ABC Blog

Keeping Pests Away from Your Outdoor Parties

Zika is spread by tiger mosquitoes

Orlando residents reluctantly face an annual event: The Battle of the Backyard.

The battle pits people against mosquitoes, wasps, bees and other outdoor creepy-crawlies in an epic confrontation for land usage. Despite exhaustive research, we have found nary a trace of evidence suggesting pests recognize white flags of truce; additionally, peaceful negotiation attempts with mosquitoes over backyard rights have never reached a satisfactory conclusion. Pest control measures keep the critters out of your house, but what can you do when you invade the bugs’ turf?

Mosquito Dangers

For years Florida residents have known the dangers of West Nile virus and Dengue. Other diseases, like malaria, are not so much of a threat but are still well-known to be spread by mosquitoes. Now, we have a new danger: Zika Virus.

As of July 13, 2016, there have been 293 reported cases of Zika in the whole state. Boward, Miami-dade, and Orange counties have the highest … Read Full Post »

How to Attract Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden

butterfly garden

For many, the idea of attracting bugs is appalling. However, the reality is that there are many bugs that are beneficial for your garden. If you have an aphid problem, a well-placed mantis or a host of ladybugs can clean that right up for you. Butterflies add attractive whimsy to the garden. Spiders may give you the creepy-crawlies, but they can seek out and destroy other much dirtier bugs mucking up the place. Better yet, these bugs don’t chomp away at your hard-earned work — they leave you with a lush and beautiful garden to enjoy at the cost of a few tiny friends.

Know Your Friends

What makes a bug beneficial in the first place? Beneficial bugs are defined by their capacity to wreak havoc on other invasive bugs. Some, like spiders or parasitic cutworms, are predators to the bad insects. Your little army might be a one-time D-Day or they … Read Full Post »

The Mysterious Cow Killer Ant

cow killer ant

Cow killer ants suffer from an identity crisis.

They aren’t ants, and they generally don’t kill anything, although their sting is said to be painful enough to tip a cow. These are velvet ants. But their sting packs a punch, hence the “cow killer” stage name.

These insects aren’t ants at all, despite their nickname. They are actually a wingless species of wasp. Like other wasps, they pack a powerful sting when threatened. Orlando exterminators often get a call after area residents have found this out the hard way.

Fortunately, these insects are solitary and don’t form colonies like ants or paper wasps. Although their fearsome name suggests they regularly take on whole herds of cattle, the wasps are generally placid, living on nectar and water. However, they won’t hesitate to sting if disturbed. Because of their beautiful color and fuzzy, cuddly appearance, they often attract the attention of young would-be entomologists who … Read Full Post »

Mosquito Control in Orlando: Summer is Coming

mosquito control

Mosquito control must be a community effort.

Summer is upon us and for many people, especially in the South, this not only means pools and relaxing days but something more: mosquito season. With the spread of the Zika virus, this mosquito season could be highly impactful in Florida where officials have reported the largest number of the Zika Virus cases (96), 6 of which were reported in the Orange County area, and where the Aedes aegypti mosquito (Zika carrier) is abundant.

The fact that Florida has the largest number of recorded cases of Zika in the U.S. means that the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are prevalent here, are more likely to bite infected people and spread the virus to someone else.

How to tackle mosquito control at the local level.

Mosquito control is managed by local mosquito control districts. The areas that most need these districts are the ones that tend to lack funding … Read Full Post »

Termite Damage 101: What You Should Know

soldier termites devour wood structures

Termites do billions of dollars of damage each year.

Central Florida offers a perfect environment for termites. Because so many Orlando-area homes are near waterways and ponds, and we have frequent rain showers, moisture-loving termites have a welcoming habitat in which to make their homes.

Termite Basics

Termites are small social insects that live in large colonies and feed on organic matter. They are particularly attracted to wood and paper. They are dark in color, with 3/8 of an inch long torsos, and wings of equal length (as compared to ants, which have pinched torsos and unequal-length wings).

