ABC Blog

How to Handle Mystery Bugs

Several mysterious insects can be found in Houston. Many unfamiliar bugs are harmless, but they can also signify the beginning of an infestation. Most people only have the expertise to identify common bugs. More than 25,000 insect species live in Texas, according to Texas A&M University. It’s essential to handle mystery bugs carefully and take steps to keep them out of your home.

If you find an unfamiliar insect outdoors, photograph it for identification. You may want to catch the bug if it is inside your home. Be cautious–wear gloves and use an implement such as long tweezers to move the insect. Store it in a glass container with a tight lid. Remember that some bugs can chew through cardboard, wood, or plastic.

Keep children and pets away from the insect. Some bugs may trigger allergies or cause serious illnesses when they bite or sting. For example, the Lone Star tick spreads … Read Full Post »

From AC to Heat: How to Ensure a Flawless Change of Seasons

It’s time to tune up your furnace as summer-time humidity and temperatures drop and the excellent weather approaches. You don’t want to turn your furnace on when the first cold front blows in only to find it’s not heating correctly.

Every Houston HVAC system needs periodic maintenance to ensure all components work. Regular maintenance reduces the possibility of sudden breakdowns and costly repairs. Keeping the system working correctly also reduces energy usage and lowers utility bills. Some routine maintenance is easy for the homeowner to do. Some tasks, however, are best left to the professionals.

The homeowner can do cleaning filters, one of the most important regular maintenance tasks. Clogged filters make a unit work harder and compromise indoor air quality. Regular cleaning removes allergens, bacteria, mold, and dust. Replace filters as recommended by the manufacturer.

An improperly installed thermostat may cause a unit to run inefficiently or fail to cycle on. Ensure … Read Full Post »

House Flies In Winter: Do Flies Hibernate in the Winter?

house flies in winter

What’s that buzzing around your kitchen? What is your dog chasing around the living room? What came in when you left the back door open too long? In many cases, the answer is the same: a fly.

Have you ever noticed that house flies seem to disappear during the winter months? How do they virtually vanish in the cold weather and reappear in full force once the weather starts warming up? Read on to find out.

What Flies Do During The Winter

Adult house flies in winter spend their days in cracks and crevices, away from humans. In the spring, these flies lay eggs on decaying materials. Although this behavior can be compared to hibernation, the truth is that flies do not spend the winter months in a deep sleep like some animals, including some species of turtles, snakes, bats, hummingbirds, ladybugs, skunks, and frogs. The cluster fly and other common fly species … Read Full Post »

West Nile Virus Still Prevalent in Harris County

A mild winter combined with rain in Harris County has created a favorable climate for mosquitoes. This has led to an increase in the infected with West Nile virus— several people have died. The virus spreads primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. In rare cases, the virus spreads through transfusions, breastfeeding, from mother to baby during pregnancy, and organ transplants.

West Nile virus symptoms appear between three and 14 days after an infected mosquito bites a person. Four out of five people (about 80%) infected with the virus do not show any symptoms. 20% will exhibit mild symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Swollen lymph glands or skin rash

People over 50 and those with a weak immune system have a high risk of getting severely sick. About one in 150 cases experiences severe symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of vision
  • High fever
  • Disorientation, stupor or coma
  • Numbness or paralysis
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck

There is no explicit treatment for West Nile virus. The fever … Read Full Post »

Use your iPhone for Tracking Bed Bugs!

In recent years, bed bugs have become a widespread problem in many cities across the United States. Houston is no exception, with hotels and multi-family residential buildings such as apartments among the most brutal hit. Even if you live in a single-family home, you’re also vulnerable to bed bugs, as guests may bring them in, or the pests may stow away in your luggage when you return home from a vacation. The best prevention against bed bugs is avoiding places infested by them. If you are an iPhone user, you will find the Bed Bug Alert app convenient for preventing pests.

