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Prevent Pests from Wintering in Your Home

Looking forward to the winter months when pests may hibernate or find a warmer place to live? Unfortunately, a warmer place to live could include inside your home. Read on to learn how you can prepare to maintain rodent control in Austin and deter other pests over the winter months.

Start Outside

You may think that keeping pests out of your home involves preparing your home on the inside, but focusing your attention on the outside of your home may actually be the best method of prevention.

Eliminate comfortable, inviting habitats for pests to discourage them from settling near your home. For example, many insects seek out moist, dark places that contain a food source. Keep areas around the home dry, well-lit and free of food sources in order to keep pests away. Insects typically eat leaves, fruit and other insects.

Trash piles and garbage cans attract pests, so keep trash cans as far … Read Full Post »

Are Bugs Interrupting Your Time on the Playing Field?

Spending time outdoors playing sports can be a great way to stay in shape and have fun with friends and colleagues, but pests on the playing field can distract players and take away from the enjoyment of the game. Read on to find out more about the pests that can ruin an outdoor sports game.


Mosquitoes interrupt a game by buzzing around players, but the distraction may last into other games if a bite ends up causing significant itching. Repellents can help deter mosquitoes, and players should remember to take precautions because of the possibility of these pests spreading diseases such as West Nile.

Stinging Bugs

Insects that can sting are typically the most disruptive to a sports game. Players may be nervous about the possibility of being stung, and attention is shifted from playing the game to avoiding the insect in question.

Flies and Gnats

Flies are attracted to people because they like to … Read Full Post »

Houston is a Prime Target for Solar Power

During the summer, Houston can hit triple-digit temperatures. Homeowners spend hundreds each month cranking up their air conditioners. Instead of purchasing electricity from the power company, homeowners can eliminate their utility bills by switching to solar power and upgrading their homes with energy-efficient upgrades.

Cheaper Prices and Bigger Savings

Manufacturing costs associated with solar panels are dropping fast, and homeowners are reaping the rewards. Adjusted for inflation, solar panels in 1989 cost $8.78 per watt in 2010 dollars, but the average price per solar panel in 2010 dropped to just $2.79, its lowest price ever. In that same period, photovoltaic panel shipments increased 100-fold.

Photovoltaic technologies offer a reliable and future-proof energy source compared to fossil fuels. Since 2002, coal has nearly doubled in price, while petroleum costs five times as much. If current trends continue, solar panels will cost about $1.00 per watt by the decade’s end, but coal and oil will … Read Full Post »

How to Handle Mystery Bugs

Several mysterious insects can be found in Houston. Many unfamiliar bugs are harmless, but they can also signify the beginning of an infestation. Most people only have the expertise to identify common bugs. More than 25,000 insect species live in Texas, according to Texas A&M University. It’s essential to handle mystery bugs carefully and take steps to keep them out of your home.

If you find an unfamiliar insect outdoors, photograph it for identification. You may want to catch the bug if it is inside your home. Be cautious–wear gloves and use an implement such as long tweezers to move the insect. Store it in a glass container with a tight lid. Remember that some bugs can chew through cardboard, wood, or plastic.

Keep children and pets away from the insect. Some bugs may trigger allergies or cause serious illnesses when they bite or sting. For example, the Lone Star tick spreads … Read Full Post »

Pet-Safe Gardening Tips for Landscaping in San Antonio

For many years, cocoa mulch has been a popular choice for landscaping. Recently, pet owners across the nation have been warned against using this long-lasting mulch. Although most people are aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs, few people know about the dangers of cocoa mulch.

According to the ASPCA, cocoa bean shells, which are a by-product of chocolate processing, contain up to 3% theobromine and approximately .36 % caffeine. Both of these compounds can compromise the health of dogs. A number of pet owners have seen their family dogs become sick after eating large quantities of this enticing cocoa-scented mulch.

