ABC Blog

Please choose a city to view local blog posts:

What Are the Benefits of Water Softeners?

a shower head

So what does “hard” water really mean? 

When rain falls, it is pure water. Once it seeps into the ground, it picks up minerals like calcium and magnesium. Water that has collected a large amount of such minerals is called “hard.” In fact, about 85 percent of water in the United States can be classified as hard water.

Is a water softener worth it? It’s important to first see if you are noticing the signs of hard water. Seeing stains on your sinks and tubs or on your kitchen utensils? It’s a good bet you have hard water. Seeing scale deposits on kitchen appliances and plumbing is another sign. Are you having to use more soap than usual? Hard water doesn’t lather well, so you have to use more. Hard water will also face your clothing and make your skin and hair feel dry after a shower. 

Water also has a continuum of … Read Full Post »

How Fast Do Bed Bugs Move?

two squirming bed bugs

If you notice small, itchy bites appearing on your skin or your family’s skin, you no doubt have questions about what is causing them. Maybe you have seen little brownish oval insects flitting around a bed or a couch. Surely these can’t be bed bugs, can they?

Bed bugs do not discriminate when choosing their meal. They go where the food is, and for these little bugs, blood is their food source. Having an infestation doesn’t reflect housekeeping habits. It simply means bed bugs have found their way to a new meal ticket.

Before assuming that bed bugs are your problem, it’s best to get an inspection from a licensed pest control professional. There are a couple of other insects that look similar, including some spiders, carpet beetles, booklice, cockroach nymphs, fleas and ticks. You want to be sure any treatment you undertake is effective.

One sign that your visitors might be bed … Read Full Post »

How To Make Compost

compost mixed into soil

Are you a homeowner interested in making your own compost? Composting is an easy process to start and maintain, regardless of your size requirements.

It’s also one of the easiest and best first steps for garden fertilization, and healthy lawncare.

Despite what you may have heard, home composting is not complicated, it’s not messy and it doesn’t smell bad when you do it right.

In fact, learning how to compost the right way is super simple. Once you get started, it’s a great, environmentally-friendly way to repurpose food scraps and a variety of other organic materials into a superfood for your plants and gardens.

Types of Composting

First things first, let’s take a look at the various types of composting. The three most popular and widely used methods are cold composting, hot composting and vermicomposting.

Cold Composting

Composting in its most basic form is “cold” composting. This involves collecting plant waste from your lawns or gardens and … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Pool Pump Leaking From the Top?

a pool pump leaking from the top

“Why is my pool pump leaking from the top?” This is a question many homeowners with pools ask certified pool professionals when they find their pool pump is leaking. Discovering a leak in your pool pump can be frustrating, but these leaks are actually very common.

Pool pumps have many different components, including a motor and housing as well as various gaskets, clamps and o-rings. If any of these parts breaks or wears out, it can cause a leak. Having too little water in your pool can also lead to a leak, since it can allow air into the pump. Of course, low water levels in the pool can also be the result of a pump leak, not the cause of it. In these cases, it can be helpful to learn your pool’s evaporation rate.

Whatever is causing the leak needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Some pump leaks can … Read Full Post »

How To Start an Herb Garden

an herb garden

An herb garden makes a beautiful, fragrant and useful addition to any yard. If you don’t know how to start an herb garden, it can seem like a daunting task. But starting an herb garden is actually a perfect project for beginner gardeners. There are many herbs that are very easy to grow and care for. You can use them in cooking, making delicious drinks or even in homemade flower arrangements. Here are the basics of starting an herb garden, to get you started on your gardening journey.

To start your herb garden, you’ll need just a few basic things: a space for the garden, sunlight, soil that is good for growing herbs and seeds or starter plants. Yes, it really can be as simple as that!

You can grow herbs right in the ground, or in an existing garden bed. Whether you’re building a new herb garden or using an existing … Read Full Post »

What Is Compost Used For?

a shovel in a pile of compost

Today, knowledge about the at-home composting process is spreading, thanks to the internet and how-to articles and videos. Composting has never been more accessible for homeowners all across the United States.

Composting can help you reduce your household waste while fertilizing the soil in your lawn. As long as you have a yard, you can compost, regardless of whether you live out in the country or in a suburb.

Keep reading to discover what compost is used for, the differences between compost and loam and the best compost for a vegetable garden.

Composting Basics for Your Yard

At-home compost is a valuable resource for your lawn maintenance. Compost is used to nourish your lawn or garden with crucial nutrients.

Composting is often more popular in rural areas where people grow their own food. Farmers have always understood the importance of using compost. But you don’t have to have a large garden to benefit from composting.

What … Read Full Post »

What Does Bat Poop Look Like?

bat poop

Even if your favorite superhero wears a black cape and cowl, evidence of bats on your property can be terrifying. You may be worried that bats may have moved into your yard or even your home. Homeowners across the country deal with bats.

Bat control can be challenging as there are safety and legal concerns with bats. Thankfully, there are simple steps you can take to protect the health and wellbeing of your family (as well as the bats).

Keep reading to discover what bat poop looks like, where you may find it, and other common signs of bat activity. In addition to tips about how to inspect your property for bats, you will learn more about how to get rid of bats in your attic. Equipped with information about when bats have babies, you will know how to deal with bats safely and ethically.

If you do not feel comfortable taking care … Read Full Post »

Hammerhead Worm in Texas

a hammerhead worm on a driveway

You’re digging in your garden or spending time on the patio, and you spot what looks like a long, weird earthworm. Its head is reminiscent of a hammerhead shark, which is where it got its name. What you have spotted is actually a hammerhead worm. Finding a hammerhead worm in Texas is unfortunate because these pests prey on beneficial earthworms. They can also be tough to eliminate. So what should you do if you find one?

The first thing to know is that you should not try to kill it by chopping it in half with a shovel. It may sound like science fiction, but it’s real: When the body of a hammerhead worm is divided, it will regenerate into separate living worms. This is called fragmentation, and it is actually how this species reproduces. Its numbers multiply when it is cut into pieces.

Another important thing to know is that you … Read Full Post »

Can You Use Compost As Mulch?

plants growing in compost

People spend a good deal of time and, often, money creating a landscape that adds beauty and value to their home. From preparing the soil to planting to aftercare, it can be a lot of work. The last thing you want is for all the effort to end up with plants and shrubs that aren’t thriving in their environment. A big way to ensure that your landscaping is living its best life is by adding mulch.

Why mulch? It gives your flower beds and other landscaping a finished look. It also has a number of benefits for the plants themselves. Mulch keeps moisture in the soil and even helps break up any clay. This allows the moisture to dig deep and keep the soil cool in the heat. It also helps resist frost issues in the winter, gives the soil nutrients as the mulch decomposes and blocks weeds from popping up.

You … Read Full Post »

Bumblebee Versus Carpenter Bee

For most people, when you hear or see a bee buzzing about, the first instinct is to get away. No one wants to get stung, and some people are allergic to a bee’s sting. But, not all bees are the same. Consider two common types you likely encounter around your home: bumblebees and carpenter bees.

Bumblebee Nests

You have probably seen large bees with yellow and black stripes flitting around shrubs and flowers. These are most likely bumblebees, which can also be white and black. They have hairy bodies right down to their bellies and love to spend time with other bumblebees.

These bees usually make their nests underground, either in soil or under trash, like dumps. Unlike other types of bees, bumblebees don’t make enough honey to sell, though they do make some. These bees get almost all of their food from flowers and are known to be helpful … Read Full Post »