Designed by Apps Genius, Bed Bug Alert is an interactive, user-friendly app that allows you to perform several actions from your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad equipped with iOS 3.2 or newer. First, you may set your location to only view reports of bed bugs in Houston or an upcoming … Read Full Post »

Why is My Pool Green? How to Keep Your Water Crystal Clear

My above ground pool is green

One of the best ways to beat the heat on a hot summer day is to go for a swim. If you have your pool, you know maintenance is no small task. The last thing you want as a pool owner is to discover that your pool water is green and cloudy instead of crystal clear.

Why is My Pool Green?

Keeping a pool looking clean and clear requires paying particular attention to the water chemistry. Let’s discuss the three primary factors in pool operation—physical, chemical, and biological—how they impact the color of your water and what to do if your pool water becomes cloudy and green.

Pool Filtration & Circulation

The most essential part of your pool’s operation is your filtration system, which is responsible for keeping your water clean. The filters in your pool should remove dirt and debris which make their way into your pool from the air or your bathers … Read Full Post »

Houston’s Humidity & Your Health

Air conditioning in Houston keeps residents cool during spring, summer, and fall. Unfortunately, humidity in Houston and the moisture produced by some air conditioning units can create hazardous mold inside residents’ homes. This substance can cause several health problems, and some are very serious.

Allergies & Irritations

Mold spores often trigger allergic reactions. This occurs both in healthy people and those who are prone to allergies. Irritated eyes, throat, and nose are also common symptoms. Many people who breathe in airborne mold spores complain of sinus congestion.


When people are constantly exposed to mold spores indoors, their problems will escalate beyond irritations and allergies. Continuous exposure leaves a person vulnerable to respiratory infections and bronchitis. These conditions may become chronic.


If a person has a weak immune system, mold spores may grow on living tissue inside that individual’s body. This causes systemic infection of the digestive tract, lungs, skin, or sinuses. If environmental conditions … Read Full Post »

Love Your Lawn…Without Chinch Bugs

It starts when you notice just a slight yellowing of your once lush lawn. At first, you consider the recent lack of rain, but the yellowing continues to spread and turns your prized lawn into an eyesore. A healthy lawn that turns ugly yellow is one sign that a homeowner is dealing with a chinch bug infestation.

Chinch bugs are lawn pests that feed on healthy grass. The problems use a straw-like part of their mouths to drink the juice of a grass blade while injecting harmful chemicals into the plant. A chinch bug infestation results in a yellow, unhealthy lawn that is typically most damaged in areas exposed to sunlight.

They are identifying whether a chinch bug infestation involves investigating the grass near the soil. Chinch bugs tend to be more active on hot days in the summer and in areas that receive direct sunlight. Anyone interested in improving their Houston … Read Full Post »

Houston Bees Mean Business

Bees can inflict painful stings; some people are highly allergic to them. Those who have never been stung could be at high risk, as they may not even know they are allergic. In Houston, several types of bees are commonly found. Honeybees, carpenters, bumblebees, stingless bees, and Africanized honeybees are common. Africanized honeybees are also called killer bees because of their extreme aggression. Bees are essential to the earth’s ecosystem, but their growing population has resulted in the need for pest control in Houston.

Encountering A Beehive

When bees are spotted, it is best to avoid getting too close to the hive to identify the bees. These flying insects will sting intruders, but only if they come too close. The best thing to do is run away fast. Intruders who stop to stare at a beehive may not get stung right away. However, the bees protecting the hive release a pheromone that … Read Full Post »

Monitor Your Home From Anywhere!

More people are buying video surveillance and alarm systems in Houston, but burglaries are not the only reason for the recent popularity of these systems. People are discovering the multiple benefits Houston home security systems offer. A CCTV system with one or more cameras allows homeowners to view their property in real-time anywhere there is Internet access.

See what the kids are doing. When teenagers and kids arrive home from school before their parents do, they may be tempted to get into trouble. A camera system allows parents to observe their home whenever they want and ensure their kids aren’t eating cookies before dinner or throwing a football in the house. Parents can also have peace of mind knowing their children safely made it home.

Outdoor cameras are effective at deterring criminals. When thieves stake out homes, they look for properties with easy access, no alarm, and no cameras. No criminal wants … Read Full Post »