ABC Blog

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 »

15 Native Plants Every Texan Needs (Part 1)

Landscaping will be more enjoyable and require less maintenance if you use plants native to your own regional climate. Native plants are easy to care for and resist pests and diseases. Because they’ve naturally adapted to their environment over thousands of years, they won’t need as much fertilizer and water as non-native plants.

If you aren’t familiar with the plants native to Texas, here are a few examples of Texas trees and shrubs ideally suited to the Bryan and College Station climate.

Native Texas Trees

Trees are the largest and most long-lived parts of your landscape. You don’t want to put time and effort into planting a fabulous tree only to watch it wither and die two or three years later. Choosing native varieties will give you plants that will thrive in the Texas heat and require far less water than their northern cousins.

• Live Oak—The live oak is a drought-tolerant shade tree … 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 »

Five Everyday Activities That Could Be Destroying Your Plumbing

Every day, you might be making some simple mistakes that could be destroying your plumbing. As much as you might like to become best friends with the plumbers in Austin, we’d like to offer some helpful tips to avoid major plumbing disasters.

Some plumbing issues are just annoying, while others can actually pose a hazard to your family’s health. Minor issues quickly escalate into expensive ordeals if not dealt with properly. Follow these tips to avoid learning the hard way.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Hair clogs are a common cause of blocked drains in showers, bathtubs and sinks. Avoid brushing your hair right over the sink, and always put the hair from your comb or brush directly in a trashcan. When washing your hair, be mindful of the hair that you lose, and gather it after each shower or bath. Keep a small trashcan nearby so that you can quickly dispose of the … Read Full Post »

Things That Ruin a Garbage Disposal

Before you toss that banana peel down the drain, find out which things can bring your garbage disposal to a grinding halt

The garbage disposal is responsible for more residential plumbing calls than any other single device. By knowing which foods are fine for the disposal and which aren’t, you can avoid the expensive fees of the handyman.

The Power of Cleaning

You can give your garbage disposal a lot of help simply by running cold water. This will help flush food through the drainage lines and prevent a clog from forming. Adding ice and salt to your disposal every so often can keep it clean and sparkling.

Things That Ruin a Garbage Disposal

By keeping the following things out of the drain, you can avoid expensive appliance repair:

  • Bones

The remnants of chicken tenders may be fine for the disposal, but you should avoid putting bones of any kind down the drain. Even very small bones … Read Full Post »

Need Some Extra Cash? Take a Look at Your Tank

Don’t let your hot water heater drain you out of house and home

How much hot water do you use each day? You’re probably not running your tap nonstop, so what is your water heater doing the rest of the time?

If it’s the normal, tank-type variety, it’s probably pretty busy. Nobody puts in a requisition for hot water. With no idea of when you’re going to want it, your heater must stand at the ready, keeping the water continually toasty in case you make a request.

It does this by making steady demands on your energy supply. If it didn’t keep working around the clock, the water in the tank would not remain hot for long.

What if you never had to waste energy keeping your water hot? What if you could heat it on demand at the moment you need it?

With a tankless water heater, that’s exactly what you can do.

The Workings … Read Full Post »

Avoid Large Irrigation Bills This Summer with These 5 Easy Tips

Stop pouring water and money down the drain

Thanks to the arid Texas weather, it’s often necessary to install an irrigation system that keeps your landscape looking good. However, this system may cost a fortune to operate. Here are five easy tips to help you keep irrigation expenses down this summer.

1. Run the Sprinkler in the Morning

Early in the day, the temperature is cool and wind is usually at a minimum, which means that less water will be lost from evaporation. Watering your plants at night can cause diseases to form on leaves and roots. Most often this is a problem in a humid climate like Texas.

2. Check for Leaks

If water appears to be running onto your sidewalks after your sprinkler has been turned off, there may be a leaky valve in your system. This can cause a great increase in irrigation bills because water is constantly running. Many times this … Read Full Post »

Growing a Greener Lawn in 5 Steps

The greening of San Antonio lawns

Choosing the right grass for lawns in south-central Texas can reduce maintenance headaches. The recommended types are St. Augustine, Zoysia, Bermuda and Buffalo. There aren’t any distinct advantages of one over the other, although buffalo grass is native to this area. All four types require irrigation, regular mowing, seasonal fertilization and pest control management.

The Grass Is Thirsty

If there’s one thing that keeps grass green, it’s an adequate amount of watering at the right times. This means you can’t count on San Antonio’s unpredictable showers to keep your lawn irrigated. Water your lawn as needed, which means observing the blades for signs of stress. St. Augustine and Zoysia grasses demand heavy irrigation. Buffalo grass requires only half an inch of water to thrive.

In general, water to a depth of six inches every four to five days. Determine the length of time that sprinklers should be left … Read Full Post »

Cockroaches and Humans: Why Can’t We Get Along?

Waging a war on bugs with advanced pest control services

Saying that people and cockroaches have an antagonistic relationship is a gross understatement. We hate them and they love us—at least, they love our cozy, food-filled homes. Fortunately, people have become a little better at defending their territory against these creepy crawlies. Here in Dallas, homeowners square off against American, Oriental and German cockroaches. As you may have guessed, each variety has its own charms. American cockroaches are large and proficient fliers. Oriental roaches are particularly scary looking. German roaches are smaller, but they make up for that in numbers.

Wonderful Roaches

Cockroaches are one of the most successful life forms ever. They’re found in modern cities, forests and every continent except Antarctica. There’s a lot to learn from these primitive yet highly adaptable bugs. For example, how do cockroaches survive in such dirty places? Researchers in Great Britain found the answer: Locust … Read Full Post »

Flower Power! The Year’s Most Colorful Landscaping Trends

Whether you add it with foliage, flowers or focal points, your garden needs color in each season. Here are some color trends for this year’s landscaping.

Flower Power!

Deep purples, metallic colors, and lime greens are bold colors in landscaping this year, while bright yellows, deep reds and hot pinks are always welcome.

Wildflowers blossom throughout the year in Central Texas, and the Texas bluebonnets are a popular tourist attraction. They’re a great example of flowers that require little maintenance and bloom spectacularly year after year. Using plants that are adapted to the climate in Central Texas allows you to spend less time watering and more time enjoying.

Reds

Flame acanthus flowers are a wonderful red-orange color and make a hot spot in your landscape. They attract hummingbirds almost as readily as they draw our own eyes. They do just fine with no watering, but a little splash now and then causes them to bloom … Read Full Post »