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How Long Do Pre-Emergents Last?

Weeds popping through soil which may lead a homeowner to wonder how long pre-emergents last

Many homeowners strive to find the perfect combination of watering, mowing and fertilization to create that coveted lush, weed-free lawn we all want, but they overlook the importance of using a pre-emergent herbicide to keep weeds at bay. If you love having a healthy lawn, you may be wondering about these products, also called “preemergence herbicides,” and how to use them. How long do pre-emergents last? How do they work? And when is the best time to apply them to your yard?

Fortunately, pre-emergents are a relatively straightforward and effective step to add to your lawn care routine, as long as you make sure to select the right product for your yard and add it at the right time. The name “pre-emergent herbicide” refers to the fact that these products are to be used before the weeds emerge—which really means before their seeds have taken root.

Typically, pre-emergents will be effective for … Read Full Post »

What Do Rats Sound Like?

A rat peering into a home from a crawl space

Unfortunately, there are a number of animals that can invade your home in search of shelter, water and food. And, many times, you’ll start noticing the signs of these visitors before actually spotting them. So, how can you determine if you have rats in your home, or something else? One way to differentiate between rats and other creatures is by listening to the sounds they make.

If you have rats in your home, you’ll likely hear several specific noises:

  • Scurrying sounds as rats travel from place to place
  • Thumps as they play or fight
  • Scratching and chewing as they eat and gather supplies for nests
  • Squeaks from immature rats coming from a nest

Most vocalizations occur outside of the realm of what a human is capable of hearing. Most audible sounds come from rats that are in a state of distress.

Where will these sounds originate? For most people, your attic. This can be disturbing, because we … Read Full Post »

Do Mice Carry Fleas? Control and Prevention Tips

A flea infested mouse running along a stone walkway

Anyone who’s had to deal with a rodent infestation has probably wondered whether or not these creatures can bring fleas or other pests into a home. If you have ever asked yourself the question: Do mice carry fleas?, you should know that the answer is that they can and they often do. That means that if rats or mice have moved into your home, attic or garage, you may have to deal not only with that primary pest issue, but with a secondary one as well—the fleas that these rodents can bring with them.

This is because mice live in the wild. They pick up fleas outdoors from other wild animals, and they bring those fleas, as well as mites and other skin parasites, into any home they might invade. This compounds the pest control problem for the homeowner, making things worse for them and everyone else living in the house, … Read Full Post »

Do Raccoons Attack? What You Need to Know

A raccoon climbing down a tree, which may lead a homeowner to wonder, "Do raccoons attack?"

In response to your dog barking at something in the backyard, you turned on your patio lights to see a raccoon. This discovery brings many questions to the forefront of your mind, including whether or not a raccoon would attack you, your family members or your pets.

The good news is that, in many cases, raccoons will back off if confronted by a person or loud pets. However, this isn’t a guarantee. Sometimes raccoons can and will attack people, and this can be dangerous.

Generally speaking, raccoons attack in three situations:

  • when they’re cornered,
  • when they’re protecting their young and
  • when they’re sick.

The first two situations both fall under the larger umbrella of protection because healthy raccoons only attack humans to protect themselves or their families. Otherwise, they’ll run.

Then, why do raccoons have a reputation for being menacing?

Raccoons behave in such a way that can be intimidating to get out of bad situations. However, the … Read Full Post »

Topsoil vs. Compost: What’s Best for Your Yard?

A gardening table with compost and topsoil where a homeowner is debating the differences between topsoil vs compost

Many people have questions about topsoil versus compost—namely, what exactly are they, what are the differences between them and which is best for growing beautiful flowers or thick, lush grass. Whether you’re planting a garden or simply looking for ways to help your lawn thrive, you’ve probably considered both topsoil and compost as a lawn amendment, and you might have felt confused about which would be best for your yard’s particular needs. Topsoil and compost are similar in appearance, after all—they both look a lot like regular dirt. But they aren’t the same, and while both play important roles in creating outdoor spaces that thrive, they have distinct uses and applications.

