Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Outdoor Spaces

Spring has officially sprung!  While it feels great to shed those winter blankets, turn the thermostat to A/C instead of heat, and put those boots into long-term storage, spring brings a few chores with it as well. If you’ve owned a home for a while, you probably have a spring cleaning routine to spruce up the interior. But it takes extra motivation to tackle the outdoor spaces too.  Here are some tips for taking that spring cleaning outside to make sure you reach every nook and cranny.

Squeaky Clean Windows

Harsh winter storms and salt from the roads can leave behind dirty windows in the spring. When it comes time to clean them, the main thing to remember is to clean the outside first, then the inside. Just cleaning the inside of your windows won’t make much of a difference to people on either side of the glass!  You can find window cleaner at any home goods store, but a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water makes a great natural window cleaner. When you get outside, make sure to work in the shade to keep the cleaner from drying out too quickly. But it’s not just the glass that needs a cleaning – the screens need attention too!  You can clean screens with a gentle hosing or soap and water.  If they need more TLC, leave them to soak in a kiddie pool filled with soapy water while you do other cleaning.  Quick tip: Try crumpled up newspaper, instead of paper towels, to clean and dry your windows.

Gunk-Free Gutters

Perhaps the least desirable springtime chore, clearing out the gutters, is a must-do for homeowners. De-cluttering gutters of leaves, twigs, and debris will prevent flooding and roof damage while increasing the longevity of your home. There are gutter-cleaning services and contraptions to make the task slightly easier. However, most homeowners will take the low-cost route and do it by hand. You’ll need a pair of gloves to protect against sharp and dirty debris along with a large container nearby to dump all the junk. Be sure your ladder is stable before climbing too high, and if possible, ask someone to steady the ladder for you while you clean.  Quick tip: Create your own gutter scoop by cutting the top off of a narrow container like a soda bottle or anti-freeze jug.

Give Your House a Bath

After months of snow, salt, and dirt, your house might look a little dark and dingy. The extent to which you can clean your house depends on the siding, but the easiest and fastest way is to go over everything with a pressure washer. This includes siding, fences, and decks.  If your garage door is looking a little dingy, put some dish soap in a water bucket, wipe the door down, and then rinse off with the pressure washer. If you’re really feeling ambitious, a new coat of paint will freshen things up even more.  Quick tip: If there is a spot giving you particular trouble, add detergent to the reservoir on the pressure washer machine to get the job done faster. Be sure to use a cleaner that is made for pressure washers and intended for the type of surface you’re cleaning.

Ready Your Outdoor Entertainment Area

One of the best parts about summer is the time you get to spend outside with your friends and family. If you entertain often, getting your outdoor space ready is just another item to add to your spring cleaning checklist.  Use a hose to spray off any durable patio furniture or a pressure washer if possible. Put seat cushions or fabric in the washing machine while you work.  For more delicate furniture, you may need to get out the old wash rag and scrub by hand. Afterwards, sweep loose debris off the deck and power wash that too if the surface allows. Last but not least, get the grill ready by burning off any excess gunk from last year, scrub the grates and sides, and clean out the burners.  Quick tip: Prolong the life of your patio furniture by laying down a towel to avoid contact with lotion or sunscreen.  Cover the furniture when not in use or bring cushions inside.  Covering or wrapping cushions in plastic invites mildew.  Instead use canvas or tarp.

Bugs Be Gone

Unfortunately, you aren’t the only one who enjoys being outside this time of year.  Mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks are only some of the pests who might try to crash your summertime fun.  It always puts a damper on the evening when guests are swatting through the air and go home with dozens of bug bites.  That’s where Mosquito Joe can help!  Check out our locations page to find a Mosquito Joe near you, and give them a call to find out how they can help make outside fun again.

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5 Tips for Coping with Daylight Savings Time

In 1964, The Rolling Stones sang “Time is on my side, yes it is, time is on my side.” This is a rather appropriate song to have stuck in your head this week as it’s time to turn those clocks back one hour this Saturday night. November 5, 2016 marks Daylight Savings Time, and while that means one more hour of sleep, it also means that winter is on the way. Because change is difficult for some people (even the smallest of changes), here are some ideas for dealing with “falling back” in time!

  • Wake up at a normal time on Sunday. It’s tempting to take advantage of the extra hour and catch up on sleep, but doing so can actually cause you to oversleep and throw off your sleep schedule for days (like jetlag but without the travel). Instead, wake up at your normal hour and go for a walk or make a nice cup of coffee to get the day going.
  • Try to avoid naps, especially longer than 30 minutes. Similarly to jetlag, the best way to get over the drowsy tired feeling is to get back on your regular sleep routine as quickly as possible. Long naps during the day will make it more difficult to sleep at night, further preventing you from overcoming the time change.
  • Take advantage of the sunshine (if you can). It’s common to feel groggy or out of sorts for the first few days after setting the clocks back. Getting outside in the sunshine can help boost your mood, reorient your body’s clock, and get November off to a better start.
  • Get some exercise! A walk, bike ride, or jog can help shake that lethargic feeling. It can also help you catch some rays and spend time with family/friends before you kick off the week.
  • If you have kids, try to use this week to gradually adjust the schedule back by small increments (10-15 minutes) rather than just taking the large hour jump back on Sunday. Then, keep your kids to the same schedule as usual so that transitioning back into the school week isn’t such a drag.

