species in our region).

Preventatives are made in the form of a chemical or an organic spore.  Chemical treatments made by Scotts (Grub-Ex) or Bayer Advanced are broad-based and prevent/kill all common types of white grubs.  Both of these treatments are granular and are applied with a lawn spreader.  Once watered in and allowed to dry, these products are safe for kids and pets to play in the yard.  These products are advertised as “season-long” but typically last only about 4 months, so it is important not to apply them too early in the season for effective control in the fall.

If you prefer an organic option, you will want to consider St. Gabriel’s Milky Spore (available as either a granule or powder).  This spore multiples by the thousands inside the grub and destroys Japanese beetle grubs.  Despite its organic nature, the best thing about the Milky Spore is that it will continue to kill and prevent grubs for up to 10 years, when applied as directed.  It is important to note that Milky Spore is only effective against Japanese beetle grubs.  These are the most popular grubs found in our region, but there are other types of white grubs that can cause significant damage to your lawn (including northern masked chafer grubs, Asiatic garden beetles, European chafer, green June beetles, May and June beetles, and Oriental beetles).

Regardless of the treatment, it is important to apply grub preventative to your entire lawn, since there is no guessing to where the eggs will be laid come fall.  It is not necessary to treat garden areas, however, since grubs only enjoy the soft, tender roots of your grass!  Be proactive and protect your lawn from grub damage with a grub control this spring or early summer.

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What’s Trending? Scare Birds Away from Unwanted Areas

dalen molded owlWhile most of us love their presence in song, birds can be quite the pest here early in the spring.  Spring is mating season for so many birds that have made the trek to more northern climates.  These birds are trying to be noticed and many are trying to build a nest near your porch or in your garden.  If you are looking to deter birds from a particular area, there are products made specifically to deal with that problem. We will discuss some of our more popular products in this article.

Plastic Molded Owls:  Owls are a natural predator of birds and their characteristic body and eyes are recognized by birds, woodpeckers, and even small rodents that are being a nuisance in an area of your yard or garden.  Place these owls in direct view of the problem area and move them around every few days or once a week where possible to keep birds and rodents off guard!

Holographic Scare Tape:  This scare tape is used where birds frequent.  Its reflective qualities creates a moving reflection which frightens and deters birds as they are flying into perch, feed, or nest.  To protect a garden, you will want to twist it from stakes surrounding your garden.  To protect a windowsill or under a deck, you would be best served to cut strips and allow them to dangle in and around the area so that the birds see the reflective tape before flying in to perch or nest.   There are lots of uses with this product, but the important step is to make sure that birds will notice the tape, so be sure that it is visible.  Remember, this solution is often only temporary, so if it doesn’t look so appealing, you don’t have to keep it installed through the whole summer.

Bird Repellent Paste:  If you are battling with birds that want to perch (and/or poop) on ledges, window sills, gutters, or railings you will want to use a bird repellent.  This repellent is available in a squeeze tube and simply applied to the ledge where needed.  The product makes it uncomfortable for birds to perch because of its sticky nature, so they will not hang around.  For porous surfaces, if you do not want to stain the stone, brick, or wood, we recommend that you use a waterproof tape or apply only to a surface after it has been sealed or painted.

What’s Trending? Raised Garden Beds – New Take on Growing Vegetables

raised garden beds - mbraceNow is a great time to plant vegetables and herbs outside, however the heavy clay and acidic soils that we have around Western PA can be harsh to grow abundant gardens.  As a result, raised garden beds and container gardening are becoming more and more popular with homeowners.  Here are some reasons that you should consider a raised garden this year:

Better Soil - Soil in raised garden beds is typically fresher, easier to amend, and less compacted.  As a result, your fruits and vegetables will flourish from a better growing environment.  One where roots can penetrate deep into the soil.  Better soil is particularly advantageous for produce that grows below the ground, such as carrots, potatoes, and onions.

Better Drainage - Drainage is typically improved with raised garden beds because the soils are easier to amend and soil is less clay-like.  Proper drainage is important for vegetables, particularly tomatoes, so that the produce does not experience rot from consistently wet conditions.

pH Neutral Soil - Many vegetable plants can tolerate some acid in the soil, but too much can stunt growth and harm the plants.  Because of acid rain and repeated fertilizer applications in our typical lawns, if you were to reuse that dirt in a vegetable garden, you will likely be reusing acidic soil.  Start with better soil and maintain it with applications of limestone and you will be all set!

Less Weeds - Because of the physical barrier that a raised garden bed creates, weeds will be less prone to spreading and sprouting in your garden.

Warmer Soil Early in the Growing Season - Above ground raised garden beds will warm up faster each spring and provide optimal ground temperatures for your fruits and vegetables earlier than planting directly in the ground.  As a result, you can plant earlier and start seeing the fruits of your labor sooner!

Raised garden beds are gaining popularity and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  You can make your own from lumber and elbow brackets or you can consider some of our simple do-it yourself situations, such as the M-Brace customizable garden bed brackets or Gronomics modular 48″ x 48″ cedar garden kit (which sells for $99.99 in-store).

Experience all of the benefits of raised garden beds but keep them out of the reach from deer, rabbits, and groundhogs easier with container gardening.  The EarthBox is a great way to grow vegetables anywhere, which makes them particularly beneficial for those with apartments/condos or for those who would like a garden on their deck or patio!