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Can Cats Smell Mice?

a cat that has sniffed out a mouse in a garden

We have all seen the popular cartoons about a cat trying to chase down a mouse and going nuts as the mouse plays all sorts of tricks on it, but how much of this is true in real life? It has been said that animals have an ability to sense that something is different or wrong in their environment long before humans have any idea that something is going on. When it comes to cats and mice, this is definitely true.

Cats have many of the same kinds of heightened senses that some of the world’s top predators use to track down their prey. This gives cats an increased ability to smell mice, but cats are not the only pets with this type of talent. Like their feline friends, dogs can smell mice too.

On average, both cats and dogs have a better sense of smell than humans. That is one reason … Read Full Post »

Does Salt Kill Fleas? How To Control These Pests

a salt shaker that has been knocked over

Fleas can invade your home by hanging onto your pet or another animal in your neighborhood. Once these pests make it into your house, they often spread quickly and can be tough to get rid of. Thankfully, a pest control professional can help you free your house of fleas and reclaim your home from these pests as soon as possible. However, if you prefer to handle the infestation on your own, there are a number of flea control options that you might consider.

A common natural remedy for controlling fleas is to spread table salt or sea salt that you might have in your cabinet. Salt naturally absorbs moisture, so when you sprinkle it on fleas, it dries out their bodies. This is because many pests like fleas take in oxygen through tiny tubes all over their bodies. When they breathe in salt through these tubes, it can kill them

To use … Read Full Post »

How To Identify Spider Bites Versus Bed Bug Bites

a bed bug crawling on someone

Most of the time, we do not see the bugs that bite us. In fact, we might not even know we have bites until long afterward. At this point, it is too late to catch the pest in action. What makes things more complicated is that many different kinds of bug bites look alike. If you do not know when you were bitten or where you were when it happened, it’s difficult to know what bug bit you.

Two of the most common offenders are spiders and bed bugs. These bug bites can make you itch in the same kind of way as flea or mosquito bites can. They can also make you itch like hives or chickenpox. Their bites might look similar, but there are some things you can look out for to help figure out what kind of pest bit you.

One sign to watch for is the pattern of … Read Full Post »

How Long Does It Take to Pressure Wash a House?

a homeowner pressure washing their home

When you want to pressure wash your house, one thing you will likely consider is how long the project will take. Will you need a couple hours to finish the job? A whole weekend? Something in between?

In general, it takes around three to five hours to pressure wash a small to medium-sized house. This estimate includes the time needed to complete the basic steps involved in power washing, such as:

  • preparing the area you want to clean;
  • setting up your equipment;
  • spreading detergent on the area;
  • letting the detergent set;
  • rinsing off the cleaning solution;
  • cleaning up the project area and
  • putting your equipment away.

However, the exact amount of time for each pressure wash job depends on several different factors. Here are some reasons why your project might take more or less time.

The Size of Your Home

It might be obvious that power washing a 5,000 square foot home will usually take longer than trying to wash a … Read Full Post »

How To Trim a Crepe Myrtle Tree

a large pink crepe myrtle tree

Crepe myrtles can be a gorgeous and relatively low-maintenance tree that will spruce up your yard. Not only are they drought tolerant, but they can also survive through humidity and high temperatures. However, homeowners can accidentally ruin these colorful trees if they are not careful. It is important to follow a few helpful maintenance tips to keep your crepe myrtles healthy and beautiful.

For one, excessive trimming can ruin a crepe myrtle. Only young crepe myrtle trees need pruning, and these saplings should be pruned with great care. Cutting back too many or too few branches when the tree is young can make the tree unhealthy, unattractive and difficult to maintain once it gets older.

The first step is to make sure you are pruning at the right time of year. It is important to wait until late winter or very early spring before new growth begins to cut into your trees. … Read Full Post »

Southern House Spider: Identification Tips

a southern house spider climbing up a wall

There are more than 45,000 different kinds of spiders that live in areas across the world. Fortunately, most of the spiders in the U.S. are not dangerous to humans.

