ABC Blog

Planting With Compost: Expert Advice From The Pros

Planting with compost

What do cow manure, grass clippings, dead leaves, coffee grounds and dinner scraps have in common? All of the above can be used to create or feed a compost pile, which you can then use in your garden to help keep your trees, plants, vegetable crops and soil healthy and thriving. Planting with compost is easy, as long as you know what you’re doing. Ready to learn everything you need to know about how to make and use compost in your garden? You came to the right place!

First, let’s talk about what compost is and what it’s used for. At its most basic, compost is simply partially decomposed organic matter—in other words, plant and other material that is nutrient-rich because it’s in the process of breaking down. Gardeners use compost to add important nutrients and microbes to the soil, in order to build its structure and help plants thrive. If … Read Full Post »

Jumping Spider: Texas Homeowners’ Questions Answered

Jumping spider Texas

Ever seen a jumping spider? Chances are, if you live in Texas you have—and seeing it move so quickly in its trademark jerky, hopping manner probably either made you lean closer in curiosity or gave you the shock of your life, if not both. There are a few things about a jumping spider Texas homeowners need to know: For starters, these little critters are no scarier than any other eight-legged arachnid. They’re just startling because they move so far, so quickly! Their appearance may seem a bit threatening, however. When crossing paths with one of these, any reasonable person might wonder, do jumping spiders bite? Let’s find out more about the jumping spider to learn where they live, whether they bite people and what to do when you find them living in your home.

Do Jumping Spiders Bite?

Before we discuss whether jumping spiders bite, let’s first learn how to identify these … Read Full Post »

No Air Coming Out Of Vents: How Can I Get My AC Working?

No air coming out of vents

When the sun is out and temperatures are brutally high, homeowners know that it’s critical to have a working air conditioner. Without a properly functioning AC, when summer temperatures rise into the 90s and 100s, you are not just uncomfortable indoors—it can actually be dangerous for humans and household pets, not to mention potentially harmful to your appliances and electronics. So what should you do if your AC suddenly stops working?

When your AC isn’t functioning well—or at all—it may be due to a problem that requires an experienced professional to fix. Certain common AC issues, such as a broken capacitor, are risky for inexperienced DIYers to try handling themselves; even cleaning your own AC condenser coils carries the risk of shorting out your unit. There are certain things, however, that the average homeowner can do to troubleshoot a problem with an air conditioner and resolve an issue on their own. … Read Full Post »

Wood Boring Beetles: The Risks They Pose To Your Property

Wood boring beetles

As a homeowner in the southern United States, you’re no stranger to finding bugs in your house. Spiders can be found building their webs in dark corners. Ants find their way in and need to be dealt with. In the warmer months, it seems like half a dozen flies find their way in every time you open the door.

When you noticed a sprinkling of something that looked like sawdust on the floor by the door to the garage and discovered a few tiny round holes in the wood frame, your mind went to the obvious place: termites. Or maybe it could be carpenter ants?

When you couldn’t find any of the other telltale signs of those unwanted guests, you assumed you must have been wrong. Maybe it wasn’t bugs after all.

While termites and carpenter ants are the wood pests that homeowners typically hear the most about, they’re not the only ones … Read Full Post »

San Antonio Plumbing Problems And Solutions

San Antonio Plumbing

There are so many ways to enjoy a day in San Antonio, whether it’s walking around the Pearl, spending an afternoon on the Guadalupe River, seeing a new exhibit at the McNay, letting the kids burn off steam at the Hemisfair or carb loading at the Magnolia Pancake Haus.

No matter how you decide to spend your free time in San Antonio, there is one thing we can all agree on: the last thing you want to do is waste an afternoon, a day and even a weekend trapped inside trying to fix a plumbing problem. Unfortunately, plumbing problems tend to spring up at the worst times, including when your kids are in the car and you have packed the car for an all-day outing.

As locally based San Antonio plumbing experts, the licensed plumbers at ABC Home & Commercial Services have encountered nearly every plumbing malfunction and mishap you can imagine. … Read Full Post »

Centipedes In Texas: Dangerous Or Nothing To Worry About?

