ABC Blog

Where Do Roaches Come From?

an American cockroach in a home

If you turn on a light in the middle of the night and see a cockroach scurrying out of sight, you may be wondering: where do roaches come from? Why is this pest in my home? Is this a sign of an infestation?

To answer these questions, we must first determine which type of roach is in your home. While there are over 70 species of cockroaches that live in America, there are two types that you’re likely to see in your home. On your property, you’ll most likely see American cockroaches and German cockroaches.

The American Cockroach

The reddish-brown adult American cockroach, which is pictured above, averages a body length of around two inches. This roach has lighter-colored edges along the pronotum. Males tend to appear larger than females. But, this is most often due to the fact that the male’s wings extend past their abdomen while the female’s wings do not.

American … Read Full Post »

My Toilet Won’t Flush: What’s Going On?

a toilet that won't flush

Panic can quickly set in when your toilet won’t flush. What could have gone wrong and is there anything you can do to fix it?

Fortunately, there are some easy fixes for this problem. Unfortunately, others will require the help of a licensed plumber.

Let’s dive into these common issues and their fixes.

The Water Shut-off Valve Is Turned Off

In order for the toilet to flush, the water shut-off valve that feeds water into the tank of a toilet has to be on. Occasionally, something can hit the shut-off valve or it can get adjusted while cleaning. When this happens, the toilet only has one or two flushes before it runs out of water.

To check if this is your issue, look behind the base of the toilet. Your shut-off valve should be a few inches off the floor. Make sure the valve is turned all the way to the left. If it’s not, … Read Full Post »

Pharaoh Ants: Identification & Control Guide

The pharaoh ant is a common household ant that is thought to have originated from Africa. Some scholars speculate that the ant earned its name from a mistaken idea that it was one of the plagues that hit ancient Egypt. Wherever the name began, it is a nuisance that can seem like a plague to people living in the many areas this ant frequents.

The pharaoh ant is found in every inhabited region on the planet, and it nests outside only in places below the equator. However, it has adapted to some of the southern United States. That is because the ant’s favorite home is in places where it is between 80 to 86 degrees, humid (80 percent or more) and is close to food and water.

But that definitely does not mean the pharaoh ant is only in the southern area of the United States. The pharaoh ant has adapted to … Read Full Post »

My Air Conditioner Smells: What’s Wrong?

an air conditioning vent that is blowing smelly air through the home

If your air conditioner smells when it runs, there is a good chance that something within the system is broken and needs to be fixed. In some cases, it’s actually a sign of a problem that could be making your health worse. There’s also a chance that it’s something simple you can resolve on your own. Either way, it’s important to do some investigation and troubleshooting. The best option is always to have your AC system checked out by a heating and cooling specialist, to make sure everything is working as it should.

Musty or Moldy Smells Coming From the AC

Humidity within the AC system is one of the most common causes of bad smells coming from the AC when it runs. Many people don’t realize that the AC doesn’t just cool the air in your home on a hot day. It also removes humidity. When there’s too much moisture in … Read Full Post »

Are Roaches Attracted to Light?

a cockroach on a white wall

Many homeowners have a fear of discovering cockroaches in their house. You may have turned on a light in your kitchen or bathroom and spotted roaches climbing up the walls or walking across the floors.

If this has happened to you, don’t panic. Dealing with a cockroach infestation is a very common problem that homeowners face, especially in the southern United States. Having roaches in your home is not evidence that you are unclean or bad at taking care of your house.

If you have seen roaches inside your home, you may be wondering if roaches are attracted to light or if they prefer the dark. Getting clear about what attracts roaches and where they like to hide will help in keeping roaches out.

You might also be curious about whether there are cockroaches hiding in your home, especially inside your walls. And if they are, how would you find them? If you … Read Full Post »

What Do Cat Fleas Look Like?

a cat flea on a human

If you have cats, you have probably noticed them using their feet to scratch an itchy spot or two. However if your kitty is scratching more than usual or licking and biting at their skin, they might have fleas. While some flea problems can be isolated to your pet, fleas are prolific breeders. And, as your cat walks around your home, they can deposit flea eggs wherever they go. Unfortunately, this can lead to a flea infestation throughout your home.

