ABC Blog

Can Rats See in the Dark?

a rat in darkness

When you hear rustling around the house at night, it could be a family member going into the kitchen for a midnight snack. If you hear noises in the wall, it’s an entirely different kind of hungry critter. Rats regularly scrounge for food and water at night, which has led to the popular belief that rodents can see very well in the dark. But can they really?

It is true that rats are nocturnal animals and would much rather hide away during the daylight hours than run about your home. Rats are incredibly sensitive to bright lights. It hurts their eyes. So it would make sense for them to have night vision. However, rats actually have pretty poor vision no matter how much light there is.

Most rats have adapted to living in low light and are pretty nearsighted, with the ability to only see a couple of feet in front of … Read Full Post »

Black Mice: Identification and Control Guide

a black mouse

If you’ve spotted black mice in your home or around your property, you’re probably wondering how to get rid of them—fast. The good news is, there is no special trick to it. Black mice aren’t a special type of mice. If you see a black mouse, it’s probably a regular house mouse with darker fur. House mice can have fur ranging from brownish to light gray, to dark gray or nearly black in color.

Getting rid of house mice is similar to controlling other mouse populations. You have to use traps, close off their entry points and get rid of whatever is attracting them. The bad news is, mice can be very hard to control without professional help.

A big problem with mice is that they are very prolific. A single female house mouse has multiple babies at a time and multiple litters each year. This means she can have 30 or … Read Full Post »

Why Does My AC Smell Like Vinegar?

air that smells like vinegar blowing through a home

Is there anything better than the fresh cool breeze of an air conditioner on a sweltering summer day? No way.

However, if your AC smells like rotten eggs or vinegar, that pleasant respite from the heat is going to sour. Air conditioners that emit an unpleasant smell are not only a buzzkill to your refreshment and comfort, they are also warning signs of serious functional issues and potentially expensive breakdowns.

In short, that bad smell is your AC’s way of letting you know that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. An off-putting vinegar odor is most typically caused by a build-up of bacteria or mold in your AC system. This can continue to grow and spread throughout your home.

The good news is that this is a fairly common issue and there are some tried-and-true methods to resolve it.

The first step in dealing with a sour-smelling air conditioner is to determine … Read Full Post »

Half of My Christmas Lights Aren’t Working

a string of Christmas lights

Decking the halls for the Christmas season fills many people with excitement for the coming celebrations. A huge part of the decorating ritual every year includes festive lights on the exterior of your home. Sometimes when you flip the switch, the twinkle looks a little unbalanced. Or when you pull last year’s spools of shining glory out of storage, half of the lights aren’t ready to shine.

What’s next? The first step is to always plug in your lights and check for issues before you hang them for decorating. You don’t want to hang your lights only to find they need to come right off! If you do have issues, your choices are to try to fix the lights yourself or contact a professional who can bring new LED lights for you and hang them up. Let’s troubleshoot some potential causes for the outage.

Troubleshooting Your Christmas Lights

First off, one of the … Read Full Post »

How To Make Compost

compost mixed into soil

Are you a homeowner interested in making your own compost? Composting is an easy process to start and maintain, regardless of your size requirements.

It’s also one of the easiest and best first steps for garden fertilization, and healthy lawncare.

Despite what you may have heard, home composting is not complicated, it’s not messy and it doesn’t smell bad when you do it right.

In fact, learning how to compost the right way is super simple. Once you get started, it’s a great, environmentally-friendly way to repurpose food scraps and a variety of other organic materials into a superfood for your plants and gardens.

Types of Composting

First things first, let’s take a look at the various types of composting. The three most popular and widely used methods are cold composting, hot composting and vermicomposting.

Cold Composting

Composting in its most basic form is “cold” composting. This involves collecting plant waste from your lawns or gardens and … Read Full Post »

Can You Use Compost As Mulch?

plants growing in compost

People spend a good deal of time and, often, money creating a landscape that adds beauty and value to their home. From preparing the soil to planting to aftercare, it can be a lot of work. The last thing you want is for all the effort to end up with plants and shrubs that aren’t thriving in their environment. A big way to ensure that your landscaping is living its best life is by adding mulch.

Why mulch? It gives your flower beds and other landscaping a finished look. It also has a number of benefits for the plants themselves. Mulch keeps moisture in the soil and even helps break up any clay. This allows the moisture to dig deep and keep the soil cool in the heat. It also helps resist frost issues in the winter, gives the soil nutrients as the mulch decomposes and blocks weeds from popping up.

You … Read Full Post »

When to Trim Crape Myrtles

a crape myrtle bush

Crape myrtles are popular trees because of their beautiful flowers that bloom in spring and hang on through warm summers. Their leaves are stunning in the fall, and even their vase-like shape and bark have their appeal in the winter. The question on many homeowners’ and landscapers’ minds is “When is the best time to prune them?”

Depending on the climate of your area, pruning should take place in late winter or early spring. It should definitely happen before the first blooms start to grow. It is important not to go overboard when cutting back the tree’s pretty branches. Many people cut their crape myrtles down to a nub, which is an eyesore in more than one way.

Not only does it look like a horrible accident, but such a severe trim stops the interesting, mottled bark from forming. Why buy and plant such pleasant trees only to remove all that beauty? … Read Full Post »

Why Are There Mosquitoes in My House?

“Why are there mosquitoes in my house?” This is a common question many people ask pest control professionals. Having mosquitoes outdoors is bad enough. Their itchy bites can turn yard work or hanging out on the patio into a miserable experience. But getting mosquito bites inside the house, where you’re supposed to be safe, is even worse. How do they get in, and why do they stay?

Mosquitoes get into the house the same way as any pest: through open doors and windows. They also sneak in through rips in screens or gaps around exterior doors and windows. Mosquitoes are not very strong fliers, so they might seek shelter from the wind inside your home. They are also attracted to standing water since they need water to breed. If they can find a good place to breed indoors, they can become an annoying ongoing problem.

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, and … Read Full Post »

Do Air Conditioners Dehumidify?

a plant near a window in a humid home

When the temperatures start to rise, we can all be very thankful for the invention of the air conditioner. The cool air pouring from the vents brings the inside temperatures down to a livable level. The cool air pouring from the vents brings the inside temps down to a livable level.

Hot air might make you uncomfortable, but high humidity can trigger breathing issues for people with asthma or other disorders. It also can increase the chances of mold growing in your home, which is a whole other problem. So removing that moisture from your home’s air is important for several reasons. Doesn’t the air conditioner do the job?

The short answer is yes, but there is more to it. An air conditioner does reduce the amount of moisture in your home. However, it does so as a secondary benefit to its main job, which is to cool the temperature of the … Read Full Post »

AC Is Cooling but Not Removing Humidity

No one wants to be uncomfortable in their own home, especially when the air-conditioner seems to be working fine but something feels off. You have probably heard people living in desert climates say “It’s a dry heat.” But it’s still hot, and even worse than being hot in your house is sitting in a humid chill. What could be going on with your AC?

Usually, an air conditioner’s refrigerant draws in excess moisture from the indoor air. That vapor then condenses into water droplets. This drains into a pan under the unit’s evaporator coils and through a hose to your yard. If your AC isn’t pulling in that moisture, the humidity is just hanging around, which makes everything feel stuffy even if you are feeling a cool breeze. There are several reasons that your AC might not be dehumidifying. You can always contact a pro for AC problems, but there are … Read Full Post »