ABC Blog

How to Pressure Wash Your Fence

a fence that has been pressure washed

Is your fence looking a little worse for wear? Because it is exposed to the elements all day, every day, it will eventually start to look worn and dirty. If you live in an area with extreme heat or cold, cleaning the fence might be needed more often, maybe as often as twice a year. Cleaning off the grime is essential especially if you plan to paint or stain the fence to freshen it up.

The idea of scrubbing each plank by hand probably doesn’t sound very appealing. Maybe you have considered using a pressure washer to get the fence looking its best again. Before you pick up a machine and start spraying, there are several things to consider.

First, remember that the first word in the phrase is “pressure.” And your fence isn’t contained to just your space. You have a neighbor or a road or a forest or something on … Read Full Post »

How To Identify Different Ant Species in Texas

a crazy ant which is one ant species in texas

When a line of ants shows up in your home, marching across a countertop or going about their business under the sink, thoughts immediately turn to whether the ants are there to wreak havoc, sting pets or family members or worse. Texas is home to several types of ants, all with varying degrees of threat to your home and those who live in it. Let’s take a look at the potential suspects and how you can tell them apart and assess whether you need to contact a professional for ant control.

“Crazy” Ants

These ants get their name because of their seemingly haphazard movement. They look like they are running around in no particular pattern. When they are disturbed or feel threatened, they get even more frantic.

Pictured above, this species looks a lot like carpenter ants but they are smaller and don’t generally have the dark abdomen that carpenter ants have.

Pharaoh Ants 

These … Read Full Post »

Does Heat Kill Bed Bugs?

two bed bugs and a bed bug egg

If you’re dealing with bed bugs in your home, you want to know how to get rid of them, fast. These pests are a frustrating problem that can feel overwhelming to solve. What’s the best way to treat them? Does heat kill bed bugs? The good news is, high temperatures do kill off bed bugs in all stages of the life cycle.

High heat is actually the most effective way to kill off bed bugs. This is partly because these pests are highly resistant to insecticide products. Insecticides don’t even reach bed bugs or their offspring well, because the insects hide in tiny cracks that most products can’t penetrate.

Bed bugs are vulnerable to high temperatures, but how hot does it need to be for them to die off? And what can you do to prevent them from returning?

Sustained temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will kill bed bug eggs and … Read Full Post »

Nuisance Midges Identification & Control Guide

a nuisance midge on a leaf

Living near water is a dream for lots of people, but it can come with its own issues. Things you might even call a nuisance—or nuisance midges, to be exact. If you live near a lake or a pond, you’re likely familiar with these annoying, mosquito-like little insects. But what exactly are nuisance midges? Are they dangerous to humans? And what’s the best way to get rid of them?

Identifying Midges

Though these small flying insects look a lot like mosquitoes, they are actually a type of fly. This is why they’re also known as “blind mosquitoes” or non-biting midges. One way to tell midges apart from mosquitoes is their antennae. Male midges have bushy, feathery-looking antennae. Of course, their antennae are hard to see, since midges are so tiny.

Whatever you call them, nuisance midges don’t bite, suck blood or carry diseases. Thus, they aren’t dangerous to people or our pets in … Read Full Post »

How To Identify a Centipede Versus a Millipede

a centipede

Wondering how to identify centipedes versus millipedes? It can be tough, since both centipedes and millipedes have long, segmented bodies and lots of legs. Also, both are truly shocking to find in your yard. It’s even scarier to come across one inside your house. Fortunately, there are several differences that make it easy to tell these creepy-crawlies apart.

It’s interesting to note that lots of people call both centipedes and millipedes insects, but this isn’t correct. They are actually arthropods. Insects have only six legs, while centipedes and millipedes have a lot more than that. As far as numbers of legs, their names are misleading: Centipede means “100 legs,” while millipede means “1,000 legs.” But the truth is that centipedes and millipedes have different numbers of legs depending on their species.