San Antonio lawn care service providers at ABC Home & Commercial routinely replace cocoa mulch with other alternatives, such as crushed stone, pine straw and cedar bark. These materials help prevent weeds, and they retain soil moisture without endangering pets. Pet owners may also consider installing protective fencing to prevent pets … Read Full Post »

From AC to Heat: How to Ensure a Flawless Change of Seasons

It’s time to tune up your furnace as summer-time humidity and temperatures drop and the excellent weather approaches. You don’t want to turn your furnace on when the first cold front blows in only to find it’s not heating correctly.

Every Houston HVAC system needs periodic maintenance to ensure all components work. Regular maintenance reduces the possibility of sudden breakdowns and costly repairs. Keeping the system working correctly also reduces energy usage and lowers utility bills. Some routine maintenance is easy for the homeowner to do. Some tasks, however, are best left to the professionals.

The homeowner can do cleaning filters, one of the most important regular maintenance tasks. Clogged filters make a unit work harder and compromise indoor air quality. Regular cleaning removes allergens, bacteria, mold, and dust. Replace filters as recommended by the manufacturer.

An improperly installed thermostat may cause a unit to run inefficiently or fail to cycle on. Ensure … Read Full Post »

House Flies In Winter: Do Flies Hibernate in the Winter?

house flies in winter

What’s that buzzing around your kitchen? What is your dog chasing around the living room? What came in when you left the back door open too long? In many cases, the answer is the same: a fly.

Have you ever noticed that house flies seem to disappear during the winter months? How do they virtually vanish in the cold weather and reappear in full force once the weather starts warming up? Read on to find out.

What Flies Do During The Winter

Adult house flies in winter spend their days in cracks and crevices, away from humans. In the spring, these flies lay eggs on decaying materials. Although this behavior can be compared to hibernation, the truth is that flies do not spend the winter months in a deep sleep like some animals, including some species of turtles, snakes, bats, hummingbirds, ladybugs, skunks, and frogs. The cluster fly and other common fly species … Read Full Post »

West Nile Virus Still Prevalent in Harris County

A mild winter combined with rain in Harris County has created a favorable climate for mosquitoes. This has led to an increase in the infected with West Nile virus— several people have died. The virus spreads primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. In rare cases, the virus spreads through transfusions, breastfeeding, from mother to baby during pregnancy, and organ transplants.

West Nile virus symptoms appear between three and 14 days after an infected mosquito bites a person. Four out of five people (about 80%) infected with the virus do not show any symptoms. 20% will exhibit mild symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Swollen lymph glands or skin rash

People over 50 and those with a weak immune system have a high risk of getting severely sick. About one in 150 cases experiences severe symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of vision
  • High fever
  • Disorientation, stupor or coma
  • Numbness or paralysis
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck

There is no explicit treatment for West Nile virus. The fever … Read Full Post »

Use your iPhone for Tracking Bed Bugs!

In recent years, bed bugs have become a widespread problem in many cities across the United States. Houston is no exception, with hotels and multi-family residential buildings such as apartments among the most brutal hit. Even if you live in a single-family home, you’re also vulnerable to bed bugs, as guests may bring them in, or the pests may stow away in your luggage when you return home from a vacation. The best prevention against bed bugs is avoiding places infested by them. If you are an iPhone user, you will find the Bed Bug Alert app convenient for preventing pests.

Designed by Apps Genius, Bed Bug Alert is an interactive, user-friendly app that allows you to perform several actions from your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad equipped with iOS 3.2 or newer. First, you may set your location to only view reports of bed bugs in Houston or an upcoming … Read Full Post »

Why is My Pool Green? How to Keep Your Water Crystal Clear

My above ground pool is green

One of the best ways to beat the heat on a hot summer day is to go for a swim. If you have your pool, you know maintenance is no small task. The last thing you want as a pool owner is to discover that your pool water is green and cloudy instead of crystal clear.

Why is My Pool Green?

Keeping a pool looking clean and clear requires paying particular attention to the water chemistry. Let’s discuss the three primary factors in pool operation—physical, chemical, and biological—how they impact the color of your water and what to do if your pool water becomes cloudy and green.

Pool Filtration & Circulation

The most essential part of your pool’s operation is your filtration system, which is responsible for keeping your water clean. The filters in your pool should remove dirt and debris which make their way into your pool from the air or your bathers … Read Full Post »