ABC Blog

5 Secrets Cockroaches Don’t Want You to Know

Uncovering Their Hidden Powers and Weird Habits

If you think roaches hide in the walls to evade pest control, you’re right. If you think these bugs are just trying to avoid human encounters, you’re wrong. Here are five bizarre facts cockroaches prefer to keep under wraps.

1. Roaches Remember and Drool – You won’t see roaches pushing buzzers on Jeopardy, but they can develop memories. Scientists discovered that the insects learn to associate specific odors with sugar solutions. The giveaway comes when roaches drool at the odors without sweet treats in the equation. Pavlov’s dog would be disappointed to know his accomplishments were replicated by bugs that we consider brainless.

2. They Don’t Need Heads – It’s not a scary urban myth; roaches can live for weeks without their heads. While this sounds like a weird super power, it’s possible because they sport simple circulatory systems and breathe through tiny holes in their … Read Full Post »

Do Insects Feel Pain?

The Latest Thinking on Insect Perception

We’ve been asked whether insects feel pain during the pest control process. After looking into it, we realized that the science on the subject isn’t nearly as settled as you might think. After all, pain is actually pretty complex. However, there are some things we can say for sure about insect perception.

What Is Nociception?

Insect brains are far simpler than mammal brains. In many insects, they’re little more than dense nodes of neurons that process stimuli and control various parts of the body. However, they still perform some of the same functions as human brains. For instance, human brains have nociceptors that process and orchestrate the response to painful stimuli. While insects don’t have nociceptors, experiments have shown that they respond in the same manner as humans whose nociceptors have been activated.

A Revealing Experiment

In one experiment, fruit fly larvae were poked with hot pins and exhibited … Read Full Post »

Who’s Watching the House?

Don’t leave your home security up to chance

An average of 47 break-ins happen each day in San Antonio. During 2013, city police responded to 14,850 burglaries and almost 2,200 robberies. If you wish to avoid costly repairs and property losses, it’s vital to take home security seriously. An alarm system can protect your family from intruders, cut insurance costs and give you greater peace of mind.

How it Works

Modern home security systems use several different devices to detect uninvited guests. Window and door sensors trigger the alarm when they perceive that someone has breached an entryway. Motion detectors can recognize any movement inside or outside of your house. This makes it rather difficult for criminals to evade detection as they infiltrate the home or search for valuables.

Communication

When this equipment senses an intruder and the alarm sounds, the system will notify a monitoring center. It uses wireless communication or a phone line … Read Full Post »

Before and After a Freeze: Planned Plant Protection

Landscaping steps you can take before winter to keep your plants safe

Although the weather doesn’t often become frigid in San Antonio, temperatures can dip low enough to threaten the vegetation around your yard. Without proper preparation, this could mean losing the beautiful landscape you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

The Dangers of Frost

When plants are subject to freezing temperatures, ice crystals form inside their cells. This disrupts the flow of fluid and nutrients, causing leaves to shrivel. Sometimes the moisture in the air condenses on the plants and freezes on the surface, creating the same detrimental effect. The temperature at which vegetation freezes is measured with a hardiness rating and differs from plant to plant.

Covering Plants

Keeping plants covered on chilly nights works to combat the effects of frost. If the freeze is mild, a sheet or a blanket should do the job. When it gets colder, add a layer of plastic … Read Full Post »

Lawn Pests You Can’t Afford to Keep

What’s in your grass? You DO want to know

Your lawn is your curb appeal. It’s the darling of your green thumb, the reminder of carefree childhood days, the sense memory of plush comfort under bare feet and a hangout for pests that bite, dehydrate, excavate, and destroy.

Which of these isn’t like the others? We just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.

What’s bugging your lawn? San Antonio hosts a handful of pests capable of turning your grassy idyll into a lawn care nightmare. Learn more about our usual suspects.

Chinch bugs

Even the name is annoying. These winged insects suck the life out of your grass by removing the juices from individual blades, and their handiwork initially resembles drought damage. Chinch bugs adore St. Augustine grass, but they’ll occasionally snack on Bermuda and other species.