If you do take this opportunity to spend some extra time outdoors, remember to call your local Mosquito Joe to make your yard a mosquito-free space. Mosquitoes can breed and thrive until temperatures are consistently below 55 degrees fahrenheit, which is weeks away for many parts of the country! And letting mosquitoes breed and then lay eggs to hibernate throughout the winter will make the springtime an itchy nightmare. Contact your local Mosquito Joe for a free quote and information about our services.

Don’t forget to set the clocks back one hour this Saturday!

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Last Minute DIY Halloween Costume Ideas

Here in Virginia Beach, the weather is perfect for pumpkin picking and trick-or-treating which is only a few days away! Oops, did you forget that Halloween is next week? While some people have costumes prepared months in advance, others may be scrambling for things to wear to Halloween parties and trick-or-treating this weekend. And your kid’s decision to be Batman three months ago may have changed a dozen times between then and now, leaving you with some creative sewing to do!

Well, no need to fear, Mosquito Joe is here to help with some last-minute, do-it-yourself costume ideas for everybody! Whether you’re looking for a solo costume, something to wear as a group, or something for the little ones, these costumes are sure to catch some attention for their creativity and simplicity.

Halloween Costume Ideas for Couples/Groups

  • Google Maps – Never get lost again with this hilarious costume that lets you and a partner be point A and point B on a Google Maps route. All you need are cardboard and markers for the headpiece and some yellow duct tape, a printer, and tape to create the street view on your shirt.DIY Halloween Costume
  • Fruit of the Loom – I give full credit for this costume idea to my parents who wore it to a Halloween party a few years ago. The essence of this costume for all members includes balloons, tights, a hat, and gloves of the same color. Apply the balloons to each person with some tape, and you’re on your way!
  • Three blind mice – Perhaps the most famous of nursery rhyme trios, the Three Blind Mice make for a simple and hilarious Halloween costume. Grey long-sleeved shirts and leggings, walking canes, sunglasses, and mouse ears are all you need to complete this look.

Halloween Costume Ideas for Singles

  • Brawny man – It couldn’t get much easier than this costume that only requires a red and black flannel shirt, jeans, work boots, and a roll of paper towels (still in the wrapper).
  • Operation game man – People love Halloween costumes that play on fun childhood memories. And what better way to play on them than to become the subject of a great (and very annoying) board game from the ’60s – Operation! You’ll need a nude colored shirt and leggings, red and white construction paper, and some tongs. The great thing about this is no buzzing sound!
  • Bags of jelly beans – Use sharpies on a clear plastic bag to draw a jelly bean picture or logo of your choosing. Then wrap yourself in the bag, cut out head, arm, and leg holes just big enough to fit through, and fill the bag with colored balloons!

Halloween Costume Ideas For Kids

  • DIY Halloween CostumeBoxes of candy – You are what you eat, right? So why not transform the kids into their favorite candy for the night? Find a cardboard box large enough to comfortably fit your child, and color the outside according to whichever candy wrapper you’d like. Then cut head and arm holes into the box, and you’re done! A matching pair of tights and gloves adds a nice finishing touch.
  • Stick figure – A white shirt and pants, black electrical tape, a piece of paper, string, and a marker are all you need for this one. Draw a simple stick figure face on the paper, cut it out in a circle, and tie it around the head to cover the face. Then place electrical tape on the shirt and pants to create a stick figure image. It’s best to do the last step while your child is wearing the outfit so everything lines up accordingly.
  • Carl from “Up” – This costume idea is a real crowd pleaser as Up is one of the most beloved Pixar movies ever made. A brown sweater, white shirt, red bow tie, brown pants, and square glasses will be needed to make the outfit. You can make a small walker by using pvc pipe and placing tennis balls on the end. To complete the look, tie a few colored balloons around your child’s waist. Don’t worry, they won’t float away!

We could go on and on about creative Halloween costume ideas to fulfill your last minute needs. If you’re still stuck, you can even ask Siri! That’s right, the new iPhone update will provide DIY costume ideas when you ask Siri what you should be for Halloween. My personal favorite: dress in all black, and stand in front of people all night. You’ll be an eclipse.

Happy Halloween from your friends at Mosquito Joe! We’d love to hear about your costume ideas, so don’t forget to comment here and post on our Facebook page. And if you are still in need of mosquito control services this year, call your local Mosquito Joe for service. Many of our southern locations will continue to operate for weeks to come!

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5 Tips for Pet Wellness This Fall

The changing of leaves, pumpkins, and Halloween costumes may be the first thing you think of when the calendar shows October has arrived. But did you know it is also National Pet Wellness Month? That’s right, there’s a whole month dedicated to the well-being of our beloved pets, and for good reason. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with keeping a pet happy and healthy, and we’ve got five tips for you to follow this month to make sure you’re on the path to more wagging and purring and less barking and hissing.

