ABC Blog

Proper Tree Care Protocol

trees can drink several gallons of water per day

We’ve had some crazy weather in College Station recently. Between the tornadoes and floods, Mother Nature has wreaked havoc on our neighborhood. And speaking of nature, our trees are also on the receiving end of these recent severe weather patterns.

Local workers have been busy cleaning up downed trees. Oversized limbs are too large to haul off, so they must be cut into smaller chunks. Some trees have so much damage that they need to be removed entirely. And unfortunately, these broken trees can cause injuries to our homes and power lines.

We can’t control the weather, but we can attempt to take better care of our trees to limit destruction of property after massive storms.

So what is the best way to maintain our trees?

First, identify the type of trees on your property and educate yourself about them. Trees commonly grown in the College Station area are oak, pecan, elm, cedar, and … Read Full Post »

Why Do Bees Swarm? And What To Do.

why do bees swarm

Imagine the scene: you’re outside enjoying the summer weather in your backyard or by your pool, and you spot a mass of tens of thousands of bees swarming on a tree or near a fence. That visual is pretty terrifying – so much so someone decided to make a horror movie called The Swarm, where a mass of killer bees terrorizes and kills people all over Texas! The irony of it all is though the swarm may appear menacing, bees are much less likely to be aggressive in swarms due to their vulnerability. Swarming is a natural occurrence that is absolutely necessary for the propagation and survival of bees.

To understand why bees swarm, you first have to know how a bee colony is set up

A bee colony consists of several different types of bees. There is only one queen bee in any given hive. The activity of the hive revolves … Read Full Post »

Data-Driven Mosquito Remediation

data driven mosquito remediation

Scientists are biting back against mosquitoes in Texas

Are mosquitoes getting you down? Not only are they an itchy menace, but mosquitoes can also carry diseases.

Because of the threat to human health, scientists are searching for new ways to reduce mosquito populations. Researchers from around the country, including some at Texas A&M in Bryan-College Station, want to find alternatives to pesticides, which kill beneficial insects and pose health risks to both animals and humans. Even worse, pesticides present only a temporary solution since mosquitoes can develop resistance to their effects.

These entomologists and epidemiologies study both the mosquitoes themselves and mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile and Zika, in a quest to discover better ways we can protect ourselves from mosquitoes.

Mosquito diseases

While the threat of the West Nile virus has worried doctors for a while, now Texas also needs to worry about the Zika virus. So far at least 27 cases have … Read Full Post »

Are There Pet-Safe Bug Bombs or Pest Control?

pet safe bug bomb

We look forward to the warmer times of the year since that often means time spent by the pool, backyard barbeques and longer days. Unfortunately, it is also the time when many outdoor invaders find their ways into homes. From ants on our counters to mosquitoes in the yard, insects are often a big problem in the warm spring and summer months.

It’s easy to pick up a can of bug spray and zap the pesky critters, but what do you do when you have pets around? What if you have a new puppy or suddenly start seeing roaches or rodents? Instead of reaching for the poisons or bug bombs, there are some great pet-friendly alternatives that will help keep you and your family (including the four-legged members) pest-free this summer.

What is Pet-Friendly Pest Control?

Pesticides are especially hazardous to pets for a variety of reasons. Animals are more likely to be on … Read Full Post »

Lawn Fertilization Do’s and Dont’s

Lawn Fertilization

Weather extremes impact our lawns and landscaping.

With the recent drought followed by torrential rains here in Bryan-College Station, your lawn might be starved of essential nutrients. The dry conditions prevented many microbes and insects from doing their job to break down organic materials, and then recent rains likely washed away trace elements your lawn needs to be healthy.

As we greet another spring in Bryan-College Station, let’s look at how you can start your lawn off right. In this article, we’ll examine some of the things you can do to improve the condition of your lawn right now, especially how and when to fertilize your lawn in the spring.

Lawn Fertilization Do’s

There’s a lot of things you can do to give your lawn a boost this spring.

