Author Archive for Developer


Crabgrass sprouts, blooms, produces seeds and dies all in one season.  The problem is it drops so many seeds during the season, that more crabgrass will grow from the reserves it leaves in the soil.  The seeds can lay dormant for several years before germinating.

crabgrass2                                        crabgrass4

Applying a pre-emergent does not guarantee a crabgrass-free lawn, but it will help reduce it.  Aerating and over-seeding yearly will help fill in sparce areas.  A thick lawn not only eliminates areas for the crabgrass to grow, it also shades the soil, reducing the number of seedlings that are able to establish.

Even pre-emergent is more effective in a lawn with good density.  If your lawn is thin going into the summer, you can expect to have crabgrass, even with a pre-emergent application in the spring.

Did you know that:

  • Crabgrass is an annual weed, but a perennial problem because of its seeds.
  • Crabgrass starts to germinate when soil temperatures hit about 55 degrees.
  • It continues to grow and produce seeds all year.
  • Each crabgrass plant can produce more than 150,000 seeds during a season.
  • Crabgrass thrives in full sunlight and high temperatures.
  • It has very low nutrient requirements and can grow basically anywhere.
  • The best defense against weed invasion is a dense, healthy turf.

Really want to reduce the crabgrass in your lawn? 

Call Sterling Insect and Lawn Control to schedule aerating and over-seeding. (207) 767-5555




Clover Mites

Clover mites are part of the arachnid family (along with spiders and ticks).  They feed on lawn grasses, clover, and a large variety of plants.

                              clover mite6

Did you know that:

  • A full grown clover mite is smaller than the head of a pin.
  • They are reddish to reddish-brown in color.
  • They pierce the plant and suck out the sap.
  • Feeding damage appears as a silvery streak (referred to as stippling) on the leaf.

clover mite damage

  • Clover mites do not carry diseases.
  • They seek indoor shelter during cold months.
  • They are often described as “walking dust specks”.
  • They leave a red stain when crushed.
  • They are most active in temperatures between 45 and 65 degrees.
  • Clover mite damage is commonly mistaken for winter kill.
  • Clover mites can reproduce without mating.
  • They lay bright red eggs.
  • They lay their eggs in sheltered places such as…
    • In cracks and crevices of buildings
    • Under loose tree bark
    • In foundation walls
    • Beneath siding
    • Around window frames

The feature that distinguishes the clover mite from a spider mite is their unusually large front pair of legs.  On the clover mite, this set of legs is as long as their body.

Clover mites aren’t harmful to humans, pets or the home.  They invade in large numbers, which makes them a nuisance.

Infestations are most severe where grass, weeds, shrubbery or other plants are allowed to grow adjacent to buildings.  Clover mites are also drawn to the sun exposed sides of buildings.

Damage tends to occur within 10 feet of a building, tree or other vertical object.  Clover mites climb vertical surfaces to molt and to lay eggs.

guarantee_goldCall Sterling Insect / Lawn Control (207) 767-5555


In the 40’s and 50’s clover was a common component of lawn seed mixes.  As a result, it is one of the most common weeds today.


Did you know that:

  • Clover can be a perennial or an annual weed, depending on the species.
  • There are many varieties of clover.
  • White and red are the 2 major varieties.
  • Its flowers attract bees and other insects.
  • Clover is a shallow rooted weed with creeping stems and roots at the nodes.
  • It reproduces by seeds and by creeping stolons.
  • Clover does not do well in acidic soil.
  • It can be an indication that the soil is lacking in nitrogen.
  • It can tolerate a wide variety of soil conditions.
  • It is capable of fixing its own nitrogen, which enables it to thrive in unfertilized areas.


Clover grows well in..

  • Temperatures of 50-85 degrees
  • Nitrogen depleted soil
  • In moist areas

red clover

Below are some cultural ways to control clover:

  • The primary control against clover is to make the lawn healthier to out-compete the clover.
  • Let the grass grow taller – clover dies out in shade.
  • Increase nitrogen and decrease phosphorous.
  • Aerate and over-seed for proper drainage and to thicken the turf.


Don’t be run over with clover…

Call Sterling Insect & Lawn Control (207) 767-5555





Chinch Bug

Chinch bugs like sunlight, so their damage is usually apparent in sunny areas of the lawn.  They suck the chlorophyll out of the grass, causing it to yellow and die.

chinch4                        chinch damage2


Did you know that:

  • Adult chinch bugs are about 1/8 – 1/5 of an inch in length.
  • An adult female can deposit 15-20 eggs per day, over a 2-3 week period.
  • She likes to deposit her eggs close to where the plant contacts the soil.
  • The nymphs mature in five stages over a period of about 90 days.
  • Chinch bugs like open, sunny areas.
  • They have piercing-sucking mouth parts used to suck out plant juices.
  • Thatch provides a prime habitat for chinch bugs to feed and lay their eggs.
  • Power de-thatching is a good idea to eliminate excess thatch.