Cat fleas are the most common type of flea. They live all over the United States and around the world and mostly feed on dogs and cats, but will feed on other animals too. Cat fleas are tiny, coming in at about an eighth of an inch in length. They are brownish-black in color, but can appear red if they have recently fed. These pests are flat and wingless with 6 … Read Full Post »

Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Me So Much?

a mosquito biting someone

From their uncanny ability to avoid a swat to the itchy welt they leave behind, these blood-sucking pests are a huge nuisance. Mosquitoes bite humans and other animals because they need the proteins in our blood in order to reproduce. When they bite us, they inject a small amount of saliva, which numbs the area and keeps the blood from coagulating.

It’s not the mosquito’s bite itself, but the chemicals in this injection of saliva that cause our reaction. Mosquito bites are, in themselves, plenty annoying. Unfortunately, these little flying vampires can also carry and transmit serious diseases like:

  • Malaria
  • Encephalitis
  • West Nile virus
  • Yellow fever
  • Dengue fever
  • Zika virus

Even with mosquito bites that don’t carry these diseases, people with less robust immune systems, especially in children, the elderly and those with immune system disorders, can develop additional symptoms such as:

  • Hives
  • Low-grade fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Swelling and blisters
  • Allergies or asthma-like reactions

We all have to deal with mosquito bites from … Read Full Post »

How To Fertilize Your Lawn

a homeowner fertilizing their lawn

Every homeowner wants lush, green grass in their yard. This means grass that is thick, healthy and free of weeds. Knowing how to fertilize your lawn is an important part of regular lawn maintenance. But it can be tricky knowing the right products to use and steps to follow. When should you fertilize? How often? What’s the right nutrient mix for your soil? Let’s explore these questions and more as we learn the right way to fertilize your lawn.

The first step in fertilizing your lawn is to determine the right mixture of nutrients for your grass. Warm-season grasses, like St. Augustine, bermuda and zoysia, need different fertilizer blends than cool-season grasses, like Kentucky bluegrass or rye.

Most yards in southern states have warm-season grasses. These grasses grow best in warmer weather, when it’s at least 75 degrees outside. Warm-season grasses go brown and dormant in the fall if they are not … Read Full Post »

Identifying & Controlling Subterranean Termites

subterranean termites in soil

Subterranean termite damage costs American homeowners billions of dollars every year. These pests are discreet and it’s hard to spot the signs of an infestation unless you’re a trained professional. Many times, homeowners are unaware a problem has developed until a full-blown population has been established. So, what can you do if you think you have a subterranean termite problem or want to prevent a termite problem?

The first step to determine if there is a problem is to learn more about subterranean termites. It helps to understand the appearance, behavior and signs of these pests.

What Do Subterranean Termites Look Like?

Subterranean termites are separated into three different castes: reproductives, workers and soldiers. The reproductives include the king, the queen and the winged alates. The queen is the largest termite in the nest. She stays hidden underground, so you will likely never spot her. The alates, which are pictured above, are also … Read Full Post »

How To Bring Back Dead Grass

a front yard with a dying lawn

If you have grass, you want to be able to take pride in your lush, green lawn. But maintaining healthy grass requires time, effort and know-how. Sometimes, you have to deal with problems like bald patches. Yellow or brown areas are another common issue. Knowing how to bring back dead grass is an important part of keeping your lawn thriving. If you know what’s causing the issue, you can take steps to fix it.

One important thing to know is the difference between dormant and dead grass. Sometimes, brown grass looks dead, but it’s not.

Dead Grass Versus Dormant Grass

All grass varieties have a dormant season, when they stop growing and lose their green. For warm-season grasses, this happens starting in fall, when the temperature outside cools down. Once the soil temperature drops below about 50 degrees on a consistent basis, the grass starts to go dormant.

Grass will also go dormant during … Read Full Post »