One common spider in this part of the world is the southern house spider (Kukulcania hibernalis). This spider is sometimes also referred to as a southern crevice spider. As their name implies, these spiders live in Texas, Florida and other southern states. They are typically found in a variety of manmade structures, including houses, bridges and barns. They like to live in dark, sheltered spaces of a structure, such as in the crevices of windowsills and overhangs of a home.

Identifying Male Versus Female Southern House Spiders

Interestingly, male and female southern house spiders look very different from one another. The females are about half an inch to three-quarters of an inch long. Females are a charcoal gray color with dark patches. The end … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Water Bill So High?

a home with a slab leak

When homeowners notice a spike in their water bill, it can often lead to finger-pointing and frustration. Maybe you’re just noticing that your water pressure isn’t as great as it used to be or your toilet won’t flush all the way. Most homeowners find that an increase in their water bill is due to a leak or change in water use. If you have kids home from college or a new garden that you’re watering more, you also may see an increase in your water bill. And, did you know something as simple as a dripping faucet can waste more than 20 gallons of water a day?

Other common high water bill culprits include:

  • A leaky toilet
  • Filling or topping off a swimming pool
  • A leaking or malfunctioning sprinkler system
  • Malfunctioning humidifiers attached to a furnace
  • Hosting guests
  • Large leaks, … Read Full Post »

Why Are the Coils Frozen on My AC Unit?

A white kitchen with flowers on the table

If your AC seems to be cycling on and off more often, running longer, blowing warmer air or in general not working well, it’s time to investigate. The sooner an AC problem is fixed, the better. When an AC stops working, it’s not only uncomfortable and inconvenient; it can be downright dangerous. When your AC malfunctions, you may wonder, “Are the coils frozen on my AC unit?” If you fear you have a frozen evaporator coil on your AC unit, it should be diagnosed quickly to avoid bigger and more costly problems.

By now, you might be wondering, what is an evaporator coil and what does it do? The evaporator coil is the part of the air-conditioning system that absorbs heat from the air inside a house. It is a series of U-shaped tubes filled with refrigerant and connected to the indoor components of the AC system.

Depending on the AC system, … Read Full Post »

What’s the Best Fertilizer for Bermuda Grass?

a homeowner preparing to fertilize their grass

Lots of people love bermuda grass because it thrives in so many conditions. It’s fine with humidity but also drought-tolerant. It feels good on your feet, yet can handle lots of foot traffic. There’s plenty to love about this low-maintenance grass. But, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a little care throughout the year, including the right fertilizer. The best fertilizer for bermuda grass is one with plenty of nitrogen, some potassium and little to no phosphorus. This blend of nutrients, called the NPK ratio, will help your bermuda grass look its best.

Most fertilizers come in liquid, water-soluble or granular form. Both liquid and water-soluble fertilizers are easy to apply. You attach the fertilizer container to your garden hose and spray an even layer throughout the yard. Liquid fertilizers absorb quickly, which means they may need to be applied more often than other forms, like granular fertilizer. This dry form … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Tankless Water Heater Not Heating?

a cold shower because the tankless water heater is not heating up

In normal circumstances, tankless water heaters usually have many benefits. These types of heaters are known for saving homeowners money and providing hot water more quickly than other kinds of water heaters. But, when your tankless water heater is not heating properly, it can make for a really bad day—especially if it stops working when your friends or other guests are visiting.

There are several different reasons why a tankless water heater would not be heating.

Sediment Buildup

Over time, mineral sediments can build up in your water heater and throughout your plumbing system. This holds especially true if the water supply in your area is “hard” or has a high concentration of minerals. When this happens, water leaves behind particles of magnesium, calcium and other minerals wherever it goes. This includes your water heater, pipes, water filter and other parts of your home’s plumbing system.

If a thick layer of minerals builds up, … Read Full Post »