Centipedes in Texas

Does the very thought of centipedes and millipedes make you shudder? If so, you definitely aren’t alone. Fear of centipedes even has its own name: chilopodophobia (centipedes are arthropods belonging to the Chilopoda class, which gives this particular phobia its name).

Even if you’re a nature-lover to your core, there’s just something a little skin-crawly about all those many, many feet attached to that long, smooth, armor-like body. It’s hard not to recoil instinctively when you discover one of these critters under a rock or while digging in the dirt, but are centipedes in Texas really as creepy as many believe? What should you do if you come across one in your yard or, worse, inside your home? Let’s find out by learning more about these insects, along with Texas millipedes and other similar creatures.

What Risks Do Centipedes Pose?

The word “centipede” literally means “one hundred feet,” as it derives from … Read Full Post »

Tarantula Hawk: Is It An Arachnid, A Bird Or Something Else?

Tarantula hawk

Before we go into detail about the tarantula hawk, let’s make sure one thing is clear: this creature, contrary to what its name might suggest, is not a spider, nor is it a hawk. In fact, the tarantula hawk is one of the largest wasps found in Texas and other desert environments in the southwestern parts of the United States.

If this animal is an insect, how did it get its name? Believe it or not, this type of wasp, which is distinct because of its large size, red wings and bright, metallic blue-black coloring, preys on tarantulas. When this wasp stings a tarantula, the arachnid becomes permanently paralyzed.  The tarantula wasp then buries the spider in a hole in the ground or in the tarantula’s own underground nest. To finish the job, the wasp lays its eggs on the paralyzed spider. Once the wasp’s larvae hatch, they feed on the still … Read Full Post »

Black Vine Weevil: Protecting Against This Lawn Pest

black vine weevil

The black vine weevil, also known as the taxus weevil, is a serious threat to gardens across the world—yet many homeowners have never even heard of this insect, which can kill entire trees, starting at the roots. Originally from Europe, the black vine weevil made its debut in the northeastern United States sometime in the mid-nineteenth or early twentieth century. Now, this pest has reached most parts of the U.S., as well as many parts of Europe and Asia, and has earned the reputation of being the most destructive type of root weevil.

Adult black vine weevils particularly love to feed on the leaves of rhododendrons, azaleas, peonies, wisteria and Japanese holly. This can cause cosmetic damage—notches and holes in the plants’ leaves that result in a tattered, moth-eaten appearance—but this isn’t the worst of this pest’s potential for damage. Black vine weevil larvae feed on the roots of many plants, … Read Full Post »

Watering Lawn At Night: Good For Your Grass Or Bad Idea?

Watering lawn at night

You’re not a person who likes waste. So, when you heard that watering during the day was a bad idea because the sun just evaporates the water, you did what seemed like the obvious thing. You switched the timer on your sprinkler system to water at night.

After a while, though, you notice some bare brown spots developing on your lawn. You think your grass must need more water, so you extend your watering time. How frustrating is it when you notice the problems only get worse? Very.

By the time you call in a professional who tells you it’s root rot, the problem has gotten bigger and costlier. Or maybe you hear you have brown patch. What is brown patch? The short answer is that both conditions can turn into huge headaches. Too make matters worse, your lawn technician may tell you that it’s your fault.

How?

By watering your plants at night.

Some homeowners water … Read Full Post »

Air Conditioner Maintenance Checklist: Tips From The Experts

Air conditioner maintenance checklist

If you’re like most people, your home’s air conditioner plays a vital role in keeping you and your loved ones cool in the summer and warm in the winter, regardless of the temperature or humidity outdoors. Despite the importance of their ACs in their daily lives, however, many homeowners rarely think about their HVAC systems until they break down—but this can become a costly mistake.

Repairs to your air conditioner can run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, while annual air conditioner maintenance is quite affordable and more than worth the cost. Keeping your air conditioner running at peak performance will save you money on your monthly electricity bills. This is not, however, the only benefit. Regular AC maintenance can also catch problems early and prevent, or at least mitigate, the need for many types of repairs.

But what should you be doing to maintain your air conditioner on a … Read Full Post »