Powerful Pests: Can Termites Destroy or Penetrate Concrete?

Why the solid parts of your home aren’t necessarily safe from termite infiltration

When termites invade a home, it can seem like they’re getting in everywhere, including through the foundation. This has given rise to the belief that these little pests are able to eat into concrete, a material which is supposed to be secure. Though there’s no truth to this story, your home’s foundation can still be a doorway for termites.

Home Termite Damage

Termites are incapable of digesting concrete and therefore don’t eat it. However, they love wood. If there’s wood on the other side of your concrete foundation, they’ll do whatever they can to get at it. Termites are persistent, so they’ll keep looking for entry points until they find one, make their way inside, and start eating.

How Termites Infiltrate Concrete

It only takes a small crack in an otherwise secure concrete foundation to let termites in. Poured concrete is the … Read Full Post »

Where Do Rasberry Crazy Ants Come From?

A bug that makes people nostalgic for fire ants

Back in 2002, the Rasberry crazy ant was identified by an exterminator named Tom Rasberry. The voracious insect regularly attacks animals, infests pantries and damages air conditioners. They’ve spread to many parts of Texas and the southern United States in recent years.

Origin

There’s still some uncertainty about the history of the Rasberry crazy ant. Nonetheless, the most common theory is that humans accidentally transported it from South America to Texas. This invasive species was a common pest in Colombia before it reached the United States, according to Texas A&M University. It continues to infest new parts of the state and the Gulf Coast region.

Transit

Rasberry crazy ants don’t always need to travel on foot. Cargo trains, boats, airplanes and trucks can inadvertently spread them. This may occur when vehicles carry agricultural products or trash. To prevent further infestations, be sure to examine potted plants … Read Full Post »

Do Plumbers Need a License in Texas?

The Importance of Working with a Plumbing Professional

It can be tempting to turn to a local unlicensed handyman if you need plumbing work done in your Bryan/College Station home, but this’ll leave you without the protection that is associated with utilizing a licensed professional. In fact, the state of Texas requires individuals who perform plumbing services to have a license that verifies they’ve received the proper training. Anyone who holds a plumbing license in Texas has passed a board-certified examination, and this means that they should be properly equipped to handle any of your plumbing needs.

Are Plumbing Licenses Permanent?

Just like your driver’s license, it’s necessary for plumbers to periodically renew their license and registration. In order to obtain these renewals, licensed plumbers must attend continuing education courses. This helps ensure that they stay up-to-date on the latest techniques, and it also helps prevent the erosion of previously obtained knowledge. After … Read Full Post »

10 Shocking, Weird Bug Facts to Keep You Awake at Night

Bugs give humans the creeps for reasons we don’t fully comprehend. It makes sense that we wouldn’t care much for insects that are capable of spreading disease, inflicting painful stings or eating our homes from the ground up. However, there is something about a crunchy cockroach or a slimy worm that we just can’t stomach, and it doesn’t seem to be related to what they can do to us. We’re much bigger, and we can crush them with hardly any effort. Instead, we run and scream and invent new dance moves. The list below definitely justifies our heebie jeebies.

1. Ants and the Slave Trade

Slavery isn’t just a human atrocity. Amazon ants steal the larvae of other ants and make them slaves. They’re not doing it to demonstrate superiority; they actually depend on their slaves for survival because they are incapable of doing anything other than fighting.

2. Don’t Mess with Aussie … Read Full Post »

Are Ants Stealing Your Pet’s Dinner?

Texas is home to a variety of pesky ant species that thrive in our year-round warm climate. Ask the professionals how to protect your home from ongoing invasions and chances are they’ll tell you to watch where your crumbs fall. While a lot of other variables – moisture levels, landscaping, and location – come into play when ants look for new spots to settle, food waste is a major source of infestations. Keeping food off the ground is generally great advice, but what if you share your home with a hungry pet? When a food bowl is a permanent fixture on your kitchen floor, following the tips below can make all the difference.

Get to Know Your Enemy

They may look similar, but different ant species behave in very different ways. For example, carpenter ants are nocturnal, while look-alike acrobat ants are active during the day. The more you know about the … Read Full Post »

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 »

5 Reasons to Avoid a Plumbing Snake

Why hiring the pros is the best choice when dealing with a stubborn clog

When you have a drain that’s hopelessly clogged, it’s tempting to grab a plumbing snake to take care of it. Also called pipe snakes, these coiled wire tools can be effective at clearing clogs, but they can also cause a great deal of damage if you don’t know what you’re doing.

1. Incorrect Application

There are several different types of plumbing snakes:

• Top snakes
• Toilet augers
• Mini-rooters
• Large drain snakes

Each has a different function and level of power. Some are manual while others are motorized. If you don’t know which one to use, you’re more likely to make a serious plumbing mistake.

2. Pipe Damage

The number one problem with do-it-yourself snaking of pipes is the potential for damage. Homes with older, galvanized pipes are especially prone to this because the end of the snake can flop around inside the pipe … Read Full Post »

Get Your Lawn Ready for Winter in East Texas

While East Texas isn’t exactly Antarctica, our nighttime winter temperatures can dip low enough to make all living things a little uncomfortable, including the greenery growing in your yard. The good news is that since deep freezes are relatively rare in our area, getting your garden ready for the coldest season of the year is a breeze. Here’s what to put on your to-do list before the cooler weather makes its annual comeback:

Give Your Lawn Extra Food

Some species of animals never start the winter season without gaining a little weight for warmth and energy. The same idea can work for your lawn. Giving your grass more nutrients can translate to thicker, healthier growth next spring. For best results, use fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen in the beginning of autumn and fertilizers that are rich in phosphorous later in the season. This nutrient blend will fortify your lawn against harsh … Read Full Post »

Insect Art Will Make Your Eyes Bug Out

Taking pests and turning them into something beautiful

When most people think of having insects in their home, their first instinct is to call a pest control company to take care of the problem. However, there are some artists who would take a pest infestation as an opportunity to create their next line of work. As odd as it may seem to some people, there’s actually a market for a wide variety of artistic creations that are made with the bodies of deceased insects.

What Type of Items Are These Artists Creating?

Insects are used to make everything from jewelry to wall collages. In some cases, the bodies of these pests are altered with paint or the addition of new components. For example, artist Mike Libby makes up to $1,000 per piece with his steampunk inspired robo-insects. Libby has worked with bees, spiders, praying mantises, and many other insects, and the final result … Read Full Post »

Can I Collect Rainwater in Bryan and College Station?

The legal ins and outs of a sustainable landscaping solution

There was a time when watering your lawn meant racking up high water bills and straining the water supplies of drought-prone cities like Bryan and College Station. Thanks to some recent legal and technological changes, however, this is no longer the case. Let’s take a look at how the legalities of rainwater collection have evolved and whether it’s time for you to invest in a rainwater retaining system for your property.

Is It Legal to Collect Rainwater in Texas?

It’s generally legal to set up a rainwater catchment system in Texas, including in the communities of Bryan and College Station. This is due to a relatively simple legal framework that forms the foundation of water rights within the state. Unlike many other jurisdictions, Texas limits the state’s control of water resources to natural surface waterways like rivers, streams and creeks. Until it enters … Read Full Post »