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Do You Know the Wormy Truth About Rats?

Everyone knows rats don’t make great tenants because they carry loads of bacteria, but how about parasitic worms? Rat lungworm—or Angiostrongylus cantonensis, if you want to get official—is a parasitic worm that targets rats through their food sources. If that sounds scary already, wait until you hear this: In rare cases, humans can catch rat lungworm through contact with infected foods.

Since we’re talking about rats, you’re probably wondering what eating infected foods has to do with rodent infestations, and that’s a very good question. Here’s how the exchange works:

1. Rats that are infected with an adult form of the rat lungworm parasite pass the parasite’s larvae through feces.

2. Slugs and snails munch on the droppings, picking up the infection hiding inside.

3. Rats then eat the infected slugs and snails, bringing the cycle back to step one.

The interesting thing about this infection is that it works its way up to humans … Read Full Post »

Discourage Those Voracious Deer in 5 Easy Steps

Learn how to tackle a deer invasion

Deer can seriously harm your trees, bushes or garden. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of “salad” to nourish a large animal. A single deer may eat over 300 pounds of plant matter each month, according to Texas Gardener’s Seeds. The Parks and Wildlife Department warns that yearly deer damage costs American homeowners over $250 million. Luckily, people have found many effective ways to repel this ravenous beast.

1. Certain substances will discourage deer if you place them near desirable plants. Better Homes & Gardens recommends using fabric softener, human hair, garlic or mothballs. Rotting fish heads also work, but they might repel you from the garden as well. Animals frequently adapt to these repellents; you may need to use a different item every week.

2. A variety of sprays can keep hungry wildlife at bay. Some products give off a fragrance similar to that of certain … Read Full Post »

Bats in the Belfry Are Bad, but Squirrels in the Attic Are Worse

Keeping furry invaders out of your home

Squirrels are always looking for safe places to call home. Unfortunately, your attic provides everything they need to be comfortable: a cool area, nesting material, space to store food and a protected place to have babies. Squirrels can chew straight through shingles and wood to gain access to your attic. These preventative measures reduce the possibility of damage by helping to keep your home squirrel-free.

Deny Entry

A squirrel can’t take up residence in your attic if it can’t get inside. Take a look around both the inside and outside of the space and plug up any holes that you find. This includes both holes that lead into the attic and those that may offer access to the rest of your home. Install a cap over your chimney and cover vents with mesh to eliminate easy entry points. Make sure to leave one space for any … Read Full Post »

How to Handle Scary Scorpions

Dealing with the creepiest pests in Texas

You can’t tell by looking, but scorpions are close cousins of spiders and ticks. Lineage and scientific names don’t matter when they crawl up the bedroom wall, though. Of all the pests that sneak into the house, scorpions may well be the scariest. But do they really deserve so much fear and loathing?

Strange Scorpion Facts

It’s hard to not be afraid of something that can survive a nuclear blast, and scorpions share that dubious honor with cockroaches. Those long-tailed creatures hiding in the attic glow in the dark when you hit them with a UV light. Their elaborate mating ritual involves locking claws and dancing. In fact, they keep up the courtship for more than 24 hours! Have a little sympathy for gentlemen scorpions: The ladies often finish the mating game by eating their partners.

Wood-Loving Pests

Texas is home to 18 species, but only striped bark … Read Full Post »

Do You Know About Those Tenants Under the Eaves?

You may not be in the habit of inspecting the eaves of your building. However, keeping this part of your store or office free from pests is vital when you want to keep dangerous rodents and critters at bay. You probably think outdoor creatures such as squirrels, opossums, and chipmunks are cute, but rodents like these can carry deadly diseases with them and infect your building by invading your eaves. When you want your office, store, or other commercial space to be free from such nuisances and health dangers, you can take these steps to keep these critters away.

