ABC Blog

A Homeowner’s Guide to Austin Wildlife

When most people think about wild animals, they imagine wildlife in secluded or wooded areas. However, there are plenty of different types of wildlife roaming the streets of Austin. Since some creatures can be dangerous, homeowners should be familiar with the wild animals sharing their city.What Types of Wildlife Live in Austin?In addition to a wide variety of birds, there are several small wild animals living in Austin. Opossums, squirrels, deer, foxes, coyotes, groundhogs, rats, mice, moles, skunks, raccoons, bats, and snakes are reported frequently. Some people also report seeing armadillos occasionally. Beavers, muskrats, weasels, iguanas, gophers, and porcupines have been sighted, but are rarer than the previously mentioned animals. Some types of wildlife are more common in certain areas of the city.Which Animals Pose a Threat to Homeowners?

Homeowners should be concerned about the animals that can be considered common pests. Animals such as deer, coyotes or skunks are not … Read Full Post »

Can I Prevent Stinging Insects from Nesting Around My Home?

San Antonio is home to a number of stinging insects. Local homeowners must contend with yellow jackets, paper wasps, and carpenter bees. Such insects have the potential to deliver painful stings and cause allergic reactions. Some species can also damage the exterior of a home. It’s best to prevent them from nesting in the first place.

Homeowners can take steps to eliminate food sources and desirable nesting cavities. Stinging insects prefer to build nests in protected areas that shield them from rain and hail. When possible, it’s helpful to fill or block access to these cavities. Do not attempt to do this until a San Antonio exterminator has removed any existing nests.

It is also beneficial to store empty beverage cans and household trash in a solid container with a tight lid. Garbage and unwashed soda cans can attract various species of stinging insects according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. They … Read Full Post »

Cockroach Hitchhikers

From planes to cars, cockroaches seem to be everywhere. How do these resourceful pests find their way into places that humans would prefer they stay away from? Cockroaches are programmed to find a way into any sheltered area with a water and food source.

Cracks, Crevices, and Holes

As with any household pests, cockroaches (also known as Palmetto Bugs) can most often find a way into a building by locating small cracks or holes that lead to a warm, sheltered place to live. A nearby food and water source is another big draw. Sealing up cracks can keep cockroaches from coming into a home, but these pests are known for their resourcefulness and ability to find a way to survive.

Skilled Hitchhikers

Even if a property owner ensures that no cracks or holes can encourage pests to enter a building, cockroaches are adept at finding a way to hitchhike into a building. Clothing and … Read Full Post »

Critters Can Get Through Tiny Cracks!

When most people hear about homeowners finding beehives or rodent colonies behind the walls, they assume it is a rare horror story that is not likely to happen to them. However, these occurrences are more common than most people think. Rodents and other pests are very good at finding ways to sneak into homes.

How Much Space Do Pests Need To Sneak Into A Home?

According to the CDC, mice can squeeze through a hole that is the same size as a nickel. If a hole is as large as a quarter, a rat can fit through it. Insects can squeeze through nearly any size crack, gap or hole. Rodents are one of the biggest problems during colder months. They often sneak into homes to keep warm and take up residence behind walls, in basements or in attics. Unfortunately, some can spread serious diseases such as hantavirus and leptospirosis.

How Can Homeowners Inspect … Read Full Post »

How to Keep Brown Recluse Spiders at Bay

It’s a fact that all Houston homes and businesses have spiders lurking in their walls, attics, and other hiding places—even in winter when they tend to seek shelter indoors. Most of them are harmless, and their presence is helpful because they keep insect populations under control. However, one spider, in particular, can be very dangerous when it comes into contact with humans: the brown recluse.

Identifying the Brown Recluse

These non-hairy spiders range in color from tan to dark brown and, once they reach adulthood, are usually the size of a quarter with their legs extended. The brown recluse’s most distinctive feature is a violin-shaped marking on its back. Brown recluse spiders can be found outdoors under piles of wood or debris and indoors in cluttered, dark places such as garages and attics.

