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Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs: Identification Tips

The idea of a bug sharing the space where you sleep is not one to take lightly—especially if it’s one that bites! If you spotted a tiny bug wandering around your bedroom, your first instinct might have been to assume that it is a bed bug. However, there are more bugs that look like bed bugs than you might expect. While the complete list could be quite long, the short list is fleas, immature roaches, booklice, carpet beetles, bat bugs and ticks.

So, how can you know if that minuscule visitor was really a bed bug? Here are a few characteristics of bed bugs that can tip you off to the presence of these bloodsucking creatures:

  • Adults are reddish-brown to black in color.
  • A bed bug that hasn’t had a blood meal recently is usually oval-shaped and flat. After feeding, these parasites will swell up, become longer and change color to redder to … Read Full Post »

Can Mosquitoes Bite Through Clothes?

can mosquitoes bite through clothes

Mosquitoes are a problem for most of the year in the warmer parts of the country. But even so, it can feel like they come back earlier each year. You thought you were at least going to have a few weeks of relaxation in beautiful weather before they showed up again, but these bloodsucking pests had different plans. As you’re relaxing in your backyard you may be wondering: Can mosquitoes bite through clothes? Will I be safe from these biting insects if I just cover up?

Mosquitoes prefer to access blood directly through the skin, but that doesn’t mean they won’t use their proboscis to get to the blood through the clothes you are wearing. Generally speaking, loose, long-sleeved and light-colored clothes significantly reduce the chances of your getting a mosquito bite. That being said, they do not completely remove the possibility of being bitten.

Let’s look at some specific examples.

Can Mosquitoes … Read Full Post »

What Do Termites Look Like In Florida? Tips For Identification

what do termites look like in Florida

Most homeowners do their best to keep any and all bugs out of the house. Unfortunately, some bugs are arguably worse than others, and some are harder than others to detect. Termites fall into both categories: They are some of the most destructive insects around—the National Pest Management Association estimates they cause American homeowners five billion dollars’ worth of damage each year—and since they build their colonies out of sight, they can easily go undetected for long periods of time. If you’ve never seen a termite before, you might wonder, What do termites look like in Florida? Learning the answer to this question will help you identify these undesirable pests, hopefully before they cause costly structural damage to your home.

As do termites in any state, termites in Florida look a lot like large ants with wings. There are some subtle differences between termites and flying … Read Full Post »

Does Baking Soda Kill Ants? Your Questions Answered

does baking soda kill ants

Despite your best efforts cleaning up sugary spills around the house, those little black bugs continue to haunt you.  You are now left with the same old dilemma: How do you get rid of these insects in a way that’s safe for both your kids and your pets? You’ve tried the “natural” over-the-counter stuff with middling results, and this time you’re looking for something effective. You’ve heard stories of household items like baking soda and cornmeal killing ants. Well, can baking soda kill ants? From what you’ve heard, this common household product doesn’t just kill ants—it causes them to explode!

Baking soda is a leavening agent. That means it produces air bubbles and air pockets. So, the theory is that if an ant eats the granules, carbon dioxide bubbles will form, and eventually these bubbles will cause the ant to explode from the inside out. Gross, but also very effective if … Read Full Post »

Which Zoysia Grass Type Is Right For My Lawn?

Zoysia grass types

Most homeowners quickly realize that keeping a healthy, green carpet of grass in their yards is much more difficult than they originally anticipated. While most species commonly found in residential areas share similar characteristics, there are some distinctive qualities that make some types do better or worse under some conditions, particularly in parts of the country that are hot with little rainfall.

