Category Archives: Pest Control

Fight the Bite this Summer

Fight the Bite

There’s a lot to love about an Arizonan summer (June through September) – despite scorching hot weather – including trips to the lake, tubing down the Salt River, and exploring the cooler parts of the state. Oh, and let’s not forget, swimming. However, bothersome biting insects, like mosquitoes are certainly not one of them.

Unfortunately, valley residents can expect an increase in relentless, flying bugs due in large part to Arizona’s surprisingly wet winter and spring. Pesky mosquitoes can quickly ruin a nice summer’s day if you don’t take the necessary precautions to fight the bite. Here are some effective ways to fight the bite this summer.

Eliminate All Sources of Standing Water

Adult, female mosquitoes use sources of standing water as their breeding grounds and can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A half-inch of water, roughly the size of a bottle cap, is an attractive environment for mosquitoes. Devoid of water, these pesky bugs cannot breed or survive, so one of the most effective ways to fight the bite this summer is to ensure your landscaping (front and back) is free of any items that may catch water.

The CDC recommends emptying, scrubbing, and turning over all items that collect water at least once a week. You’ll also need to be diligent about putting away larger outdoor gear after each use as well. If you have a swimming pool or backyard pond, it’s imperative to stay on top of maintenance, skimming the surface and checking chemistry levels daily to keep mosquitoes at bay. Another good idea is to trim back any vegetation that may be growing out of control.

Use Bug-Repellent Candles & Torches

Candles and tiki torches containing citronella, a naturally occurring oil that is distilled from two grass varieties, works by masking scents that are attractive to insects. While they are a great way to add ambiance and keep mosquitoes at bay, they’re only designed to repel bugs in the immediate vicinity. Always read product labels to determine area coverage. Switching to bug-resistant light bulbs can also help reduce the amount of flying insects in your yard.

Add Mosquito Repellent Plants

Not only do they look pretty but some plants and herbs release natural fragrances, though they may need to be roughed up a bit, that repel mosquitoes and other pesky insects. Among the most effective plants are: catnip, citronella, lavender, lemon balm, basil, and marigolds. Place plants and herbs in pots or garden beds near mosquito entry points, such as doors and windows, as well as on your patio.

Install Outdoor Fans

Outdoor ceiling fans are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors. Fans are effective at repelling mosquitoes by making it more difficult for insects to fly against the draft. Independent testing conducted by Consumer Reports found that outdoor fans reduced mosquito landings by 45 to 65 percent. Fans also disperse scents that bugs use to target you. Another advantage to using fans is that they are an excellent option for keeping you and, if entertaining, your guests comfortable on hot summer days.

Apply Repellents

Applying lotion or spray mosquito repellent is an excellent way to fight the bite this summer. Consumer Reports compiled a list of the best insect repellents for you and your family. They found that products made with the active ingredient deet, in concentrations of 25 to 30 percent, consistently provided powerful protection against biting bugs. Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent VIII was one of their top contenders.

Elite Landscaping and Sprinkler Repair has been servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the greater Phoenix metro area since 1982. Our mission is simple: To provide a high level of professional landscaping service to ensure complete customer satisfaction. As a full-service landscaping company, we provide landscape and sprinkler design, installation and repair. To learn more about these and other services, contact us today at (602) 390-4645.

Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

front yard landscaping

You can easily incorporate any one of the following ideas into your front yard landscaping to make it as functional as possible. These ideas will also greatly enhance your property’s curb appeal, increasing its value.

Outdoor Walkways

Instead of risking having your grass or flowers trampled, create an inviting entrance with a walkway using natural stone, stamped concrete or decorative brick. When designing your walkway, choose materials that will complement your home’s architectural style and features. For example, if your house is brick, a paved walkway using traditional brick or cobblestone with a brick border is a good choice. Note that a poured surface or paved surface will be much more slip resistant than gravel or pebble.

Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting can create safe pathways, gorgeous views, and stunning focal points in your front yard. It can also deter intruders. Landscape lighting is available in a wide variety of LED and halogen fixtures. There are pros and cons for both, and it’s important to learn these so that you can make the best, most cost-effective decision. Talk to your landscape professional about the benefits of landscape lighting when designing your front yard landscaping.

Garden Beds

Garden beds full of colorful trees, flowering shrubs, and annuals or perennials are popular additions to both front and backyard landscapes. There are three kinds of garden beds you should be aware of; island beds, raised beds, and border beds. As with landscape lighting, each type of garden bed has its own share of pros and cons that again, should be discussed with your landscape professional.

Native Plants

Bring the beauty of Arizona into your front yard landscaping design by gardening with native plants. Once established, many native plants require minimal water, fertilizer and maintenance time. Native plants grow best under natural conditions. Beneficial insects, such as butterflies, hummingbirds and bees also prefer native plants. As do native birds. These insects and birds will help keep your landscape free of mosquitoes and plant-eating insects.

Mosquito Proof Your Property

mosquito If you’re like most, you probably don’t give much thought to mosquitos – until you get a red, itchy welt on your skin, which is a sure sign of a mosquito bite.


Contrary to popular belief, mosquitos don’t wait for hottest days of summer, but start biting when temperatures reach a consistent 50 degrees. In Arizona – and much of the Southwest – this translates to early March.

Use these tips to mosquito proof your property.

Why Should You Be Concerned?

Some species of mosquitoes can transmit diseases to both animals and people. Examples of potentially life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases include West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika Virus, Yellow Fever, and Malaria. Mosquitoes can also expose our four-legged friends to heartworm. For more information on mosquito-borne diseases, visit the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Mosquito Proof Your Property

Eliminate Breeding Sites – Rid your yard of anything that could hold standing water. Mosquitoes require only a small amount of water for depositing their eggs, so don’t overlook any potential water collection vessel. Pet dishes, wading pools, potted plant saucers, rock depressions, water cans, buckets, and wheelbarrows are just a few examples of places where water can stand.

Clean Clogged Gutters – Commonly overlooked, gutters clogged with leaves and other debris can cause water to build-up, potentially causing more problems than just mosquitoes and other pests. Keeping your gutters clean should be at the top of your to-do list each fall and spring. Using a good extendable ladder and plastic shovel, scoop out the gunk, followed by flushing the gutters with a garden hose.

Trim Vegetation – It is believed that mosquitoes stay within proximity of their breeding ground, usually not straying more than 200 feet from where they were hatched. This, along with the fact that mosquitoes feast on plant nectar, make tall grasses and overgrown shrubs a perfect habitat. If you’ve left your trees and other plants do their own thing, trimming them will help alleviate pest problems, as well as add curb appeal.

Keep Your Swimming Pool Clean – Mosquitoes generally steer clear from well-maintained backyard swimming pools. However, if you fail to keep it clean or don’t use its pump for an extended period, they’ll likely be drawn to the dirty/stagnant water. If you use a pool cover during the winter, it can collect water that as mentioned above, will draw them in.

Setup Mosquito Magnets –  Mosquito traps or magnets disrupt their breeding cycle, helping you win the ongoing battle with these swarming, bloodthirsty pests. Magnets rely on the power of attraction to lure and kill mosquitoes allowing you to see a dramatic reduction in the mosquito population on your property. You can find mosquito magnets online or at most home improvement stores.

How to Repair Bare Spots in Your Lawn

bare spots in your lawn

Do you dream of having a lush looking lawn? Are  you plagued by unsightly bare, bald, thin or patchy spots? Whatever you want to call those unsightly spots within your lawn, there is hope for treating them, and restoring your lawn to its once lush glory.  Read on for more information on how to repair bare spots in your lawn. If you have any questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact Elite Landscaping.