5 Tips for Pet Wellness

  1. Annual Wellness Exam with your Veterinarian. This one might seem like a no-brainer, but taking your pet for regular checkups with your vet is extremely important. Our dogs and cats can’t tell us when they are sick, so it’s up to us owners to schedule regular checkups. Preventative care is vital to the health of your pets.
  2. Pet vaccines. While at the vet, discuss your pet’s vaccines. They can effectively prevent potentially serious canine diseases like distemper, rabies, and hepatitis.
  3. Oral Hygiene. Oral hygiene is an often-overlooked but important factor in your dog’s overall health. Just like humans, dental hygiene should be a part of routine and yearly care for your pet. It doesn’t have to be too tricky at home either. A good long chew can help scrape away plaque and dirt, and most dogs are happy to comply. Natural choices include rawhide or a knucklebone. Knucklebones are a softer bone that’s gentler on the teeth. To brush your pet’s teeth, make sure you purchase a special toothpaste that can be swallowed by dogs and cats. Human toothpaste is harmful! You can however use a human toothbrush, just make sure the bristles are soft.
  4. Exercise. Exercise your pet on a daily basis! Different breeds of dogs require different levels of exercise, so make sure you know how much activity your pet needs. Of course, our feline friends sleep 23 hours a day, so good luck there! You can also exercise their little brains with fun activities like the Muffin Tin Puzzle. It’s an easy activity you probably already have most of the supplies for!
  5. Check for fleas and ticks. Fleas and ticks can cause serious problems for your pets. Ticks can cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease while fleas can cause anemia and the annoying side effect of itching. Mosquitoes cause problems for pets as well as they can transmit heartworms. The good news is that heartworms, fleas and ticks are all preventable with medication your veterinarian can recommend. As an added layer of defense, Mosquito Joe services can help protect your pets, too with a barrier against mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.

A healthy pet is a happy pet, so make sure you have a good relationship with your vet, stay vaccinated, and go for more walks! Even though it’s officially fall, outdoor pests are still very active until temperatures stay consistently below 55 degrees.  Getting a Mosquito Joe spray now will allow you to enjoy your outdoor space for a little bit longer while keeping your pets safe from harm.  Contact your local Mosquito Joe office for more information, so we can help you make outside fun again!

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Let Us Do the Work This Labor Day

It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to a close and back-to-school supplies have replaced barbecue paraphernalia in the grocery stores. But before you put away the grills and cover the adirondack chairs, there is one last long weekend to soak up the sunshine before you have to think about early morning bus stops and packed lunches.

Labor Day can be bittersweet; it wraps up a time of relaxation and leisure while also giving us an extra day off and time spent with loved ones (hopefully outside)! So today, we’re going to focus on the sweet – how to make the most out of outdoor plans this holiday. If you’re hosting a get together at your house this weekend, keeping guests entertained can be stressful, especially the little ones! Here are some unique ideas for backyard activities to give everyone lasting memories long into the new school year.

  • Sand Jar Art – What’s backyard bash without some arts and crafts? All you need for this activity is salt, sidewalk chalk of various colors, containers or jars of your choice, paper plates, and construction paper. This craft will keep the kids busy and give them beautiful artwork to take home that reminds them of summer. Follow the link in the title for specific instructions.
  • Lawn Twister – A new twist on an old favorite, all this lawn game requires is some spray paint and circular stencil. Simply paint the Twister circles onto the grass and play away! The paint should wash away easily with the rain or hose.Outdoor Pictionary
  • Bean Bag Ladder Toss – Label each rung of the ladder with points on a large index card in descending order. Then have players throw bean bags between the rungs for highest possible scores. Easy setup!
  • Frozen T-Shirt Race – This is a fun (and fast) way to cool off if Labor Day weekend ends up being a scorcher. Grab a bunch of t-shirts, soak them in water, and ring them out. Place wax paper between each shirt and freeze overnight. Make a game out of it by passing out the t-shirts and seeing who can unfold and put it on the fastest.
  • Outdoor Pictionary – Another new take on an old favorite, outdoor pictionary let’s families bring this classic game outdoors to enjoy on a bigger scale. You can either buy a large chalkboard to use in the backyard or build one of your own.

There are hundreds of ideas out there for backyard games and activities that the entire family can enjoy. Check out our Labor Day blog from last year for even more ideas! To ensure that your Labor Day celebration goes off without a hitch, call your local Mosquito Joe for mosquito control services. There is no bigger distraction at an outdoor party than the constant swatting that mosquitoes bring. Mosquito Joe’s barrier spray services will help your guests stay focused on winning the games rather than itching. We’ve got room on the schedule, so make sure you call now and ensure you’re a stop for the infamous yellow van!

From all of us here at Mosquito Joe, we wish you a happy Labor Day! Be sure to let us know your own ideas for backyard games and ways to spice up a summer barbecue.

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