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Ironclad Beetle: A Friend Or Foe To Your Plants?

Ironclad beetle

You were doing yard work on a Saturday morning when you noticed a bug unlike any you had ever seen before. What was remarkable was the color. Unlike the typical black or brown coloration that allows insects to blend into their surroundings, this creature was a striking white with black splotches. Your immediate reaction was probably a mix of curiosity and fear. What is this strange bug? Do I need to be worried that it could bite? Does it pose any danger to my plants, pets or family?

Most likely, you’ve had an encounter with an ironclad beetle.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about the impact this insect has on your yard or household. The strange part? Very little is known about this visually distinct insect.

In this post, we’ll explore everything scientists do know about this bug and other similar insects you may run across in your … Read Full Post »

Solving A Common Austin Plumbing Problem: Clogged Drains

Austin plumbing

You’ve had a long, stressful day. All you could think about for the past few hours is slipping into your bathtub to let all that tension flow away.

That’s your only thought as you come in the door. You’re barely paying attention as you turn on the hot water, grab a towel and step into the bath. That’s when you realize you have a problem.

There are three inches of freezing cold water in the bath. What happened?

The faucet water is steaming hot, so that must mean there is an issue with the drain.

You’d thought it was draining more slowly lately, but you never imagined it would completely stop. Well, you’re not about to sit in day-old dirty water, so your bath is going to have to wait.

Hopefully, unclogging the drain wouldn’t take too long, you think to yourself.

Whether it belongs to a sink, shower, tub or toilet, clogged drains are among … Read Full Post »

Black Fly: Treating And Preventing Painful Bites

Black fly

Imagine this: You’re spending time outdoors in spring or summer when a small, grayish-black flying insect lands on your skin and bites you in order to feed on your blood. You smack at it, but it’s too quick—it zips away, leaving you with a red, itchy, painful welt. Not too hard to picture, is it? Most of us far more familiar with mosquitoes than we want to be, but how much do you know about the black fly?

While mosquitoes are a serious annoyance for those of us trying to enjoy some time outdoors through the warmer months of the year, mosquito bites pale in comparison to the nasty bite of the black fly. Unlike mosquitoes, which typically bite people most in the mornings and evenings, black flies bite all day long.

While not as prevalent in the southern states as they are in other regions of the U.S., black flies have … Read Full Post »

What Causes High Humidity In A House?

What causes high humidity in a house

When the temperatures begin to climb, you may detect some changes around your home. Perhaps you catch a whiff of musty air and notice that your windows are getting foggy. Or, maybe you’re relaxing in the kitchen with a glass of lemonade and suddenly you start sweating even though you’re not exerting any physical energy beyond lifting your glass. You might even spot damp spots on your walls and what looks like mold in your shower.

If any of this sounds familiar, your home may have a problem with excessive humidity because your air conditioner is not controlling the level of moisture in your indoor air. Not only will it make you hot and uncomfortable, but also high interior humidity can cause more serious problems like mold, mildew and rust, along with posing potential health risks.

In parts of the country that have hot and humid climates, homeowners often call AC repair … Read Full Post »

How Often To Water Lawn In Summer

How often to water lawn in summer

As we all know, the official start to summer is in late June.

The truth is, homeowners in Texas and other southern states know that temperatures can start inching up in April or May, depending on the year.

Because of this, many people wonder when and how to adjust their lawn watering schedule to ensure that grass and plants survive our dry and hot summer months.

Do you water a little bit every day? Water only once a week, but leave the sprinklers on for a long time to let the water really soak down? Forgo watering altogether because you had a rainy spring and your plants are looking great?

Then, you may wonder when exactly to set your sprinklers. What time should you water your lawn, if and when you do?

Maybe you have been inconsistent in your watering from year to year, and it’s just not working. Perhaps you have a water-logged … Read Full Post »

What Do Termites Look Like To the Human Eye?