Bare spots in your lawn could result from heavy foot traffic, drought, disease, chemical burn, weed or insect infestations, dogs doing their daily business, or any combination of these conditions. Before you can repair bare spots in your lawn, it is imperative that you determine the root cause of the problem, as this will help prevent it from reoccurring and destroying your perfectly manicured yard.

Determining the Root Cause of the Problem

If heavy foot traffic is the cause of the bare spots in your lawn, look for ways to minimize the amount of traffic those areas receive. Some great methods for controlling foot traffic include installing stepping stones, a gravel pathway, or a barrier that works to reroute traffic and protect your lawn – all of which are relatively inexpensive to incorporate into your landscaping.

If you’re dealing with a insect or weed infestation, or a combination of the two, it’s best to determine the specific cause of the infestation(s) prior to remedying the problem. Once applied, most treatments will require some time to work, before you can grow new grass. Always follow manufacturer recommendations when using any kind of treatment to avoid adverse effects.

Ready, Set, Repair

Once you have addressed the specific cause or causes of the bare spots in your lawn, it’s time to repair the damage, which is easier to do than you’d think. Your best bet is to replant the grass using seed, fertilizer, and mulch. Depending on availability, you can also use sod, as long as you keep it moist. The next six steps will walk you through the process of replanting.

Step #1: Break up the dirt using various garden tools.

Step #2: Add top soil if your dirt is mostly clay (common in Arizona).

Step #3: Choose the right type of grass seed depending on shade density and spread onto to the dirt patch using a seed spreader or your hands.

Step #4: Add fertilizer separately. You can also purchase all-in-one lawn patches which combine grass seed, fertilizer, and mulch.

Step #5: Spread the mulch material of your choice on the affected areas after planting the grass seed and applying the fertilizer to help keep it moist and prevent the birds from eating your seeds.

Step #6: Water right away and frequently. You should water the affected areas up to three times per day for 7 to 10 days following seeds’ application. Once the grass has started growing, you can water once per day.

*Note: Late spring is the best time to repair bare spots in warm season grasses, whereas, early fall is the best time to repair bare spots in cool season grasses. If you don’t know what type of grass you have, or you have any questions you’d like answered, please feel free to contact a professional landscaper.*

How to Keep Bugs at Bay While Outdoors


Summer is such a wonderful time. Except when swarming flies and mosquitoes are threatening to ruin your cookout. Fight back and avoid getting bitten simply by following some natural (no need for harmful bug repellents) steps as found below.

Ban Standing Water

Standing water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Kiddie pools, planter trays, mop buckets, bird baths and backyard ponds are just some of the places where water gathers. When you can’t remove the water, do one of two things: 1) Place some window screen over the top of the container or 2) install a pump that gently agitates the water.

Move and Remove Attractants

One of the easiest methods you can use to cut back on the number of bugs in your yard is to relocate your trash and recycling bins as far away from your prime entertaining areas as possible. You should also ensure the lids fit snugly. Flies love garbage and ants love sugary residues found in both types of receptacles.

Keep Food Covered

While backyard barbeques and picnics under the sun are favorite summer pastimes – you should do your best to keep food covered at all times. Unless, of course, you want uninvited guests enjoying your meal. You can find metal or nylon “food tents” and silicone lids at your local grocer or retailer for reasonable prices. Paper towels work too.

Keep Your Landscaping Tidy

Overgrown bushes, lawns, and trees provide great hiding spots for a slew of insects. Keep your landscaping looking sharp by trimming back tall grass, brush, and weeds regularly. Trees and bushes should be trimmed as well. Don’t have the time to devote to keeping your landscaping tidy? You may want to consider hiring a professional landscaper.

Make Some New Friends

Make some new friends – feathered friends that is. Inviting feathered friends into your yard can make for fun window watching as well as effective pest control. Most birds survive off a diet of berries, seeds, and insects. Install a birdbath or fountain and a bird feeder to encourage your new friends to make themselves at home.