The most common warm-season species are bermudagrass, buffalo grass, centipede grass, seashore paspalum, St. Augustine and Zoysia grass. Zoysia is a popular choice for homeowners because it can tolerate shade, drought, cold and traffic. Better yet, these species have a low fertilizer requirement. With dozens of varieties to choose from, Zoysia grass types can provide slightly different advantages, depending on what you need, how much time you want to spend on your lawn and the conditions in your lawn. The quality and availability of each cultivar can vary by … Read Full Post »

My Pool Turned Green Overnight: What Should I Do?

pool turned green overnight

It can be a nasty shock when you discover that the normally clear, sky-blue water in your pool turned green overnight. Why is my pool green? Typically, algae is the source of green pool water, and it’s certainly possible that it took over quickly, even overnight. This is especially likely if it is very warm outside, since algae blooms more rapidly in warmer temperatures. It is even more common, however, for there to have been an ongoing, undetected chemical imbalance in your pool water that enabled algae to grow.

As a rule of thumb, the deeper the shade of green, the more algae has bloomed. If your pool has just a mild green tint to it, that’s a good thing—it means you’ve likely noticed the problem before it has gone too far, which should make it easier to treat. The first step toward getting your pool back to normal? Determining the … Read Full Post »

Does Lavender Really Repel Bed Bugs?

Does lavender really repel bed bugs

Waking up in the morning to find yourself covered in itchy, irritated red bumps is a shocking experience. If the bumps are situated in lines along your skin instead of in more random clusters, you might be even more concerned, as that is a common bite pattern associated with bed bugs. Instantly, you may wonder if these unwelcome pests are infesting your mattress or other areas of your home. If you’ve ever heard about natural repellents alleged to be effective in controlling these insects, you might wonder, does lavender really repel bed bugs?

Unfortunately, lavender is not an effective method to keep bed bugs away. Public health officials recognize the significant psychological toll an infestation can have and advise against DIY bed bug control methods and in favor of enlisting an experienced pest professional to deal with the problem. In order to completely eliminate bed bugs from your home, entomologists recommend … Read Full Post »

Household Bugs In Florida: Which Ones To Watch Out For

household bugs Florida

You can’t keep your home free of insect invaders if you don’t know much about the different types of household bugs in Florida. Most residents are surprised to learn that our state is an ideal habitat for a long list of these small creatures, including roaches, beetles, flies, cicadas, ants, bees and wasps, earwigs, moths and butterflies, mantids, crickets and grasshoppers, as well as several other types of uninvited insect guests.

While many of us have noticed an ant crawling behind our morning cup of coffee or even a roach scurrying along one of the surfaces in your bathroom late at night, there may be other creatures lurking inside your home that you aren’t as familiar with. That’s when it’s good to arm yourself with knowledge, so you can both identify what it is you are seeing and know how to evict these critters from your home. In this post, we’ll … Read Full Post »

Why Is Water Backing Up Into My Bathtub?

Water Backing Up Into Bathtub

Perhaps it happened when you decided to hop into the shower one evening after a long day. Just as your stress began to recede, you noticed you were standing in water up to your ankles, and it was still rising—and suddenly, what was supposed to be a relaxing way to unwind became a new stressor in your life as you wondered why you might have water backing up into the bathtub.

Since kitchens and bathrooms are high-traffic areas in most houses, most people depend on their plumbing to function properly, day in and day out. When any part of the bathroom is suddenly out of commission, it causes a big disruption in the daily routine.

It’s a relief when there is an easy fix to the problem, but unfortunately, this is often not the case when it comes to water backing up into a bathtub. The most likely culprit for this particular … Read Full Post »

Grass Spiders In Texas: Can They Hurt Me Or My Lawn?

Grass spiders Texas

Most of us who live here in the Lone Star State are familiar with the saying “Everything’s bigger in Texas”. When it comes to our size and our state pride, that’s usually a good thing. In some other situations, however, this phrase can extend to other topics which can easily evoke feelings of pure terror. Depending on your level of comfort with these eight-legged creatures, grass spiders in Texas could certainly fit into this category.

Why is that, exactly? There are probably several reasons many homeowners are frightened of any spiders they may run across on their property. First of all, there two types of Texas spiders that are venomous: the black widow and the brown recluse. While neither of these species is aggressive, and the risk of getting bitten is low, most of us can’t quickly identify whether what we saw in our grass or our closet was dangerous or … Read Full Post »