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Protect Your Home from Eight-Legged Invaders

When the weather gets cold, arachnids look for a warm place to hide. Unfortunately, this place is sometimes your home. In Texas, spiders and scorpions are the most common arachnids that invade family homes. Some are capable of inflicting painful and even fatal injuries. Here are our best tips for identifying arachnids and protecting your home from unwanted guests.


Tarantulas are intimidating, and wolf spiders are scary. However, these creatures have nothing on the infamous black widow and the deadly brown recluse. The brown recluse is known for its flesh-eating venom. Because there are several types of recluse spiders in Texas, their colors range from dark brown to an orangey tan. This makes them difficult to identify. These spiders are about the size of a quarter. They hide in dark crevices during the day and come out at night, which is when most bites occur.

Black widows are dangerous. Their colors usually … Read Full Post »

When the Heat Is Gone, Rodents Arrive

As temperatures begin to drop, more homeowners begin to see signs of rodents within their homes. This is no coincidence. Rats and mice have lived alongside humans for thousands of years, and they choose to inhabit our homes because of the warmth, shelter and food that we inadvertently provide. During the winter, a house can provide rodents with protection against the elements.

In the summer months, rodents may spend more time outside, especially if there are gardens to raid or other plant-based food sources. Once autumn arrives, however, they will withdraw to a warmer area that’s protected from ice and snow. They might move to the shelter of a porch, crawl space, attic or an out-of-the-way corner of your home.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can discourage these unwanted guests from wintering in your home:

Seal off any cracks and crevices that might provide easy access to your home. Bear in … Read Full Post »

A Healthy Lawn Needs Good Soil

Although it may seem like some people just have green thumbs that let them create flourishing lawns and gardens, this superstition couldn’t be farther from the truth. In reality, your lawn’s health is entirely dependent on the quality of the soil beneath.

Just like your home needs a good foundation, your grass, veggie gardens and decorative plants must have good earth if they’re to grow strong. Here are a few tips on demystifying your quest for healthier home landscaping by creating better soil.

The Fertilizer Misconception

Many homeowners labor under the mistaken impression that they can simply dump fertilizer on the ground every season and sit back while their plants take it all in. While this approach is well intentioned, it’s sorely misguided.

Fertilizers work by providing plants with vital nutrients, but you can definitely overfeed your lawn. Although your grass won’t start to pack on pounds like a person might if they ate … Read Full Post »

5 Best Bugs for the Garden

As a gardener, you’re always on the lookout for invasive or destructive bugs that can munch their way through your plants and ruin the hard work that you put in during the growing season. You might not be as familiar with the garden-friendly bugs that thrive in North Texas. By crowding out unwanted pests, these five critters act as natural bug repellents.

1. Aphid Midge

These creatures give a whole new meaning to the term “small, but deadly.” While the adult flies are innocuous, their larvae are the aphid’s worst nightmare. Each tiny, bright orange slug can eat as many as 60 full-grown aphids per day by delivering a powerful toxin that allows them to devour the leaf-munching insects from the inside out. Aphid midges lay their eggs among the leaves of plants that produce large amounts of pollen, so be sure to space some evenly throughout your garden.

2. Ladybug

The ladybug needs … Read Full Post »

Scientists Discover Neuropeptide That Can Prevent Insect Reproduction

Many of our customers express concerns about whether the pesticides that they treat their lawns with are safe for the environment. While a number of the chemical agents currently on the market are fine when used in a controlled fashion, scientific research has recently revealed that new natural methods of controlling insect populations could be even better for the planet. Natalisin, a recently discovered chemical, may be able to cut down on the number of pests that reproduce, without causing the side effects common with other treatments.

What Is Natalisin?

Natalisin is a neuropeptide that naturally occurs within the brains of insects. What is a neuropeptide you may ask? It is a chemical that controls the majority of biological activity in insects, including actions like muscle movement. One of the most important functions that natalisin controls is pheromone creation.

