ABC Blog

Please choose a city to view local blog posts:

Rodent Identification Guide: What Pest Do I Have?

a house mouse

When you suspect you have a rodent problem, the first step is to identify what type has invaded your home. This is because different forms of rodents require different control strategies. Unfortunately, most homeowners aren’t experienced in wildlife identification and control. So, it’s often difficult for them to figure out on their own what kind of creature they’re dealing with. Nonetheless, there are some initial steps you can take to try to identify what kind of pest is in your home or yard.

Although there are many different rodent species out there, ranging from mice to porcupines, not every type of rodent will seek out your property. The most common types of rodents that can live in residential areas are house mice, Norway rats and roof rats. With these rodents, each type has some distinctive characteristics that stick out.

House Mice

As you can see in the image above, house mice are small … Read Full Post »

How To Identify Termite Holes

A termite hole in a baseboard

If you spot tiny holes in wood or drywall somewhere in your home or garage, you might suspect termites as the culprit. It’s important to learn how to identify termite holes so you can determine whether that is what you are seeing, and if so, decide what steps to take to remedy the problem. It’s also smart to learn how to identify termites themselves, as well as common signs of termite activity, so you’ll know as early as possible when a problem is developing. Termites are known to cause extensive, not to mention costly, structural damage to people’s homes—to the tune of over two billion dollars’ worth each year in the United States alone.

Termite holes, also known as termite exit holes or kick-out holes, are tiny openings created when termites tunnel through wood, mud or drywall to the outside. These holes are usually no more than an eighth of an … Read Full Post »

How to Keep Mice Out of Your Shed

a shed in a backyard that is infested with mice

Outdoor sheds are great sheltered places to store lawn care tools, empty pots and other gardening items. But, when your shed starts functioning as a warm, protected shelter for mice, it’s time to intervene. The first step is learning how to keep mice out of your shed. Then, you can take decisive measures to keep your property, including your shed, free of these rodents.

Mice are drawn to sheds, garages and other structures for the same reasons as rats and other wild animals. They are seeking shelter, which means a good place to nest and breed. In warmer months, mice might live quite happily outdoors. But, during the colder months of the year, adequate food and warm shelter are both in short supply. Fall and winter are when mice are most likely to move into your shed and other structures on your property. That said, they breed year-round and are also … Read Full Post »

Do Mice Come Out During the Day?

A mouse out during the day eating a piece of food

People often think that mice are only active at night because they usually spot them or hear them at night. In reality, you can see a mouse any time of day. Mice have just evolved to be more active at night because there are typically fewer dangers for them after the sun goes down. For example, in the wild, mice learned there were fewer predators out when it was dark, so this was the ideal time to go searching for food. This same principle can be applied to mice that are living inside your home. Once you turn off the lights and everyone heads to bed, including your pets, there’s a better chance for mice to find food and build their nests without putting themselves in harm’s way.

However, there are reasons that you might see a mouse out during the day. These rodents may be traveling to a place where … Read Full Post »

My Heater Smells: What’s Going On?

a light colored living room where the heater is blowing smelly air

If your heater has started smelling, all sorts of things could be going on. It could range from a simple issue to a more severe problem. It might mean that your heater needs a tune-up, or it could be something larger like a cracked heat exchanger.

Common heater odors include a burnt dust smell, a musty smell, an oily smell and an electrical burning smell.

If It’s a Burnt Dust Smell

This is one of the most common smells that homeowners notice coming from their heater. It often happens the first cold day or night of the season, when you turn on your furnace after it’s been off for a while.

What causes the smell is usually the burning of dust that has settled on the heater. It typically wears off after the furnace runs for a few hours and the dust has burned off. However, if the smell doesn’t go away, then something … Read Full Post »

Signs of Rats: Identification and Control Tips

a rat coming out from underneath a deck

Have you noticed signs of rats living somewhere in your home, attic or garage? If you suspect you have a rat infestation, it’s unsettling—and trying to address it on your own can quickly lead to frustration, as you learn that setting out a few traps won’t be enough to resolve the problem. Like mice and other wild rodent pests, rats are opportunists. They are also wily, clever animals. They enter people’s homes (and other buildings on the property) in search of food and shelter. If they find an opening, they’ll use it to get inside. Rats are also prolific breeders, so if they have a chance to build a nest, their population can expand quickly.

You may notice signs of rats in your home, but you’re even more likely to find them in your attic, garage, shed or some other less-visited place on your property. Since rats are nocturnal, they’re most … Read Full Post »

What Are the Early Signs of Bed Bugs?

two bed bugs with a bed bug egg, which are some of the early signs of bed bugs

You go to bed one night feeling fine, but wake up the next morning with itchy bites on your skin and disturbing concerns about bed bugs running through your mind. Especially if you’ve recently traveled, you’re wise to wonder about the early signs of bed bugs. Bed bugs hitchhike from one home to another—and even one city to another—by stowing away in luggage, or hiding out in blankets and quilts or in the crevices of used furniture. Fortunately, if you know what bed bugs look like and what some common signs of a bed bug infestation are, you can make a treatment plan so you won’t have to worry about the significant emotional toll that a bed bug infestation can have on your household.

Bed bugs are small, six-legged insects about the size and color of an apple seed, except flatter. They are so flat, in fact, that they can hide … Read Full Post »

Tankless Water Heaters vs. Tank: Which is Best?

tank water heater

When your water heater starts making knocking noises or stops providing adequate hot water for your home—or, worse, it bursts—it’s time to decide on a replacement model that will best fit your needs. When you start looking into the options, however, you might feel overwhelmed by all the choices that are available. Which are better—tankless water heaters or tank water heaters? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type, and which kind is right for your particular home?

If you’re considering making the switch from a traditional tank model to a tankless water heater, it could seem especially daunting to decide whether this is the right move. Tankless heaters typically have higher price tags than tank heaters, though their operating costs over time are lower. Even knowing they’ll likely save money over time, many people balk at the prospect of spending so much money up front.

Of course, there are other … Read Full Post »

Causes of Low Water Pressure in Kitchen Sink

low water pressure in a kitchen sink

If you begin noticing that the water coming out of your kitchen faucet doesn’t have as much pressure as it should, the first thing to check is whether it’s a whole-house issue. Are all the taps affected, or only the kitchen sink? If the kitchen is the only tap with low pressure, it’s time to consider the potential causes of low water pressure in a kitchen sink so you can determine what might be causing it, and fix it.

The most common causes of low water pressure in a kitchen sink are a clogged aerator or a clogged cartridge. The aerator is the part of the faucet that is at the very end of the spout; it is the last thing the water touches before it comes out into the sink. Most aerators become clogged over time due to mineral deposits in hard water. Fortunately, they are simple to clean when … Read Full Post »

Rats Won’t Go Near Traps: What Am I Doing Wrong?

a rat that is staring at a trap but won't go near it

It’s stressful enough to discover there might be rats in or around your home. It’s downright maddening to spend valuable time and money to set traps—only to find that the rats won’t go near your traps. If this kind of infuriating situation is happening to you, don’t panic. And know you aren’t alone. Rats are much more intelligent than many homeowners realize. For example, studies have shown that rats recognize when foods result in harm to another rat in the colony, and then actively avoid these foods in the future. They also notice when an object like a trap is a new addition to their environment, and they avoid it.

One way to get around this hurdle and convince rats to approach the trap is to trick them into thinking the trap is a safe object. Start by placing bait on your trap, but don’t set it quite yet. Once you … Read Full Post »