ABC Blog

What Is Compost Used For?

a shovel in a pile of compost

Today, knowledge about the at-home composting process is spreading, thanks to the internet and how-to articles and videos. Composting has never been more accessible for homeowners all across the United States.

Composting can help you reduce your household waste while fertilizing the soil in your lawn. As long as you have a yard, you can compost, regardless of whether you live out in the country or in a suburb.

Keep reading to discover what compost is used for, the differences between compost and loam and the best compost for a vegetable garden.

Composting Basics for Your Yard

At-home compost is a valuable resource for your lawn maintenance. Compost is used to nourish your lawn or garden with crucial nutrients.

Composting is often more popular in rural areas where people grow their own food. Farmers have always understood the importance of using compost. But you don’t have to have a large garden to benefit from composting.

What … Read Full Post »

Can You Use Compost As Mulch?

plants growing in compost

People spend a good deal of time and, often, money creating a landscape that adds beauty and value to their home. From preparing the soil to planting to aftercare, it can be a lot of work. The last thing you want is for all the effort to end up with plants and shrubs that aren’t thriving in their environment. A big way to ensure that your landscaping is living its best life is by adding mulch.

Why mulch? It gives your flower beds and other landscaping a finished look. It also has a number of benefits for the plants themselves. Mulch keeps moisture in the soil and even helps break up any clay. This allows the moisture to dig deep and keep the soil cool in the heat. It also helps resist frost issues in the winter, gives the soil nutrients as the mulch decomposes and blocks weeds from popping up.

You … Read Full Post »

My Dog Has Fleas: What To Do in the House?

Temperatures are rising, bringing more opportunities for outdoor activities and fun in the sun. It isn’t just people and pets that love to be outside and active in warmer weather. Fleas love it, too!

Fleas thrive when temperatures hover between 65-80 degrees and humidity sits between 75 percent and 85 percent. These pests are a summer problem in some parts of the country and almost a year-round menace for more southern states.

Different species of fleas can be found hopping around your home, your yard, your pets and you. You can find dog fleas, cat fleas, rabbit fleas and human fleas, named for the species’ preferred host. However, any type of flea can infest more than one kind of host.

How Do You Know Your Pet Has Fleas?

An obvious way to know Fido has fleas is if you see little dark specks in their fur or tiny brownish insects hopping around on them. … Read Full Post »

When to Trim Crape Myrtles

a crape myrtle bush

Crape myrtles are popular trees because of their beautiful flowers that bloom in spring and hang on through warm summers. Their leaves are stunning in the fall, and even their vase-like shape and bark have their appeal in the winter. The question on many homeowners’ and landscapers’ minds is “When is the best time to prune them?”

Depending on the climate of your area, pruning should take place in late winter or early spring. It should definitely happen before the first blooms start to grow. It is important not to go overboard when cutting back the tree’s pretty branches. Many people cut their crape myrtles down to a nub, which is an eyesore in more than one way.

Not only does it look like a horrible accident, but such a severe trim stops the interesting, mottled bark from forming. Why buy and plant such pleasant trees only to remove all that beauty? … Read Full Post »

My AC Line Is Frozen: What Happened?

Have you noticed that your air conditioner doesn’t seem to have the same cooling power it used to? It’s a good idea to give your AC system a once-over as soon as possible to try to identify the problem.

After removing the cover to your AC, do you notice that the lines or other internal components are frozen, or coated in ice? This is a sign that a bigger problem could be happening.

Why do AC Lines Freeze?

Typically, air conditioner lines freeze up when the unit’s evaporator coils get too cold.

The evaporator coil is one of the key parts of your AC system. The coil is full of refrigerant that is pumped through lines from the compressor. It then absorbs the heat from the air it pulls from the room.

The AC fan blows air over the coils, and this air is cooled as it passes over the refrigerant-filled coils, before blowing back … Read Full Post »

What Are Bed Bugs Attracted To?

a bed bug crawling up a wall

Homeowners all across the United States deal with the presence of bed bugs in their homes. A bed bug outbreak can happen to anyone because bed bugs are attracted to humans in a variety of ways. By learning more about bed bugs and methods of controlling them, you will be better prepared to identify the signs of bed bugs.

What Attracts Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are attracted to blood, heat and the carbon dioxide humans breath out. Because bed bugs are parasites, they feed on the blood of the people and pets in your home. These pests will bite you during the night for up to ten minutes. They prefer to live wherever they can get an easy meal, which is most often in the bedroom. Although bed bugs often bite when you are sleeping, they are not afraid of light. They may bite you, your loved ones or your household pets … Read Full Post »

Why Are There Mosquitoes in My House?

“Why are there mosquitoes in my house?” This is a common question many people ask pest control professionals. Having mosquitoes outdoors is bad enough. Their itchy bites can turn yard work or hanging out on the patio into a miserable experience. But getting mosquito bites inside the house, where you’re supposed to be safe, is even worse. How do they get in, and why do they stay?

Mosquitoes get into the house the same way as any pest: through open doors and windows. They also sneak in through rips in screens or gaps around exterior doors and windows. Mosquitoes are not very strong fliers, so they might seek shelter from the wind inside your home. They are also attracted to standing water since they need water to breed. If they can find a good place to breed indoors, they can become an annoying ongoing problem.

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, and … Read Full Post »

When Do Crape Myrtles Bloom?

a crape myrtle with blooming flowers

Crape myrtles make a beautiful ornamental addition to any yard or garden. There are small, medium and large crape myrtle varieties that can fit almost any space or aesthetic. They boast delicate bloom clusters in colors ranging from white to pink, red, lavender or purple. Best of all, once established, they do just fine in hotter, drier areas without a lot of extra coddling. So when do crape myrtles bloom? They bloom during the hotter months, and can bloom again and again throughout summer.

Many types of crape myrtles bloom first in May, while others wait until mid-summer to show their first flowers. It depends on the type of crape myrtle, but other factors also come into play. Crape myrtles that are planted in too much shade won’t bloom as soon or as often. These trees do best in full sun. They also do well in partial shade. Crape myrtles in … Read Full Post »

Do Air Conditioners Dehumidify?

a plant near a window in a humid home

When the temperatures start to rise, we can all be very thankful for the invention of the air conditioner. The cool air pouring from the vents brings the inside temperatures down to a livable level. The cool air pouring from the vents brings the inside temps down to a livable level.

Hot air might make you uncomfortable, but high humidity can trigger breathing issues for people with asthma or other disorders. It also can increase the chances of mold growing in your home, which is a whole other problem. So removing that moisture from your home’s air is important for several reasons. Doesn’t the air conditioner do the job?

The short answer is yes, but there is more to it. An air conditioner does reduce the amount of moisture in your home. However, it does so as a secondary benefit to its main job, which is to cool the temperature of the … Read Full Post »

Carpenter Ants Versus Black Ants

a carpenter ant on a piece of wood

Finding ants in your kitchen, bathroom or other areas of your home is a pain. There always seems to be more of them after the first one is dealt with. Most of the time they’re just a nuisance. But, some species like carpenter ants can seriously damage the structure (and value) of your home.

At first glance, it can be difficult to notice the differences between species like the common black ant and the carpenter ant. However, there are a few key features that can help you determine which is in your home.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants, pictured above, are big black ants and typically around a half of an inch long. While they are most often black, they can also be red, brown or a combination of those colors. Known for their powerful jaws and painful bites, carpenter ants inject a bite wound with formic acid. This is what causes an intense … Read Full Post »