When you see one of these creatures crawling along, it can definitely look like it has a huge number of legs. … Read Full Post »

Am I Dealing With Fruit Flies or Fungus Gnats?

a fruit fly

When you spot tiny insects buzzing around your home, you probably assume they’re fruit flies and you’re probably right. What about when you see what looks like the same insects outside, or in another room in the house? Fungus gnats look a lot like fruit flies and behave in similar ways. Even though these insects are both annoying, there are distinct differences between them. Knowing which one you’re dealing with will help you determine how to deal with them.

Fruit flies and fungus gnats can appear to look the same, but this is only because they’re so tiny. Each insect is only about an eighth of an inch long, making it hard to see their individual characteristics with the naked eye. However, if you could see each one up close, you would see they look pretty different from each other.

Identifying Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are like tiny versions of house flies. They … Read Full Post »

Cigarette Beetle Identification & Control Guide

a cigarette beetle on a piece of wood

It can feel shocking to discover tiny beetles infesting your pantry or your pet’s dried food. Even if you’re familiar with these small pests, when you find one, you might wonder: Is it a cigarette beetle, a drugstore beetle or something else? Cigarette beetles are extremely common pests in people’s homes across the United States. They are especially common in warmer areas. Knowing how to identify them is an important first step in learning how to control them.

Both cigarette beetles and drugstore beetles got their names from the dry goods stores of yesteryear. These pests infest all sorts of dried items. You may find these bugs in flour, beans, rice cereal, herbs and spices. They are also known to infest dry dog and cat food, and many other things people regularly bring home from the store.

Since all of these are such common items in so many homes, it’s easy to … Read Full Post »

Silverfish Identification & Control Guide

a silverfish

Silverfish are very small, wingless insects. Silverfish eggs are so tiny, they’re hard to see without a magnifying glass. Baby silverfish, or nymphs, are also very, very small. Adult silverfish grow to about a half-inch long and just an eighth of an inch wide. They get their name from their interesting appearance: They are a silvery-gray color, and they are covered in what look like fish scales. Their long, narrow bodies also move on their tiny legs in a side-to-side way that looks like fish swimming in water.

Silverfish have long antennae on their heads as well as long, tail-like spikes coming out of their hind ends. They actually look a little bit like shrimp, although they don’t live in water. They live either outdoors or in our houses, where they can cause hidden damage to our things.

Silverfish are attracted to moisture and humidity. Outside, these insects might be found in … Read Full Post »

Rover Ant Identification & Control Guide

a rover ant climbing up a tree

If you’ve never heard of rover ants, that’s probably because they’re pretty new to the United States. They came here from South America just a few decades ago. They have since spread throughout the Gulf states and as far west as California. While they don’t bite like fire ants or chew through homes like carpenter ants, they are still a nuisance.

Rover ants feed mostly on sugars. They live outdoors but will infest people’s homes if they can find a way in. In nature, these pests feed on plant nectars. Inside our homes, they forage for food on kitchen countertops and floors. They are especially attracted to sugary foods, like juice spills or crumbs from bread or muffins.

Wiping up spills and crumbs will help keep these ants away. So will giving your kitchen countertops, stove top and sink a good daily cleaning. But rover ants are good at using tiny cracks … Read Full Post »

How Do Mice Get In the House?

a mouse trying to get into a home

If you’ve ever dealt with a mouse problem, you may have been confused about why they were there in the first place. How do mice get in the house? The answer may surprise you. Mice get into houses through small cracks or holes. These openings might be in the walls, eaves, foundation or floors. The surprising part is, mice can squeeze through incredibly tiny openings—holes as small as the width of a pencil.

Mice come into our homes seeking food, water and shelter. Their natural habitat is outdoors, but sometimes it gets too cold or too hot outside. During periods of drought or extreme heat, mice can have a hard time finding food or water. These are the times when they venture into people’s homes in search of the essentials they need to survive. If they find plenty of food and water, they’ll settle in and build a nest.

When mice build … Read Full Post »