ABC Blog

10 Ways to Clobber the Cost of Winter Heating Bills

Cutting HVAC costs doesn’t have to be uncomfortable

San Antonio isn’t known for harsh winter weather, but high heating expenses can still be a problem. Some dwellings lack the energy-saving features and materials that are common in northern states. Many homes also depend on relatively expensive energy sources. The state government reports that 65% of Texans use electric heat. Fortunately, you can cut costs with these handy tips:

1. Don’t forget to open curtains when the sun shines on your windows. This simple task can make a room much warmer.

2. Seal cracks around drafty window frames, pipes and doorways. Caulk and weather stripping hold warmth indoors and stop cold air from entering your home.

3. Consider adding more insulation to the attic. This will help your home retain heat in the winter and stay cool during San Antonio’s long summer. It muffles outdoor noise as well.

4. Keep an eye on the thermostat. Always … Read Full Post »

Do Wasps Fly South for the Winter?

There aren’t any beachfront retirement communities for wasps

During the warm season, wasps can be a serious scourge for homeowners across the San Antonio area. They’re especially problematic for homeowners with children and small pets. However, most observant San Antonians notice that wasps tend to either become scarcer or disappear completely during the winter. If you’ve ever wondered why this happens, we have some insight for you.

Wasp Life Cycles at a Glance

The life cycle of Texas wasps is an interesting, highly seasonal affair. As colonial creatures, wasps’ lives center around their distinctive-looking nests. These can typically be found in or near cracks and crevices on the sides of buildings, trees, or other structures.

During the spring, a new colony forms after a queen, aided by her workers, selects a suitable spot. The workers spend the spring, summer, and early fall months expanding and maintaining this nest. Meanwhile, the queen lays eggs for … Read Full Post »

Which Pests are Most Active in the Winter?

Dealing with Rodents and Bugs During the Cold Season

Although Austin never gets as cold during the winter as areas in the upper half of the U.S., there’s a winter cool down that can make many bugs and other pests seem to disappear. However, homeowners need to be aware of the fact that there are still a large quantity of pests that will be looking to gain access to the indoors throughout the fall and winter months. Fortunately, you can easily deal with this problem by utilizing the services of a professional pest control company.

What Type of Pests Are Most Common During Austin Winters?

Rodents of all types will be on the lookout for a safe, warm haven where they can pass the winter months without being exposed to the elements. Unfortunately, this haven is generally your home, and the amount of damage that can be caused within your walls and to … Read Full Post »

Why Birds in the Trees Are Bad for Business

Nuisance birds can deter customers and hurt profits

Birds can be a beautiful part of the landscape, but they become problematic when crowded into close quarters with people. Nuisance birds can cause damage to your company property and drive away customers, necessitating costly control measures that eat into your bottom line.

Common Pest Birds

Several nuisance birds populate urban areas, including:

  • Pigeons
  • Starlings
  • House sparrows

All three species prefer to nest in sheltered, elevated areas such as window ledges. Over time, birds may become dependent on people for food and living space, making them more difficult to remove.

Problems With Nuisance Birds

Large numbers of birds gathered in public areas can cause a lot of trouble. Aside from getting in the way and sometimes reaching numbers that border on creepy, flocks of nuisance birds leave behind large amounts of droppings. These not only deface your building and property but can also cause structural damage such as rust and corrosion … Read Full Post »

How to Keep Your Lawn Beautiful This Winter

Winterize your outdoor space to ensure a healthy lawn in the spring

Autumn has a way of becoming winter in the blink of an eye. Before your lawn gets overtaken by frost or disappears under an unexpected layer of snow, it needs special attention. Try these tips to get your grass ready for the cold.

Get Rid of the Leaves

The carpet of accumulated leaves covering your grass deprives it of light, which can result in an unhealthy, brown lawn come spring. Though it can be a tedious job, breaking out the rake and cleaning up allows the grass to breathe. Using the mower to turn debris into mulch is another option, but this won’t break up thatch the way raking can.

Feed Your Grass Right

Frost is the determining factor as to whether you should fertilize your lawn before winter. If you have warm-season grass and anticipate that it will freeze over during winter, … Read Full Post »

Why Your Heating System Loves a Good Tune-Up

Staying safe, saving money and enjoying a more reliable heating system

Heating system tune-ups and routine maintenance is an investment that provides a host of benefits for your heating system, your health and your home.

