ABC Blog

Identifying Chigger Bites Versus Mosquito Bites

You are outside, and something feels not quite right on your skin. You start scratching. And scratching. It could be a mosquito bite, or it could be a nip from a chigger. But how can you tell which is which? Bug bites overall look similar, and everyone reacts to them differently. That means it can be tough to know what is in your home or yard, waiting to strike. Here is a quick look at some ways you might differentiate the two.

Chigger Bites

You will generally find chiggers down low: wild plants, gardens, woods or brush, grass fields, shrubbery and lawns that are manicured and cut short. You more than likely won’t actually see them, however. These bugs, also known as berry bugs or harvest mites, are red mites that are so small that they are almost invisible with normal sight. There are more than 50 types of chiggers that feed … 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 »

I Found a Roach in My House: Should I Be Worried?

a cockroach in a house

“I found a roach in my house. Should I be worried?” This is a common question that customers often ask pest control professionals. If you find a single cockroach in your home, does it mean there are more? Could you have a cockroach infestation? And whether it’s just one roach or a whole nest of them, what should you do about it?

The simple answer is, if you find a roach in your house, there is definitely reason to worry there might be other roaches hidden nearby. It’s possible there is even a full-blown infestation. It largely depends on what type of roach you’ve found.

Certain kinds of cockroaches, like American cockroaches, can make their way inside people’s homes almost by accident. American cockroaches are the big ones—well over an inch long, a half-inch wide, and medium reddish-brown in color. These roaches normally live outside. They sneak in through gaps around doors, … Read Full Post »

How To Find a Water Leak

how to find water leaks

Water is essential in a home. We use it to drink, cook, bathe, wash our clothes and dishes and water our yards. Unfortunately, things go wrong sometimes: Pipes crack or break, and water leaks out where it shouldn’t. Sometimes water leaks are obvious, but not always. It’s important to know how to find water leaks because, occasionally, they stay hidden for days or even weeks at a time.

For some people, the first sign of a hidden water leak is when they receive an astronomically high water bill and wonder how it got so high. Water usage and bills often fluctuate month to month, especially in the summer. Most people use more water when it’s hot outside, both to bathe on sweaty days and to keep the yard green. But sometimes, it’s a shock when the utility bill arrives, and they find out they unknowingly used far more water than usual.

A … Read Full Post »

My Heating Won’t Turn Off: What’s Going On?

a light gray room with a beige couch

It’s frustrating when you find that the heating won’t turn off and your furnace is running nonstop. Could it be something simple that you can fix yourself? It’s possible, and it’s always a good idea to check the simplest things first.

Thermostat Setting Is Too High

You might have accidentally set the thermostat to a temperature that’s too high. The heater then has to work overtime to make the house warmer than it needs to be.

Fan Set to On

Or maybe the fan setting on your thermostat was accidentally switched from “Auto” to “On,”. This causes the furnace blower to run constantly. Switching it back to Auto allows the furnace to cycle on and off again as needed to keep your house at the temperature that you set on the thermostat.

It’s important to note that your furnace itself isn’t actually running nonstop when you set the fan to On. Only the blower runs … Read Full Post »

Southern House Spider: Identification Tips

a southern house spider climbing up a wall

There are more than 45,000 different kinds of spiders that live in areas across the world. Fortunately, most of the spiders in the U.S. are not dangerous to humans.

One common spider in this part of the world is the southern house spider (Kukulcania hibernalis). This spider is sometimes also referred to as a southern crevice spider. As their name implies, these spiders live in Texas, Florida and other southern states. They are typically found in a variety of manmade structures, including houses, bridges and barns. They like to live in dark, sheltered spaces of a structure, such as in the crevices of windowsills and overhangs of a home.

Identifying Male Versus Female Southern House Spiders

Interestingly, male and female southern house spiders look very different from one another. The females are about half an inch to three-quarters of an inch long. Females are a charcoal gray color with dark patches. The end … Read Full Post »

My Thermostat Is Not Working: What’s Going On?

a thermostat not reaching the set temperature

Imagine that your air conditioning unit stops working just after your family has arrived for a visit in the middle of summer. Or, that your heater breaks down right at the coldest point of winter. Few things are more frustrating than you and your family having to deal with these extreme temperatures. Plus, it is stressful not knowing what might be the problem or how to fix it.

If you are noticing heating or cooling issues, this might mean that your thermostat is not working. One sign that might point to an issue with your thermostat is if your air conditioning unit is not reaching the set temperature. Similarly, if the unit keeps shutting off early or it is running all the time, then your thermostat might be the problem. Another common sign is if the display on the thermostat is blank.

Sometimes, homeowners can fix these kinds of problems by doing … Read Full Post »

What if My Toilet Won’t Flush All the Way?

a toilet that won't flush all the way

It’s annoying when your toilet won’t flush all the way. This problem is already bad enough if it’s just you in the house, but it’s especially frustrating if it happens when family is visiting or you’re hosting a gathering. Not only is it gross when the contents of your toilet bowl don’t completely empty when you flush, but it’s also concerning. This could be an initial sign of a larger issue that could lead to messy and expensive problems.

When you push the handle on your toilet, this should start a chain reaction. The handle should lift a stopper, which should then allow water to flow into the toilet bowl. Then, all the contents flow out through the drain in the bottom. However, this process doesn’t always work, which means that the contents in the bowl might get left behind. There are a few different reasons why you may be having … Read Full Post »

If One Room Has Bed Bugs, Do They All?

a bed bug crawling up a wall

If you’re like most people, discovering bed bugs in your home is nothing short of a nightmare. Maybe you brought them back home after traveling, or they hitchhiked in on some used furniture picked up at a yard sale. However they arrived in your home, bed bugs multiply quickly, so they need to be eliminated fast, before their population explodes. But how difficult will it be to get rid of them? If one room has bed bugs, do they all?

The short answer is that it’s possible there are bed bugs in more than one room in your house. It depends on your living habits, how long the bed bugs have been there, how extensive the infestation is and how you respond to their presence once you find out about them. Let’s learn more about these pests, including signs of you might have a problem, ways to get rid of them … Read Full Post »

How to Save on Your Heating Bill

a homeowner looking at an energy bill wondering how to save on the heating bill

It’s a fact of life: As winter approaches and outdoor temperatures start to drop, our heating bills start to rise. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank by spring just to stay warm. There are several ways to keep your home comfortable without the high energy bill. Even small acts can go a long way toward saving money over the long winter months. For example, adjusting the thermostat when you’re away may not seem like a big deal, but it can make a difference over the course of a month.

Saving on your heating bill really means finding ways to reduce your energy usage all while still keeping your home warm and comfortable. A good place to start for most homeowners is taking advantage of nature’s heater—the sun. During the daytime, open the blinds or curtains on the windows located on the south side of your home to let the … Read Full Post »