ABC Blog

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 »

A Snappy History of the Mousetrap

Throughout history, humans have looked for ways to manage mice and rats. The small, furry creatures can cause a host of problems by invading food stores, chewing building materials and spreading disease. One classic mouse management tool is the spring-loaded mousetrap. A subject of both controversy and humor, the mousetrap consists of a flat wooden base and a wire spring mechanism triggered by a rodent’s weight.

A Brief and Snappy History

British inventor James Henry Atkinson created the “Little Nipper,” the prototype on which the modern spring-loaded mousetrap is based. Atkinson sold his patent to Proctor in 1913, and the company has been manufacturing the traps ever since. Not to be outdone by the Brits, American inventor John Mast received a patent for a similar snap-trap in 1903. His became the best-selling mousetrap of all time. Mast claimed that his design was safer; human users wouldn’t risk losing their fingers while loading … Read Full Post »

Are You Putting Out the Welcome Mat for Rodents?

Mice may be cute and cuddly on TV or as a children’s toy, but when they get inside the walls of your business, they are dirty, destructive and downright disgusting.

Rodents typically make their way indoors during cooler weather, seeking warmth and protection. While you might feel bad about turning them out to face the harsh elements, remember that these small creatures not only make annoying scratching sounds inside your walls, but they also chew on electrical wires and spread diseases.

For many people, leaving traps and poison out around the building is the go-to solution. But who wants to find rotting rat carcasses lying around as you’re trying to take your lunch break? There’s got to be a better way. ABC Home & Commercial Services in Dallas is here to help.


You may be unintentionally inviting local rodents to take up residence with the following behaviors:

• Rodents don’t have a sophisticated palate. … Read Full Post »

Noises in the Walls: Could It Be a Rat Invasion?

Do you hear noises in the walls or ceilings? It could be a sign that rats have invaded your home. These large rodents recently became the most common pest in the San Antonio area. They will live in any building that provides them with water, food and shelter.

A rat infestation doesn’t imply that a house or neighborhood is unclean. It simply means that your home has at least one opening the size of a quarter. Unfortunately, many new buildings are constructed with small holes in their roofing or siding.

Signs of an Invasion

Two rat species have achieved notoriety in San Antonio. If you usually hear noises in the ceiling, roof rats may have infested your attic. These rodents run quickly and like to eat nuts or fruit. The larger Norway rat is more likely to crawl through your home’s walls.

You will probably notice other indications before you actually see a rat. … Read Full Post »

Pest Picnic: The Foods You’re Accidentally Feeding Rodents

Hidden ways you feed and attract rodents

Even though you go to great lengths to keep rodents away from your home, you could be inadvertently welcoming them by not being careful enough with leftover food. Here are some common foods that rodents eat and ways to keep these pests away.

Foods That Bring Rats into Your Yard

Open garbage cans are a rodent’s favorite place to snack. These places are filled with all kinds of foods, especially old meat and scraps of cooked goodies. As these items begin to rot, they become extremely appealing to gluttonous rodents. To avoid these problems, it’s important to seal all garbage in a closed plastic container.

Fruits and berries that fall to the ground from trees in the yard will attract mice and rats as well. To stop attracting these vermin, it’s important to rake up and collect any fruit that has fallen. The only way to totally … Read Full Post »

Will Sheep-Sized Rats Take Over the Earth?

Any list of rodent facts makes it abundantly clear that rats can go with the flow. In fact, they’re so adaptable that when nature shifts course and larger mammals become extinct, the little critters might just grow into giant sheep-sized rats to take up the space. If you think they’re icky now, just wait until their tails are two feet long.

It’s Happened Before

It’s inevitable that some of our larger animals will die out. When they do, scientists believe that rodents will evolve to fill the ecological niche. They’ll grow larger and develop whatever features enable them to survive, thrive and produce offspring.

It isn’t just a theory; it’s happened before. In the Cretaceous Period, dinosaurs occupied a large portion of space on the planet. During their reign, mammals were much smaller; many were the size of our modern mice and rats. Once the big guys were out of the picture, though, … Read Full Post »

Never Underestimate the Destructive Power of Squirrels

They might be cute, but squirrels can destroy healthy trees, unpack all the Christmas decorations in your attic, turn your insulation into confetti and renovate your home’s siding. Many people recognize a squirrel problem and get professional pest control involved before things get out of hand, but some homeowners aren’t so lucky. If you think our hearty Texas squirrels are causing big problems, take a moment to discover what others have endured.

Furry-Tailed Bumps in the Night

If you’ve ever heard footsteps in your attic or unexplained noises that make your blood run cold, you may just have a squirrel, a rat or a mouse in your attic. Acoustics in open spaces can magnify and alter simple noises to make them sound complex and alarmingly unearthly. Paranormal investigators often trace the origins of weird noises to the nocturnal movement of rodents. Professional ghost hunters may find that your eerie footsteps turn out … Read Full Post »

Does Your Property Have a Raccoon Problem?

Raccoons may look harmless, and you may consider them only a nuisance, but they can cause severe damage and injuries. A hungry raccoon might dig holes in your lawn and tear garbage bags open. It may attack pets or farm animals after it begins to feel safe on your property. Raccoons could even attempt to enter your home.

These furry mammals usually look for food at night to avoid being seen. There are many ways to detect raccoons on your property, though, even if you can actually spot them. Vegetables in the garden may go missing at night, or seeds from a bird feeder may vanish.

You can also look for a restroom. No, raccoons haven’t figured out how to use toilets. They leave excrement in large piles that are known as latrines. Rather than defecating in random locations, they prefer to select certain rocks, trees, and stumps. Unfortunately, your deck or … Read Full Post »

Your Expensive Lawn Is No More

Moles are strange creatures that can cause devastating damage to your pristine lawn, especially when they are allowed to burrow out of control. The animals tend to feed on worms and other subsurface creatures. You’ll be left with dimples, holes, dirt mounds, and torn-up grass if they’re not stopped. With effective pest control methods, however, you can eradicate the critters and keep your yard looking great. Perhaps even more importantly, you can continue to impress your irritable in-laws when they next pay a holiday visit.


True moles are generally distinguished by their prominent snouts. While many species are dark brown, others can range from black to white to pink. They typically have webbed feet and sharp claws, which they use to dig tunnels through the surrounding dirt. Their claws enable them to make their way through even hard soil. Thus, they can pose significant problems for homeowners. While they are certainly … Read Full Post »

Plants That Attract Outdoor Pests

Are you growing a rodent’s dream buffet in your backyard?

Although it’s common knowledge that to beat your enemy in battle, you must first learn to think like them; this principle is often forgotten in the gardening world. The most common problem for gardeners is that in the excitement of planting everything they want, they forget to think of which plants their outdoor companions are silently waiting to devour once they turn their back. You may be unknowingly planting a feast outside that consists of all of your neighborhood rodents’ favorite foods, and they’ll be all too happy to invite the rest of their four-legged family over to finish off your flowers and vegetables before you ever get a chance to enjoy them.

Let’s look at the preferred snacks of rodents, such as rats, mice, voles, squirrels, and groundhogs. This is the first step in long-lasting rodent control.

Rodent Appetites

Rats have perhaps the … Read Full Post »