The mouth parts of the chinch bug inject chemicals into the grass plant which clog the vascular system.  This is done while the chinch bugs suck the juices out of the plant.  The area around this puncture will yellow.  Destruction in the lawn will appear as yellow heat stressed spots in the yard.  These spots will enlarge as the chinch bug population increases and spreads.

Chinch bugs damaging your lawn?  Call Sterling Insect & Lawn Control today @ (207)767-5555.



Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants can enter homes around door and window frames, eaves, vents, plumbing and utility lines, and shrub or tree branches that make contact with the house.  Once inside the home they can cause devastating damage.

wingless               winged

Did you know that:

  • Carpenter ants range in size from 1/4″ to 1/2″, often the queen is even larger.
  • They are mainly dark brown or black, but may have some slight red coloring.
  • They prefer moist, wet or decaying wood, but will nest in dry wood as well.
  • They don’t actually eat wood, but hollow out galleries to nest in.
  • Damage increases as they expand their living areas, hollowing further and further.
  • Colonies can be long lived and contain thousands of ants.
  • Winged ants are call “swarmers” and are the reproductive ants.
  • The Queen’s duty is mainly to lay eggs.
  • Males are few and short lived.
  • Workers do the foraging, caring for the queen & brood, and excavating galleries.




Signs of carpenter ant infestation can include…

  • “Frass – the sawdust like shavings which contain wood, soil and insect body parts, expelled from ant galleries.
  • Small openings in wood, used to eliminate unwanted material from the nest.
  • Rustling sounds coming from the wall as ants remove wood from their expanding nest.


Take action today and make sure these pesky little critters CAN’T move in!

Sterling Insect & Lawn Control can help keep the ants from destroying your valuable investment.

Call (207) 767-555 today to get started!



Brown Patch

Brown patch starts as a small, circular spot which quickly spreads outwards.  The circles can range in size from a couple of inches to a couple of feet.  It begins as yellow and continues to darken as the turf dies.  Many times, as the fungus grows outward, the inside of the circle will start to recover.  This gives the appearance of a “smoke ring”, a characteristic of brown patch (although not always present).

brown patch5                                      brown patch leaf

Did you know that:

  • Brown patch is one of the most common fungal diseases in a lawn.
  • It is most prominent in the summer, when heat and humidity are high.
  • The fungus grows when conditions are wet and humid.
  • Excessive nitrogen also encourages the problem.
  • The fungus destroys the tissue at the base of the leaf, not the root or crown.
  • It can lie dormant in the soil for years without affecting the grass.
  • Affected grass will show leaf tip browning and leaf lesions.

Below are some cultural ways to control brown patch:

  • Water early in the morning to allow excess moisture to evaporate.
  • Aerate to ensure good drainage and avoid compaction.
  • Control thatch with regular de-thatching and/or aerating.
  • Avoid fast-release nitrogen fertilizers.
  • Cut back surrounding bushes to allow more sunlight to the area.

Do you have a problem with lawn fungus?

Call Sterling Insect / Lawn Control @ (207) 767-5555.



Aeration is a process where “plugs” are pulled out of the ground.  This helps to reduce soil compaction, allowing water, air, fertilizer and nutrients to penetrate into the soil.  This allows the grass root system to feed and thicken.  A thick turf leaves far less room for weeds and insects to inhabit.



Aeration and over-seeding together

are the best way to fend off weeds.




Over-seeding is highly recommended when aerating.  Placing new seed down to germinate will thicken your turf.  Weeds can’t take up residence in a spot that is already taken!  Put down the seeds, so there’s no room for weeds!

In fact, we actually put down double the recommended rate of seed.  We want your soil to be rich in grass so there will be less room for those unsightly weeds.



Power De-thatching

A light layer of thatch (less than 1/2 inch) can be beneficial to your lawn, protecting the soil from changing temperatures.

Too much thatch (1/2 inch or more) laying on top of the soil, prevents water and nutrients from getting through to the roots of the lawn.  It also gives insects a great place to hide.

Both insects and lack of nutrients can destroy a healthy lawn.

We not only use a Power De-thatcher, but we clean up with a de-thatching vacuum and haul off the debris.  Again, we recommend over-seeding with this process.  It is extremely beneficial to put down seed to take root in the bare areas as a result of removing the thatch.  Don’t give weeds the opportunity to move in.


Sterling Is The Solution to a thicker, healthier lawn.  Call today to schedule the best solution for fending off weeds!  (207)767-5555