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Texas Mosquito Myths

With so many families spending time outdoors, it’s important to stay protected from unplanned summer mishaps. In fact, adults named insect-related (25 percent) concerns like stings, bites and contracting the West Nile virus from infected mosquitoes among their top protection concerns during the summer.

When it comes to summer most of us can’t wait to hit the beach, hike local nature trails or even lounge in the backyard. In fact, according to the OFF! PowerPad survey, adults say they and/or their families plan to attend a barbecue (73 percent), watch fireworks (59 percent), attend outdoor concerts (33 percent), go camping (28 percent) and go to amusement parks (32 percent) this summer.

With so many families spending time outdoors, it’s important to stay protected from unplanned summer mishaps. In fact, adults named insect-related (25 percent) concerns like stings, bites and contracting the West Nile virus from infected mosquitoes among their top protection concerns … Read Full Post »

3 Tips to Having a Pest-Free Vacation

After that nice cold winter we had summer wasted no time in letting us know we were still in Texas. 100+ degree days already and it’s only June! It’s defiantly vacation time .On top of that the bugs are moving and just like you they are looking to beat the heat. Here are a few thing you might check before you head out the door for cooler climates.

1. Security Lighting: Most people like to deter snoops and thieves by leaving exterior lights on while they are out of town. It may help keep the crooks away, but those same lights shine like a beacon calling bugs to your home. The longer the light shines the more bugs that come. And getting that many bugs together is too much of a temptation for hungry spiders. You’ve created your own little pest house party when all you really wanted to do is … Read Full Post »

How Energy Efficient Are Solar Screens?

 

Solar screens are the most effective window treatments that you can apply to your home. They are great for lowering energy bills by stopping the heat transfer through your windows and doors while still maintaining your view. Window film, interior products, or awnings cannot compete with the energy efficiency of solar shade screens. The best product to install is the 90% shade factor solar screens which are and incredibly pet resistant pvc coated polyester material. What color of solar screen should you choose? The darker colors are more efficient and also have the best view. However there are many different colors and you should pick the color you will be most happy with. Remember, the darker the color the better the view.

Which windows or doors on my house should you do? Many companies will tell you for maximum energy efficiency, solar screens should protect all windows and doors. This is … Read Full Post »

Watering Trees in Texas Summer

While attempting the near impossible task of maintaining a green yard in the middle of a Central Texas summer, it is important not to neglect your trees when watering your yard. Frequent drought conditions and the Texas heat can take a toll on any shrub or tree, but it can be especially damaging to newly planted trees. The most limiting factor for newly planted tree growth and survival is a lack of adequate water. Without enough water, young trees experience slowed root and shoot growth which can cause the tree to become stunted. Once stunting occurs, it is very difficult for a tree to make up the lost growth. Drought injury on tree leaves include wilting, curling at the edges, yellowing; leaves might be smaller size drop early or stay on the branches even though dead and/or brown. Drought stress might not kill trees immediately but it might set them … Read Full Post »

What are HEPA Air Filters & Purifiers?

Shopping for a home air purifier, a whole house air filter for the furnace room, or a new vacuum cleaner just wouldn’t be the same without the dozens of products that pride themselves on their top quality HEPA filters. But what is a HEPA filter? Read on for the facts and the history of HEPA air filters.

What Is HEPA?

HEPA stands for “High Efficiency Particulate Air.” HEPA is not a brand; it is a type of air filtration system that is said to remove at least 99.97% of the most difficult size of airborne particles to filter, particles of 0.3 microns or micrometres in diameter (0.3 millionths of a metre).

Particles of this size are considered the most difficult to filter, and the HEPA filter is even more effective at filtering larger and smaller particles. This makes the HEPA filter ideal for capturing things like dust, dust mites, mold spores, cigarette smoke, … Read Full Post »

Venomous Spiders in Texas

Texas has two venomous species of spiders, the black widow (Latrodectus mactans) and the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa). Both of these species of spiders can be found indoors and outdoors throughout the State. The female black widow can be identified by its jet black color, globular abdomen with a reddish or yellowish hourglass on the underside. Male, black widow spiders are smaller, brown and nondescript. The black widow spider is aptly named because the female usually eats the male after mating. The venom of the black widow is a neurotoxin and can lead to severe systemic reactions and in rare cases, death. The black widow’s venom is reportedly 15 times more toxic than the venom of the prairie rattlesnake. However, only a minute quantity is injected with each bite. The most severe reactions occur in children and older adults. Black widow spiders can frequently be found in woodpiles, boxes, outdoor … Read Full Post »

Understanding Scorpions

Scorpions are arachnids, close relatives of ticks, mites and spiders. They are easily recognized by their characteristic shape. Scorpions prefer dryland habitats, but they do occur throughout Texas. They can be a nuisance when they interact with humans, because they will sting when disturbed.


Description

All scorpions have a long, slender body with a five-segmented tail that can be arched over the back. The tail ends in a bulb-like poison gland or stinger. Scorpions have four pairs of legs and two large pincer-bearing arms (pedipalps) in front. Scorpions are well equipped to defend themselves or attack prey with their pincers and stinger. Between the last pair of legs is a comblike structure (pectines) that is used to identify surface textures and to detect prey.

Scorpions have two eyes on the top of the head, and usually two to five pairs of eyes along the front corners of the head. They do not see … Read Full Post »

Explanation of SEER

When one is in the market for energy efficiency, finding effective and efficient appliances for cooling homes has the potential to save a lot of money. SEER ratings help to figure out which cooling systems are the most efficient.

What does SEER stand for?

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio rating system was developed as a performance standard by the combined efforts between the U.S. government and equipment manufacturers with the intent to create a rating system that is easily understood by the public.

What Do The Numbers Mean?

The number that is associated with a SEER rating measures the British thermal units per hour of cooling or heating, per watt of electricity. The higher the number, the more efficiently a product will produce cool air compared to a product with a lower number.

How Does It Work?

The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient an appliance is. In early 1990s, many cooling units carried … Read Full Post »

Getting to Know Chiggers

chiggers in Texas

Common chiggers, also known as berry bugs, harvest mites, “jiggers” and “redbugs,” are tiny pests whose size don’t match the amount of torment they can cause humans. Chiggers attach themselves to tender skin areas to feed. The bites can cause intense itching and small reddish welts. Chiggers in Texas can be a big pain for families who enjoy spending time outside.

Getting to Know Chiggers

Because chiggers are so small, they are hard to avoid. Most people cannot see these minuscule creatures without a magnifying glass, and so the bites may be the only indication that the bugs have infested a certain area.

How to Identify Chiggers

In the larval stage, chiggers are orange, yellow or light red. They are less than 1/150 of an inch in diameter, with hairy bodies. Larvae have six legs and their mouthparts include two pairs of grasping palps with forked claws. The nymphs and adults have eight … Read Full Post »

What Are Wood Wasps?

One of the more unusual insects you are likely to see is the wood wasp.  The terms wood wasp and horntail describe wood-boring insects in the families Siricidae, Xiphydriidae, Anaxyelidae, and Orussidea.  They are not wasps at all.  You are most likely to see these large insects that normally are attracted to and complete their life cycles in recently dead or dying conifer trees.  Timber, salvaged from fire damaged forests may be processed into infested lumber that can eventually lead to emergence of adult wasps in completed buildings.  These insects are nuisance invaders and are not harmful to humans.

Wood wasps are 1-inch in length, have an elongated, cylindrical body without a noticeable constricted “waist.”  They are often black or metallic in color.  They buzz while flying.  The female is large and has a long ovipositor, which is used only for egg laying and cannot be used to sting in defense.  … Read Full Post »