ABC Blog

The Different Types of Fertilizers

Springtime means that homeowners are fertilizing their lawns. If you want to keep your lawn looking its best this summer, you will want to get an effective fertilizer.

Still, there are so many different fertilizers to choose from. So how do you know which types of fertilizer you need for your lawn?

The main reason you need to fertilize your lawn is to improve soil nutrition. Soil alone does not contain enough nutrients like potassium, phosphorus or nitrogen. Commercial fertilizers are labeled according to their NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) levels. These nutrients are the keys to healthy, green grass.

Keep reading to learn more about different fertilizers and which ones may be best for your lawn. You will also learn about plant food versus fertilizer and whether the best time to fertilize is before or after rain. With a better knowledge of fertilizer types, the grass will always be greener on your … Read Full Post »

How To Identify Bed Bug Casings

bed bug casings and feces in a corner of a dresser

Bed bugs…just thinking about them is enough to make most folks itchy. Cimex lectularius, or bed bugs, are small insects, about the size of an apple seed. Typically, they are brown in color with a flat and oval shape. Like ticks, bed bugs are parasites. They feed on blood and can swell to considerably larger sizes when feeding, which can last up to ten minutes.

Part of what makes these pests difficult to eradicate is their ability to go months at a time without feeding. In the right conditions, bed bugs can go for months without a meal. Additionally, these pests have become resilient to many of the products on the market. To make matter worse, females can lay hundreds of eggs over their lifetime. And, they begin reproducing after only a month, laying eggs three or more times per year.

If you think you may be dealing with bed bugs, look … Read Full Post »

Toilet Bubbles When Flushed: What’s Going On?

a toilet in a house

If your toilet starts making a gurgling noise, or there is bubbling when you flush it, you could be facing issues with your plumbing or septic system.

Slow draining, bubbling or gurgling toilets are common signs of a blockage somewhere in the pipes. These are warning signs of bigger, and even catastrophic plumbing issues down the road, as drainage is blocked and mounting pressure begins to damage your plumbing.

Toilet Clogs

The most common issue behind a noisy or bubbling toilet is a clog somewhere in the system. Waste or other non-flushable materials can get caught and continue to build up, restricting flow and leading to a backed up or overflowing toilet or even pipe damage.

Because of both the expenses and unsanitary conditions this can cause, possible toilet clogs should be dealt with at the first sign of trouble. A few bubbles may not seem like much at first, but they can be … Read Full Post »

What To Do if You Find White Ants in Your Home

a termite that can confused as a white ant

If you’ve found white ants in your home, you’re probably wondering what to do. Are they pests that need to be treated? Is there a product you can use to get rid of them? The important thing to understand is that white ants don’t actually exist. If you see what looks like white ants in or near your home, what you’ve actually found is termites.

Different ant species do come in a variety of colors, including red, brown, black and even yellow. There is no such thing as white ants, however. What some people call “white ants” are actually termites. Depending on which type they are, adult termites are either black or white. They do look a lot like ants, and it’s common to confuse the two. Termites need identification and treatment as soon as possible because they can cause major structural damage to your home.

Subterranean termites are the most common … Read Full Post »

Can Mosquitoes Smell Blood?

a mosquito on a pair of jeans

Being a homeowner is overwhelming. There are so many details to keep up with—both inside and outside of your house. After a long day of household chores, the last thing you want is to deal with pesky mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are both annoying and dangerous. You deserve time to enjoy outdoor relaxation without the threat of itchy bites. Even worse, you do not want to expose yourself or your family to diseases like Zika or the West Nile Virus.

Mosquitoes are a common problem for homeowners across the United States. Are you a homeowner who has been dealing with a mosquito problem in your yard? You may be wondering what is attracting these pests to your home and to your skin.

It’s common to hear that mosquitoes can smell the “sweetness” of human blood, but is this idea actually true? In reality, mosquitoes zero in on the smell of your sweat, not your blood.