Rodents like to live under your eaves because this area provides the warmth and shelter they need to build nests and raise offspring. In fact, this website reports that squirrels can have two or more litters of pups each year. You can get rid of these creatures and discourage them from taking … Read Full Post »

Furry and Freaky Creatures That Go Bump in the Night

Furry animals are cute to look at in a zoo or wildlife sanctuary, but when these critters invade your attic and take over your property, you begin to understand why pest control specialists refer to these animals as nuisances. Despite their small size, they can wreak total havoc on your home, often within a matter of days after finding their way inside your attic, basement, or eaves. When you hear skittering in your attic and on your roof or see the tell-tale signs of a nocturnal animal invasion, it’s time to take the necessary steps to get rid of these critters.

Discouraging these animals from coming into your home can start with practical steps such as bagging up your garbage each night, removing pet food and water bowls from your outdoor patio or backyard area, and getting rid of any other sources of food that might be attracting these animals. When … Read Full Post »

National Pest Management Association Partners With Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America on New Research

abc cockroach control

ABC Home & Commercial Services Supports New Survey Showing That Allergists Agree A Pest-Free Home is Important In Preventing Asthma and Allergy Symptoms

More than nine out of ten allergists surveyed (97 percent) believe a pest-free home is an essential step in preventing asthma and allergy symptoms, according to a recent survey conducted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) supported by a grant from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). The survey was conducted among medical professionals at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) in March 2014 in San Diego, CA. The findings are being released today at National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month to remind homeowners that many pest-related asthma and allergy triggers can be avoided by practicing simple prevention measures.
The study, which included nearly 500 allergists, was conducted to assess physicians’ views on pests and … Read Full Post »

Why Starlings Are Taking Over Your Lawn

The lowdown on these high-flying fowls

When you talk to a dedicated bird lover about his San Antonio favorites, he won’t mention starlings. Ask him to name a species he considers a pure nuisance, and you’ll hear all about this invasive creature. You’re both on the same pest page for good reason. The estimated starling population here in Texas exceeds tens of millions, so it’s no wonder they’re all over your lawn.

Good Intentions Gone Wrong

It started in New York City’s Central Park in the late 1890s with Eugene Schieffelin’s release of a small flock of starlings. The gentleman was obsessed with birds from Shakespeare’s plays, and his intent was to fill the American sky with every species mentioned by the Bard. Sadly, there are no records of any other introductions by Mr. Schieffelin. However, his one contribution resulted in a current starling head count that could easily populate a remake of … Read Full Post »

Why Do Raccoons Have Masks?

why do raccoons have masks

You might confuse a raccoon for a small pet if you come across one in your yard. While these outdoor pests may not look fierce, they can cause quite a bit of damage to your yard and can create a big mess if they get into your trash containers. One reason we tend to associate raccoons with mischief is the mask that covers most of their face.

Why Do Raccoons Have Masks?

You might think that between the destruction, theft and spreading of disease blamed on this furry animal, raccoons might wear masks to prevent being identified in a police lineup. After all, their damage could be deemed criminal activity under the eyes of the law. One theory, though, is that the black fur under the raccoon’s eyes reduces glare and enhances the nocturnal raccoon’s vision when it’s dark outside.  Another theory is that the different patterns of each animal’s mask help raccoons recognize … Read Full Post »

Big Pests, Small Holes

What has sharp teeth and the ability to squeeze through a nickel-sized hole?

You’re probably aware of the better-known characteristics of mice and rats. They have distinctive ears, protruding snouts, sharp teeth, drab-colored hair and tiny claws. They also have voracious appetites for human food. You might not know, however, that mice and rats can squeeze through remarkably small holes, which can make it difficult to keep them out of your home.

How Small Is Too Small?

Rats and mice are able to squeeze through holes many times smaller than their bodies. While rats need a hole that’s equivalent in diameter to a half dollar, mice need just a nickel-sized opening to work their “magic.” Needless to say, that’s far too small for house cats to follow. Contrary to popular belief, these critters don’t have collapsible skeletons. They do, however, have extremely flexible bodies and loose joints that can easily accommodate tight squeezes.

Common … Read Full Post »