ABC Blog

Cluster Flies vs House Flies

Cluster flies in house all of a sudden

In Orlando, Florida, flies are as common as freshly squeezed orange juice – especially during the hot months of summer.

They’re present at every backyard BBQ, and residents have grown accustomed to shooing them away from the potato and fruit salads. But, what many residents fail to realize is that they are often dealing with more than one type of fly.

Contrary to popular belief, there are many species of flies. In fact, there are more than 20,000 species in North America alone. And while we’d love to discuss the differences between all fly species, we wanted to focus on the housefly and the cluster fly, as the cluster fly is most present in the late summer and early autumn months of the year.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences together.

Cluster Flies

Though commonly know as cluster flies, many people often refer to these flying insects as attic flies.

Cluster flies emerge in … Read Full Post »

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 »

Can I Get A Mosquito Bite In Winter? Your Questions Answered

mosquito bite in winter

Do you wish summer could last all year long? Many individuals choose to live in or move to warm and temperate cities so they can escape the frigid weather in other parts of the country. Want to wear shorts on Christmas Day? Try Orlando. Prefer flip flops in February? Check out Houston.

There’s a catch to living where the sun is shining most of the year: mosquitoes.

Warm and humid environments are the perfect habitat for a wide range of pesky insects, including the mosquito. When it comes to a mosquito season, Florida and other southern states don’t get much of a break from these annoying biting insects, which can transmit the Zika and West Nile viruses, among other illnesses.

Newcomers to these cities may wonder if it’s possible to get a mosquito bite in winter and what else they need to know to keep these pests away. Let’s explore these topics and other common … Read Full Post »

Is Your Florida St. Augustine Grass Turning Brown?

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.


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 »

Palmetto Bugs: Orlando’s Most Hated Pest

palmetto bug

What’s dark brown, winged and lives in even the cleanest of homes? If you said palmetto bugs, you are correct! If you didn’t (or even if you did), you can learn more about Orlando’s most hated pest below.

What Are Palmetto Bugs?

Quite simply, a palmetto bug is another name for the American cockroach. This species is the largest of the domestic cockroaches, averaging around four centimeters long. While German roaches are the most common roaches found across the country, American roaches are the second most prevalent. You can find palmetto bugs indoors in Florida, especially in commercial settings. In the northern states, palmetto bugs are found more often in steam heat tunnels or inside of large buildings.

Believe it or not, the American cockroach arrived in this country in 1625 from Africa. As with many other pests, cockroaches have mostly been spread through commerce. Although you are more likely to find cockroaches in restaurants, … Read Full Post »