The Dangers of Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown recluse spiders rarely wander out into the open unless searching for food so these … Read Full Post »

Insects Can Still Present Problems in Winter

Once the first hard freeze hits Austin, you may think that your pest problems are over for a few months, but do you know where the insects actually go? Some insects migrate to warmer climates, while others are designed to tolerate the colder temperatures by overwintering, which is a type of hibernation process. When bugs hibernate in the soil or under leaves, rocks and logs, they do not affect humans at all. However, many insects are likely to seek shelter in your home rather than under a log during the winter months and that’s why you need year-round Austin pest control tips.

Insects That Thrive Indoors

Finding flies or ants in your home during the summer months is a common occurrence, especially if you leave doors and windows open, but spotting just one of these pests in the winter could be a sign of an infestation. Adult insects usually lie dormant in … Read Full Post »

Life-Saving Education for Allergic Kids

Childhood is a carefree time when kids are encouraged to play and have fun. Unfortunately, a bee or wasp can bring the fun to an end. In the United States, roughly 3% of children are allergic to insect bites or stings. While many reactions cause mild swelling and discomfort, a bee sting can also cause a life-threatening reaction that requires epinephrine. That’s why it’s essential to teach allergic kids to identify signs of wasps and bees and to act accordingly.

In College Station and many parts of Texas, stinging insects are active all year. As pest control experts, ABC highly recommends treating your outdoor areas during fall and winter through a collective approach that includes landscaping, pest control and lawn care in College Station.

Photos, field guides and online videos are all excellent resources for teaching children how to identify and avoid stinging insects. Children should be aware that wasps don’t only … Read Full Post »

Stink Bugs Cause a Stink for Gardeners

Most gardeners are eager to share a bountiful harvest with friends and neighbors. There is usually enough to go around, but a few greedy stink bugs can destroy an entire crop in a few short weeks. Take precautions now to deter these hungry bugs from devouring the spoils of your hard labor—even in winter.

Identify the Enemy

Stink bugs are easily recognized due to their brown or green shield-shaped bodies. Their markings vary in color, and triangles on their backs are called scutellum.

Stink bugs leave blemishes the size of pinheads on fruits and vegetables, including winter veggies such as kale and spinach. Sometimes excrement is also present. The damage is more than cosmetic—the area underneath the depression or blemish may not ripen. Some fruits will turn brown underneath the blemish.

Take Precautions

Take steps before the growing season begins to deter stink bugs from settling into the garden. Our Houston lawn care and landscaping … Read Full Post »

Handling Firewood Improperly Can Cause Pest Problems

Heating your Houston home with firewood is cozy, romantic, and environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, if your wood isn’t handled and stored correctly, it can harbor unwanted pests. These insects pose no serious threat to your home in most cases, but a few species could be problematic.

A variety of insects infest wood. The list includes bark lice, millipedes, centipedes, pill bugs, sowbugs, springtails, termites, beetles, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and wasps. Termites are the biggest threat to your home’s structure, but they’re not usually a problem unless you bring firewood into a moist environment and store the logs against your home. If you find live termites in a wood pile, move the wood as far away from your home as possible.

Wood-boring beetles can be a nuisance if they create noise or wood dust. Bark beetles live inside a tree’s bark or between the bark and heartwood. If infested wood is stacked against … Read Full Post »

The Beneficial Ladybug

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A Family of Friendly Insects in Florida

Members of the Coccinellidae family, commonly known as ladybugs, are not technically bugs. Entomologists call these insects by the more accurate term—ladybird beetles. There are about 5,000 species of ladybird beetles worldwide, most beneficial to mankind. Although the ladybug is often pictured as red with black spots, these insects come in various colors and patterns.

The common ladybug is a friend to gardeners and landscapers. When aphids and scale insects threaten rose bushes and garden vegetables, the ladybug fights back with vigor. One ladybug may eat 5,000 aphids in its lifetime. The female ladybug lays her eggs on plants that aphids, mealybugs, and scales frequently. As soon as the eggs hatch, the larvae start feeding. Consider the ladybug an ally in natural pest control. These effective exterminators are even considerate enough to replace themselves regularly. One female ladybug may lay 1,000 eggs in her lifetime. … Read Full Post »