Fire ants

Ouch! These hot tamales won’t eat your grass, but they’ll leave you with a bite that’ll … Read Full Post »

Brr! 4 Tips for a More Efficient Heating System This Winter

Mild year-long climate is one of the biggest benefits to living in sunny San Antonio, but even South Texas isn’t immune to occasional cold spells. Being far more used to complaining about unbearable heat than chilly temperatures, it’s no surprise that most of us aren’t prepared when the temperatures outside dip below the average. While getting through a few weeks of sweater weather is no big deal, putting your home’s heating system into high gear without notice is a sure way to push up your monthly energy bill. To avoid the unexpected expense this winter, copy our neighbors to the north by following the four easy energy-saving tips below:

1. Fatten up the insulation. Whether your home’s insulation is too thin or too old, it never hurts to give it a quick update before some of the coldest weeks of the year make a comeback. When you’re ready to get started, … Read Full Post »

Can Rodents Really Chew Through Your Walls?

When you were a child, you probably didn’t give much thought to the adorable little mouse hole at the base of the wall in Tom and Jerry cartoons. If you ever saw one in your home, there would be nothing cute about it. The cartoonist borrowed a fact from real life—rats and mice can and do actually chew right through walls, and that’s just the beginning. Rodents are a talented and sneaky family of animals that are perfectly capable of destroying much of what we build in order to meet their immediate needs for food and shelter. Unfortunately, most mice aren’t as charming as Jerry, and most cats aren’t as devoted as Tom.

A Formidable Furry Force

Rats and mice cause millions of dollars in damages to homeowners every year. They chew through insulation, drywall, wood and almost any other building material; this behavior opens the door for their friends and relatives … Read Full Post »

10 Ways to Clobber the Cost of Winter Heating Bills

Cutting HVAC costs doesn’t have to be uncomfortable

San Antonio isn’t known for harsh winter weather, but high heating expenses can still be a problem. Some dwellings lack the energy-saving features and materials that are common in northern states. Many homes also depend on relatively expensive energy sources. The state government reports that 65% of Texans use electric heat. Fortunately, you can cut costs with these handy tips:

1. Don’t forget to open curtains when the sun shines on your windows. This simple task can make a room much warmer.

2. Seal cracks around drafty window frames, pipes and doorways. Caulk and weather stripping hold warmth indoors and stop cold air from entering your home.

3. Consider adding more insulation to the attic. This will help your home retain heat in the winter and stay cool during San Antonio’s long summer. It muffles outdoor noise as well.

4. Keep an eye on the thermostat. Always … Read Full Post »

Do Wasps Fly South for the Winter?

There aren’t any beachfront retirement communities for wasps

During the warm season, wasps can be a serious scourge for homeowners across the San Antonio area. They’re especially problematic for homeowners with children and small pets. However, most observant San Antonians notice that wasps tend to either become scarcer or disappear completely during the winter. If you’ve ever wondered why this happens, we have some insight for you.

Wasp Life Cycles at a Glance

The life cycle of Texas wasps is an interesting, highly seasonal affair. As colonial creatures, wasps’ lives center around their distinctive-looking nests. These can typically be found in or near cracks and crevices on the sides of buildings, trees, or other structures.

During the spring, a new colony forms after a queen, aided by her workers, selects a suitable spot. The workers spend the spring, summer, and early fall months expanding and maintaining this nest. Meanwhile, the queen lays eggs for … Read Full Post »

Why Your Heating System Loves a Good Tune-Up

Staying safe, saving money and enjoying a more reliable heating system

Heating system tune-ups and routine maintenance is an investment that provides a host of benefits for your heating system, your health and your home.

Improved Health and Safety

As furnaces age, they often develop cracks that can compromise combustion and leak carbon monoxide gas into your home. This toxic gas has no color or odor, and a buildup can cause negative health symptoms. Routine tune-ups catch cracks early so the necessary repairs can be done to prevent a potentially dangerous situation.

Less Need for Repairs

Speaking of repairs, investing in a tune-up now means not having to get your heating system fixed later. A furnace or HVAC that’s operating as it should experiences less strain than one that’s barely getting by with old, worn or dirty parts. Cleaning and maintaining home heating equipment prolongs its life as well, and maintenance is certainly much cheaper … Read Full Post »