Begin fertilizing warm season grasses such as St. Augustine as soon as three weeks after the last frost. In Central Texas that’s usually mid-April, so get … Read Full Post »

Are Bed Bugs Resistant to Pesticide?

how to kill bed bugs

Bed bugs are a painful nuisance, and can be tough to eradicate in your living space. Below we’ll examine what bed bugs are, what they need to survive, and how you can get rid of them if you’re unlucky enough to have them in your home.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small bugs about the size of an apple seed, and may either appear flat or rounded depending on when they had their last meal. They can look like ticks, but don’t attach to the skin. They are nocturnal, and can be difficult to find during the day, when they hide in crevices, within floorboards, and under cushions. Their bites commonly cause itchy welts or rashes, and can leave a trail of bites across the skin.

When trying to determine whether or not bed bugs are the cause of your bites (that can also be mosquitoes, fleas, spiders, or other insect … Read Full Post »

Spiders: The Good Guys

texas writing spiders are good for your garden

Spiders have a bad reputation in Texas. While many people are afraid of them, spiders aren’t the dangerous creepy crawlies people think they are. Most spiders are good guys, ensnaring and eating insects like flies, gnats, mosquitoes and other pests.

Facts about Spiders in Texas

Here are some interesting tidbits about spiders that might help you appreciate their contribution to our homes and gardens.

Most spiders in North America are harmless. In the Bryan-College Station area, we only need to worry about two spiders: the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider. With hundreds of harmless spiders out there, it’s worth learning how to identify these two venomous spiders so you can recognize friends from foes.

Spiders are our friends. Each spider inside your home can consume hundreds of mosquitoes, flies, and gnats. Outside in your garden, spiders often eat the bugs that cause damage to plants. You’ll find spiders that love aphids, … Read Full Post »

Common Winter Invaders

mice are common winter invaders

Unwanted Winter Tenants

When it starts to cool down in Bryan and College Station, a lot of pests decide to take the winter off. Of course, this year it was warm enough to get mosquito bites while hanging your holiday lights, but for the most part, a couple of good cold snaps in the Brazos Valley will take care of most household pests for a few months.

Unfortunately, the main exceptions (here and in most of Texas) are some of the most unhealthy and destructive pests around — I’m talking about mice and rats. Rodents don’t hibernate; they just look for shelter somewhere warm, which could be your house.

We see three common types of rats and mice in the Bryan and College Station area:

Common House Mouse

House mice are the most common rodent in most parts of the world; they prefer to live in dark and secluded parts of structures such as building … Read Full Post »

5 Surprising Ways Rodents Get In Buildings

Have you heard the rumor of the mouse that could fit through a space the size of a pencil? Well, it might be true.

We recently saw a video circulating on social media where an expert demonstrates just how tiny of a hole a mouse can actually squeeze through. Rodents get into homes and buildings in more ways than you may think. And rats can be inside your home for days or even months before you detect them since they regularly search for food overnight.

There are any number of entry points on buildings, especially within older homes like the ones we have here in College Station. Dorms and small unit apartment buildings are also common here in town, and those make for easy access too.

How do mice get inside buildings?

1. Through the AC Unit

Check the sealant around the pipe outdoors that connects the AC unit to the inside of your home. … Read Full Post »

How Did College Station Get A Rat Problem?

rats are abundant in college station neighborhoods.

So much of what our rodent specialists and pest entomologists know today has its origins in research done by Texas A&M. We’re so proud to learn from and work alongside researchers at the University.

Rodents Have A Complicated Past

Recently, one professor of biology and researcher at Texas A&M, Rodney Honeycutt, decided to look into the evolutionary history of rodents. Specifically, he wants to understand how a certain species of larger African rodents ended up with distantly related cousins on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean some 40 million years ago.

This story by ABC about Honeycutt’s rodent project perfectly describes what most of us are all wondering.

“They could have done it only one of two ways, as far as anybody knows. Either they swam across, which seems preposterous. Or they climbed aboard a raft and followed the currents across the Atlantic to the new world.” – Lee Dye

We know … Read Full Post »