It … Read Full Post »

The Best Ornamental Grasses for Texas Yards

muhly grass which is one type of ornamental grass in Texas

Temperatures are inching up, and spring is on the way. That is the time when homeowners’ minds turn to freshening up their landscaping. Maybe you’re considering new plants or shrubs to make your yard look like new. In years past, creating the perfect landscape meant crafting a carefully manicured lawn with trimmed and shaped shrubs and blankets of flowers in neat sections. All this took a lot of time and water to maintain. But there is a new way of landscaping these days.

Before you go out and buy a lot of things that might work in our climate, you could think about the trend of using native plants. Instead of fighting the Texas climate, homeowners are planting things like ornamental grasses. These grasses are suitable for the soil and temperatures here and don’t require an excessive amount of watering. As a bonus, these grasses add a natural beauty to your … Read Full Post »

Your Guide to Carpenter Ants in Texas

two carpenter ants in a texas home

Carpenter ants are a common pest throughout the southern United States, including Texas. Typically, they make their first appearances as the weather begins to turn in late winter. As early spring brings warmer weather, they begin their mating cycle and establish new colonies.

Identification

Carpenter ants, which are pictured above, are one of the larger of the 18 species of ants found in Texas. On average, they are one-quarter to three-eights of an inch in length. Their head is rusty, reddish-brown and their thorax leads to a black body and tail. The flying version of the species is often all black, and can easily be mistaken for termites. To make matters more confusing, they often swarm at the same time. On the other hand, the average worker ants can range in appearance from brownish-yellow to black. Swarmers are most prolific between February and June in Southern areas of the United States. An … Read Full Post »

Room Temperature Doesn’t Match Thermostat Setting

a thermostat that is saying it has reached the desired temperature but the room temperature doesn't match

The summer sun is beating down or winter’s chill arrives, so you set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature. But, your system doesn’t respond. What do you do next?

You could put on a pair of shorts or a parka, depending on the weather, but that doesn’t solve the problem. The best bet would be to contact a professional who knows exactly what to look for. They know how to get things working properly again. Or, you could take a couple of steps yourself first.

You Set the Thermostat Too High or Too Low

Have you set the thermostat a lot higher or lower than the outside temperature? Forcing the HVAC to “hurry up” and heat or cool your home to your desired temperature only makes the unit work harder. This won’t get you to your comfort zone and it isn’t good for the life of the system either.

There’s Debris Inside the Thermostat

The … Read Full Post »

How To Get Rid of Mosquitoes

a mosquito biting someone

Getting bitten by mosquitoes over and over again makes enjoying your yard in the spring and summer almost impossible. No matter how many times you spray repellents, you keep being bitten by these invisible intruders.

Mosquito bites can be annoying, painful and can even make you seriously sick. Mosquitoes can spread diseases to you, your family and your pets. Dangerous diseases like the Zika and the West Nile Virus make the presence of mosquitoes an issue that needs addressing right away.

However, having too many mosquitoes in your yard is a very common problem. Homeowners across the United States, particularly in warmer, southern states like Texas and Florida, deal with these pests all the time.

But, how can homeowners get rid of mosquitoes? In summary, you can prevent mosquitoes on your property and prevent mosquito bites by:

  • Eliminating sources of standing water
  • Keeping your yard well-maintained
  • Repairing window and door screens
  • Regularly changing the water in dog … Read Full Post »

What To Do When Your Main Drain Keeps Clogging

a kitchen with stainless steel appliances

When your toilet doesn’t flush well or your shower starts draining slowly, it can be more than an annoyance. All these situations can be a sign that you have a clog forming in your sewer or septic system. And if wastewater is backing up in your fixtures, it’s a sure sign that your main line is clogged.

What Is a Main Drain?

Your main drain is where all of your homes’ plumbing connects to either a city sewer or a septic system. Branch drains that connect to some of your fixtures, such as all the toilets in your home or the kitchen and bathroom sinks, all meet up at this main drain.

If the water is going down slowly in one sink or a toilet, you probably have a clog in a branch drain. But if you have water coming up in your bathtub, sinks and toilets or all your fixtures are draining … Read Full Post »