Improved Health and Safety

As furnaces age, they often develop cracks that can compromise combustion and leak carbon monoxide gas into your home. This toxic gas has no color or odor, and a buildup can cause negative health symptoms. Routine tune-ups catch cracks early so the necessary repairs can be done to prevent a potentially dangerous situation.

Less Need for Repairs

Speaking of repairs, investing in a tune-up now means not having to get your heating system fixed later. A furnace or HVAC that’s operating as it should experiences less strain than one that’s barely getting by with old, worn or dirty parts. Cleaning and maintaining home heating equipment prolongs its life as well, and maintenance is certainly much cheaper … Read Full Post »

Cooler Weather Won’t Deter Termites

Why wintertime doesn’t mean you’re safe from infestations

Winter may bring cooler temperatures to the Austin area, but that’s not enough to stop termite activity. Even in the chilliest months of the year, your home may be vulnerable to damage from these pests.

Termites in Winter?

Climates where winter is on the warmer side are more likely to see termite activity throughout the year. Termites don’t hibernate, so if it gets too cold outside, they’re likely to seek shelter indoors. Subterranean termites simply burrow deeper under the ground. Drywood termites live inside anything made of wood including support beams, walls and furniture. If you already have either type of termite in or around your home, the extent of the infestation won’t diminish come winter. That means you have to be on the lookout for signs that suggest you’re cohabitating with wood-eating pests.

Wintertime Termite Damage

The only common sign of termites you probably won’t see … Read Full Post »

Where Do Rasberry Crazy Ants Come From?

A bug that makes people nostalgic for fire ants

Back in 2002, the Rasberry crazy ant was identified by an exterminator named Tom Rasberry. The voracious insect regularly attacks animals, infests pantries and damages air conditioners. They’ve spread to many parts of Texas and the southern United States in recent years.

Origin

There’s still some uncertainty about the history of the Rasberry crazy ant. Nonetheless, the most common theory is that humans accidentally transported it from South America to Texas. This invasive species was a common pest in Colombia before it reached the United States, according to Texas A&M University. It continues to infest new parts of the state and the Gulf Coast region.

Transit

Rasberry crazy ants don’t always need to travel on foot. Cargo trains, boats, airplanes and trucks can inadvertently spread them. This may occur when vehicles carry agricultural products or trash. To prevent further infestations, be sure to examine potted plants … Read Full Post »

Millipedes and Centipedes: Does the Difference Matter?

Which Arthropods Should Lead to a Pest Control Visit?

Millipedes and centipedes are both lumped under the heading of Arthropod, but this doesn’t mean that they should be treated equally. In fact, millipedes can actually be beneficial if you have a garden, but centipedes are harmful and should be dealt with quickly. Many people get confused about the physical differences between these two creatures, so it’s a good idea to take some time to familiarize yourself with them so that you can instantly determine whether or not it’s necessary to contact a professional pest control company.

How Can I Tell Centipedes and Millipedes Apart?

Centipedes have long antennae and one pair of visibly extended legs per body segment. These Arthropods are also fast runners, predatory in their eating habits and able to bite as a defensive tactic. Meanwhile, millipedes have short antennae and two pairs of legs in all but three of their … Read Full Post »

Fabulous Foliage: How to Keep Trees and Bushes Healthy This Winter

Getting your trees and decorative plants ready for the cooler weather

Winter in the San Antonio area can bring cool temperatures that affect the trees and bushes adorning your lawn. Protect your precious plants from damage with these tips.

Keep Plants Hydrated

Dryness is the enemy of plants during the winter. As it becomes harder to take up water, leaves may brown and begin to die off even on evergreens. Continue to water your lawn regularly throughout the fall and don’t stop until the first hard freeze.

Make It Moist

To ensure that plants hold the water you give them, place a thick layer of mulch around the roots. This preserves the moisture content of the soil. Mulch also serves to insulate tree and shrub roots from cold and the drying effects of winter sun and wind. Spraying evergreens with an anti-desiccant offers an added layer of protection.

Wrap Up

Strong winter winds whip tree branches with … Read Full Post »