ABC Blog

What Are the Signs of a Rat Infestation?

a rat in a garden

A potential rat infestation is an unpleasant reality of being a homeowner. However, when you know the signs of rats, you can catch an infestation in its early stages.

For example, it’s important to know what rat droppings look like and how they differ from the droppings of other rodents. You should also know about their nests and the materials they use to form them. Understanding their habits and hiding spots will also help you identify the source of your rat infestation.

Next, it’s important to know about the diet of a rat so that you can take measures to keep them out of your kitchen and lawn. Additionally, there are simple ways to make your home inhospitable to rats that all homeowners should remember.

Finally, it’s valuable to know about the sleeping patterns of rats. Rats are hard to catch because they are active at night. This guide will tell you everything … Read Full Post »

Heat Isn’t Working in the House: What’s Wrong?

a home where the heat is not working

When the weather finally turns cool, we want our furnaces to kick on when necessary. When they don’t or when the furnace turns on but there’s no heat, we want to know why and fast. Here are several reasons the heat isn’t working as it should.

Check the Setting

It might seem silly, but not having the thermostat set to heat is often why the heater isn’t turning on. Simply set the desired temperature and turn the unit to “heat” and things should start working correctly.

Safety Switches

All furnaces built after the 1990s have safety switches. They play a crucial role in your heating system. If you have a gas-fueled heater and a switch detects that gas is being supplied to the heater but is not igniting, the switch will turn off the system. They will also turn off your heating system if it gets too hot or if they detect a carbon … Read Full Post »

What Kind of Grass Do I Have?

a homeowner's grass

Want to know the first step to growing that lush, perfect lawn you’ve always dreamt of? It’s knowing what kind of grass you have, and how to take care of it. With more than 12,000 species of grass grown worldwide, and dozens of regional varieties in every U.S. state, it can be more difficult than it sounds.

But it doesn’t have to be a guessing game.

Nearly all perennial grass found in U.S. lawns across the fall into one of two categories: cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses.

Cool Season Grasses

They’re called cool-season grasses because the majority of their growth happens during the cooler seasons of the year. A cool-season grass growing in a warmer climate area will likely die during the hotter months of summer and will need to be reseeded each year.

Below are some of the more common grasses found in the cool-season regions of the U.S.

  • Read Full Post »

What Color Are Bed Bugs?

two bed bugs and a bed bug egg

Do you know the typical signs of bed bugs and how to determine them from other types of household pests? The best way to catch a bed bug infestation before it goes too far is to understand the appearance of bed bugs in all parts of their life cycle.

In this article, you will learn what bed bugs look like, what color they are and how their appearance changes before and after a blood meal. You will also discover what bed bug stains look like, as well as other common signs of bed bugs. Equipped with this information, homeowners can catch an infestation even before they spot bed bugs in their home.

A bed bug infestation does not mean that your home is dirty, but it is crucial to treat the problem as soon as possible. This article will highlight how to get rid of these pests.

The Color of Bed Bugs Throughout … Read Full Post »

I Found Mouse Droppings But No Mouse

mouse droppings on floor

You might not have spotted a mouse in your house, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t moved in. There are several other signs that you have a rodent problem that needs immediate attention.

Sudden Appearance of Pellets

A sure sign is droppings around food, in drawers or cupboards (especially in the kitchen) and under a sink. Not everyone is quite sure what they are seeing when they spy droppings in their home, so it’s important to know what mouse droppings look like. What you are looking for are smallish dark pellets, about one-eighth to one-quarter of an inch long, with pointed ends.

It can be easy to want to believe it’s just food particles or something else, but the reality is you have unwanted guests if you are seeing these droppings. You can get a flashlight and take a peek behind cabinets and under sinks and appliances to see if … Read Full Post »

I Have a Slow Flushing Toilet: What Should I Do

a bathroom with a slow flushing toilet

Few things are as alarming to a homeowner as a slow flushing toilet. It certainly is not something you want to happen when guests are on the way! A slow-flushing toilet can be unpleasant to see and cause an unpleasant bathroom odor. Several things generally cause a toilet to flush slowly, and they are something you might or might not be able to handle on your own.

Lower Water Level in Tank

Your toilet’s tank needs to have just the right amount of water in the tank for it to flush correctly. Too little water in the tank means the toilet doesn’t have enough power to empty the bowl completely. If your toilet is only emptying part way or you notice that your toilet won’t flush at all, look in the tank. The water level inside should be about a half-inch below the toilet’s overflow pipe. It’s a quick and relatively simple … Read Full Post »

How to Conserve Water

a sprinkler

About 70% of the Earth’s surface is water. Many people want to do their part to use less water, but it can feel like a daunting task. However, saving a little H2O here and there can add up quickly, and it is easier than you might think. You can use less water without much effort or big changes in your lifestyle.

A very simple way to reduce your water use is to switch from baths to showers. A good soak is relaxing, but it can take almost 80 gallons of water to fill your tub! Showers use far less water and are more efficient for getting clean. Teaching your family to turn off the faucet while brushing teeth or shaving also helps more than you might think.

Using Appliances to Conserve

You can also save some water by using less in the toilet. If you have a high-efficiency model, you are already conserving. … Read Full Post »

What Is Lawn Aeration?

a lawn that has been partially aerated

Lawn care includes a list of maintenance tasks, some performed as needed, others monthly and still others every year. One of these annual jobs to get your yard in the best shape possible is aeration.

By definition, aeration is the introduction of air into a material. In this case, the material is the dirt in your lawn. Most lawns could use a good aeration regularly as long as it is done at the right time and in the right way.

Why Aerate Your Lawn?

Over time, the dirt in your yard will pack down due to people walking on it, mowers driving over it and other activities. When the dirt becomes packed down, grass roots can’t get what they need to grow. Even one-quarter of an inch of compacted dirt will block the air, nutrients and water necessary for your grass to be its healthiest.

The situation is even more of an issue if … Read Full Post »

The Best Christmas Lights in Dallas

Looking for the best holiday lights in Dallas? When the holiday season comes around, one of the best ways to enjoy quality time with your loved ones is to take in spectacular displays of twinkling lights. There’s just something about all that sparkly illumination that brings good cheer and inspires a sense of holiday magic.

Planning ahead is crucial if you want to take in the more popular Dallas holiday lights events. This is true for free events as well as ticketed events. A bit of planning goes a long way when it comes to enjoying a fun experience that is as hassle-free as possible.

Here are the best spots in Dallas for taking in holiday lights, from free neighborhood displays to elaborate ticketed events.

  • Holiday at the Arboretum: Anyone who loves the Christmas carol The 12 Days of Christmas should plan a visit to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden … Read Full Post »

How To Identify Cicada Killer Wasps in Texas

a cicada killer wasp in texas

Cicada killer wasps rarely harm humans, but they can still make people worried due to their large size. They can also cause annoyances to Texas homeowners when they burrow into the ground to build their underground tunnels, leaving a wake of dirt behind them.

Gardens, lawns and even patios are at risk of damage when cicada killer wasps are around. Their tunnels also draw larger pests, like skunks, to your property.

Even though female cicada killers largely ignore humans and males do not have stingers, there is still the possibility of getting stung if the female wasp feels threatened. While their stings are mild, they can hurt your pets.

The first step to getting rid of these pests is to know how to detect them by their appearance and behaviors. It’s also important to be able to tell them apart from more harmful stinging bugs like hornets.

A few cicada killer wasps on your … Read Full Post »