Some termites, including the native subterranean termites and Formosan termites, prefer to live in or close to the soil or near sources of moisture. This includes areas around home foundations as well as areas of buildings with moisture from dripping pipes, air conditioner drains or within gutters. Because so much of the Orlando area is damp, … Read Full Post »

Zika Virus in Orlando: What We Know

tiger mosquitoes carry zika virus in south america

By now, you have probably heard of Zika. Zika is a virus carried by a species of mosquitoes that bite during the daytime hours. We have known about Zika for many decades, but the virus has gained a lot of attention over the last 4 months. New reports have emerged linking birth defects to mothers infected with Zika while pregnant. And the virus has already made it’s way to Florida.

ABC Home & Commercial Services is dedicated to keeping our customers informed when a public health emergency occurs. Right now, Zika cases are isolated and rare in the United States. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn what we can now and work to eradicate mosquitoes in Orlando as a measure of safety. Florida mosquito exterminators across the state are working to understand mosquito diseases like West Nile, Dengue Fever, and Zika so that we can do our best to protect our … Read Full Post »

Where do Mosquitoes go in the Winter?

mosquito control

Where do mosquitoes go during the winter months?

Orlando has been ranked as one of the worst mosquito hotbeds in the country, and it’s no surprise that ABC Home and Commercial’s mosquito control is one of our most popular services. Mosquitoes in Orlando have always been a pesky problem during the summer months, but these persistent pests seem to all but disappear during the city’s winter months. Just where do mosquitoes go during Orlando’s colder months?

Some quick mosquito facts about Orlando’s most hated pest will provide some insight.

Q: Why do mosquitoes ‘bite’ us?

Mosquitoes don’t actually ‘bite’ humans. Mosquitoes pierce the skin and suck the victim’s blood, and in the process, the insect’s own saliva is deposited on the person’s skin. What most people describe as a mosquito bite, characterized by that distinctive raised and itchy red bump, is the human body’s immune reaction to a mosquito’s saliva.

Mosquitoes feed on our blood, … Read Full Post »

Is Your Florida St. Augustine Grass Turning Brown?

augustin grass featured img

St. Augustine is the turf of choice for Central Florida lawns. In the late summer and early fall, you might notice a change in color that could be cause for alarm.

This common lawn fungus is easy to identify, as it creates circular pockets of grass that appear to have died. We’re talking about Brown Patch.

All warm season turfs are at risk for Brown Patch, especially Zoysia and St. Augustine grass. The disease pathogen, known as Rhizoctonia solani, is most likely to spread from September through May when temperature are below 80 degrees. It is normally not observed in summer months, but summer weather can lead to over-irrigation, which can lead to fungus. Florida gets excessive rain and high humidity, which can also over-saturate turf grass and lead to infection.

Symptoms:

If an area of your lawn has poor drainage and lacks sufficient sunlight, it may be prone to getting the disease. You’ll … Read Full Post »

Can You Guess Orlando’s Most Hated Pest?

palmetto bugs featured img

What’s dark brown, winged, and lives in even the cleanest of homes? We’re talking about palmetto bugs.

Also known as the Florida woods cockroach, palmetto bugs are prevalent in damp regions with high humidity and tree cover. We’ve encountered many homes overrun by these particularly troublesome insects, especially in the late summer months. We’ve compiled a few of our most frequently asked customer questions and useful tips to eliminate Orlando’s most hated pest.

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5 Family Activities to Avoid Orlando’s Summer Heat

orlando summer heat featured img

Orlando may be blessed with mild winters and tropical showers that cool things off from time to time, but for the most part, our summers are HOT. When it’s 90+ degrees outside, outdoor family fun can be a little exhausting for everyone. Kids can fall victim to heat stroke and dehydration more easily than adults, who sweat more and adjust faster to heat.

Sunburns also become problematic in summer. The UV index in Florida can reach extreme levels between the months of June and September.

If your family needs a break from the unbearable summer heat, consider an indoor activity as an alternative to theme parks and trips to the lake.

ABC put together a list of our favorite indoor activities for families in Orlando.

Read Full Post »