What do termites look like to the human eye

Even though you try to keep your home well-maintained, you’re no stranger to having bugs indoors. Flies buzz in when you leave the door open while grilling. Spiders creep around in the corners and (hopefully) catch those flies. Ants show up every once in a while to remind you that it’s not a good idea to leave out that last piece of pie.

So, while you wouldn’t call yourself an expert, you pretty much know what the most common bugs look like. Right now, though, you’re just not sure. Was that swarm of flying bugs you came across the other day ants? They kind of looked like ants, but perhaps they were another type of insect entirely. You’ve heard that people sometimes mistake termites for ants, so now you’re worried.

How can you tell the difference? Should you be calling someone in?

No matter who you are, the thought of having termites invade … Read Full Post »

Best Room Temperature For Baby: Welcoming Your Little One

Room temperature for baby

You spent years getting your house just the way you like it. Furniture that matches your unique aesthetic. The perfect set up for your home theatre. Cooking and cleaning supplies right where they need to be to make your life easier. Plants and flowers that elevate your landscape.

In just a few short months, someone who isn’t even here yet has changed all of that.

Yep, there’s a lot that new parents need to do before you bring home a newborn (or twins—you get the idea) from the hospital, all of which applies if you decide to have a home birth. You’ll need a crib. Then, there’s a changing table. A dresser for clothes and sheets and blankets and towels. Don’t forget the car seat, since you can’t even leave the hospital or the house without one! Another item you’ll need is diapers. Lots and lots of diapers.

Those are just the needs, and … Read Full Post »

How To Keep Bees Out Of Pool And Avoid Other Stinging Insects

How to keep bees out of pool

With summer coming soon and warm weather already here in the south, you decided it was time to get the pool ready. So, you went to the store to stock up on chemicals and cleaning supplies. You knew it might be a big job, but nothing could have prepared you for what you found: bees. Dozens of them. Treating your swimming pool like their own personal drinking fountain.

This is not an uncommon scenario for pool owners. Not just bees either, but other stinging insects, such as wasps. Maybe you just want to take a dip in the pool, but you can’t go more than a few feet without worrying about getting stung. If a family member of guest is allergic to bee stings, this is especially important. Or, perhaps, your poolside barbecues don’t just get invaded—they get swarmed.

You’re not too keen on the idea of getting stung while trying to escape … Read Full Post »

When To Fertilize New Grass: Secrets From Lawn Care Pros

When to fertilize new grass

No one likes having a patchy lawn. So last year you decided to do something about it. You seeded new grass into problem areas and waited for it to grow. Grow it did—until it started dying off. What happened? How can you stop this from happening again and get your lawn back to the healthy, vibrant green you remember? Lawn care professionals understand that knowing when to fertilize new grass can make the difference between a thriving yard and grass that is less equipped to handle the brutal Southern heat.

In this post, we’ll discuss when to fertilize new sod, the difference between lawn starter fertilizer and regular fertilizer, how often to apply starter fertilizer and the answer to the question: When should I fertilize my lawn after seeding?

Do I Really Have To Fertilize My Grass?

Of course, you don’t have to fertilize! But you’re probably going to want to.

Why?

Well, let’s talk about what … Read Full Post »

How To Keep Deer Out Of Your Garden For Good

How to keep deer out of garden

Many people think of deer as sweet, beautiful and adorable animals—Bambi, anyone?—yet many homeowners in both urban and rural areas view deer as pests. This is because these animals have an irritating habit of munching on rose bushes, trees and other plants and flowers that people cultivate in their gardens, and leaving a tattered, raggedy mess in their wake. Interested in how to keep deer out of your garden for good?

The first and most important thing to remember is that deer are intelligent animals with acute senses and a highly adaptable nature. This means that whichever repellent method you try, the deer that are plaguing your plants are sure to learn and adapt quickly—and then it will be time to try a new technique.

So when it comes to repelling deer, what works and what doesn’t? Which techniques are the most effective for keeping deer away from your yard and … Read Full Post »