Pheromones help male and female insects signal each other, via scent, when they’re ready … Read Full Post »

Is Your Yard a Mosquito Paradise?

mosquitoes atlanta, pest control orlando

When your pool party turns into an all-you-can-eat buffet for mosquitoes, it can feel like you’ve been engulfed by an indestructible horde of the pesky insects. The truth is that mosquitoes are fragile and need very specific conditions to breed. Here is everything you need to know about what a mosquito looks for in a home–and how to make your yard into an undesirable neighborhood.

For a mosquito, curb appeal begins with water. Specifically, dirty water that’s been sitting for a while. Why is water so important? Mosquito larvae filter nutrients from stagnant water, which means the old planter at the corner of the garage is prime real estate. The tire swing can turn into a luxury condo complex just four days after a good rainstorm. And, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), even an upturned bottle-cap can become a studio apartment for the house-hunting mosquito on a budget. … Read Full Post »

One of Dallas’s Most Unwanted House Guests: The Scorpion

Scorpions are one of the most fearsome pests in Texas. These venomous arachnids crawl around homes under the cover of night and pose a serious threat when disturbed. Texas is home to 18 scorpion species, but only one is found in the Dallas area. Fortunately, none of these scorpions are known to cause fatal stings. The most common species in Texas and the only species in Dallas is the striped bark scorpion, which has two striped bands running down its back. These scorpions only measure 2 inches long, but their venom is packed with neurotoxins that cause intense pain and swelling.

Scorpions at Night

Closely related to ticks and spiders, scorpions have evolved to withstand desert-like conditions. To conserve moisture and regulate their temperatures, scorpions hide in dark places during the day and prowl for food at night. Because scorpions are nocturnal, infestations often go unnoticed. One of the best ways to … Read Full Post »

Avoid Your Own Episode of “Kitchen Nightmares”

As a restaurant owner, your worst nightmare is making a customer ill with your food and that’s exactly what could happen if just one disease-carrying cockroach or rat gains entry into your establishment. Almost every episode of “Kitchen Nightmares” features a horrifying scene of Gordon Ramsay pulling a refrigerator or grill away from the wall to reveal a sticky film of grease, rodent droppings and hundreds of cockroaches. The restaurant owners on the show often react with shock, but if they had been keeping up with basic sanitation practices and other preventive measures, the infestation never would have happened. If you suspect that you have a pest problem or want to prevent one, ABC Home & Commercial Services can ensure that your next health inspection doesn’t result in your restaurant being featured on television for all of the wrong reasons.Preventing a Pest Problem in Your Restaurant Kitchen

To prevent pest infestations … Read Full Post »

Could Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs Be Headed for Dallas?

With only one confirmed sighting in Texas, the brown marmorated stink bug has yet to become a pervasive presence in our great state, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter one in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the near future. As expert hitchhikers, these non-native insects have already invaded several states and left a number of ruined crops in their wake. ABC Home & Commercial Services wants you to know the facts about this pesky insect.Origins of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

The first North American sighting of brown marmorated stink bugs was in Pennsylvania in 1998, and since then, they have spread to several East Coast states and as far west as California and Oregon. They are native to Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea, but researchers have yet to discover how they managed to hitch a ride to the United States. Experts do know, however, that they made their recent … Read Full Post »

Detecting Hidden Pests

Some pests are obvious and leave clear signs of entry. However, the less conspicuous pests lurking in the cracks and walls can still cause problems for homeowners.How Do These Pests Get Inside?

Regardless of size, home-invading critters can utilize the smallest cracks and the narrowest holes to enter the home. For example, rodents only need an opening large enough for their skulls, a hole that can be as small as your fingertip.Additional Problem Areas

  • Door sweeps
  • Door and window casings
  • Baseboards
  • Seals where utility lines enter the home
  • Loose wallpaper

Careful home maintenance can prevent many major pest-related problems. For more information on how pests can physically enter the home, visit the University of Kentucky’s guide to pest-proofing a home.

Signs of a Hidden Pest Invasion

Even the most secretive of pests will leave some indication of their presence. A thorough inspection of the house can reveal the pest problem.