Put very simply, topsoil is the very topmost layer of soil on the ground. When people add it to their yards or gardens as a soil amendment, they usually purchase it in bags or in bulk, although you can create … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

A furnace blowing cold air through open air vents

If you turn on your heater on the first cold night of the season, only to discover that it’s blowing cold air, you have every right to be concerned. It’s even worse if your heating system fails when you have a home full of children, grandchildren or other guests, who might have trouble spending time at your home because it’s so cold.

Thankfully, there are some things you can try to troubleshoot furnace issues. There are also some preventative steps you can take to reduce the chance of your heater malfunctioning at the worst possible time or creating a larger and possibly dangerous issue.

Whether a furnace issue is something you can fix on your own depends on the root cause. Many complex heating matters, such as problems with the burner, flame sensor, oil tank, thermocouple, gas valve, ignition, oil filter, duct or computerized controls, require the help of a professional.

However, homeowners … Read Full Post »

Cockroach Identification and Management Tips

A German cockroach

You turn on the light in the morning to get started with your day when you see a brown bug scurry out of sight. You’re pretty sure you just saw a cockroach, but, if you are being honest with yourself, you admit that you’re in denial. It could’ve been something else, right? After all, you work hard to keep your home nice and clean.

Well, the unfortunate truth is that cockroaches can make their way into even the tidiest of homes. And, while there are many different species of cockroaches, in general, these creatures are flat insects, and many species will have two pairs of wings that lay flat on their back. Their color ranges from light brown to black, and size can vary from as small as a half of an inch in length all the way up to two inches long. While finding a cockroach is never ideal, some … Read Full Post »

I Have Bats in My Attic: What Should I Do?

A roosting bat in an attic

One night as the sun was setting, you started hearing odd squeaking noises from up above. As it got darker, you saw something fly out of your attic. After the shock of the situation wore off, you started to wonder if you have bats in your attic, and if so, what you should do. And, perhaps most importantly, what can you do to keep them from coming back?

Over 40 types of bats make their home in the United States. Bats can seek shelter in buildings to be protected from predators. These flying mammals can squeeze their way into very small spaces—even as small as a half to a quarter inch—to make their way into chimneys, walls, attics and other structures. Most bats will be on the move from September through April as they seek a place to hibernate. While bats make high-frequency sounds that are inaudible to humans to fly … Read Full Post »

How to Paint Trim Without Tape and Other Tips

a homeowner wearing red and yellow painting gloves with a paintbrush in hand getting ready to paint trim without tape

Updating a room with a new coat of paint is an inexpensive and relatively easy way to redecorate the whole house. Painting is a great home project—with just a roller, a can or two of paint and a few hours of your time, you can freshen up your space. But many people decide to forego painting the trim, since it seems like more of a detailed project requiring lots of precision and attention to detail. The mere idea of taping it all off is enough to turn some people off! The good news is, it’s actually fairly simple to learn how to paint trim without tape and make it look great. All you need is a few simple tips and tricks to make sure you’re doing the job right. If it turns out to be too big of a job, you can call in a professional to ensure that it … Read Full Post »

Not Sure What Fleas Look Like? Identification Tips

A flea biting a human

If you’ve ever had itchy bites on your skin and asked yourself whether they might be flea bites, you’ve probably also wondered what fleas look like. If you’ve never encountered these creatures before, you’re lucky, but also means you may be in the dark about whether you might have a flea problem. Unfortunately, fleas are so small and move so quickly, that they can be hard to spot, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Fleas are about the same size and color as a speck of black pepper, and their eggs are smaller than grains of sand. Unless you have sharp eyesight, you could have fleas in your midst—even infesting your home—and not realize it.

Why should you worry about fleas? After all, while they do bite, they don’t carry or transmit diseases to humans or our pets as some types of insects do. But they are still … Read Full Post »