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10 Tips for Pest Prevention in the Kitchen

Unless you enjoy chocolate-covered ants, the kitchen is probably the last place you want to find pests. They can chew through boxes, eat your food and litter the drawers with feces. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to prevent them from infesting a kitchen. You might even reduce your food and energy bills in the process.

1. Keep more of your food in the refrigerator or freezer. Few pests can find their way into these appliances. Cereal and dried fruit last longer when refrigerated, but don’t put your bananas in there!

2. When possible, buy food that comes in cans or jars. Bugs and rodents can chew through plastic bags, paper and cardboard without much difficulty. Bagged frozen food is also a good option.

3. Store items like peanuts, cookies and crackers in glass jars or sturdy plastic bins. Some pests prefer a sugary diet, but all types of food are … Read Full Post »

5 Tips for Irrigation: Save Water and Money!

Remember when you were a kid and you had no idea that the lush, green lawn where you played baseball and turned cartwheels all summer took so much upkeep? Forget about mowing—the mere cost of watering the lawn is a surprise to many homeowners. Some homeowners are wasting water (and money) by using irrigation incorrectly. Have you ever gone for a walk in your neighborhood and dodged the sprinkler that was watering the street? How many people in your neighborhood have their irrigation system on constantly, even on a rainy day? There are ways to keep your lawn and garden from wilting without draining your bank account. Here are five:

1. Water wisely. Watering your lawn and garden efficiently doesn’t have to mean purchasing expensive equipment or becoming a self-sustaining hippie commune. Two habits that can help you conserve water are watering in the early morning and keeping the water where … Read Full Post »

How to Add a Water Feature Without Attracting Mosquitoes

How to stop mosquitoes breeding in water features


Ponds, fountains and other water features can transform your backyard into a tranquil oasis. If you live near a highway or in a noisy area, water features can drown out ambient noise and replace it with a soothing, natural sound. Adding a water feature can also enhance existing landscaping, often at a marginal cost and with little required maintenance. Lastly, providing a water source in your yard can help local wildlife, including birds, butterflies and hummingbirds. There is one animal that you don’t want to attract when you add water to your landscape, however: mosquitoes.

How to stop mosquitoes breeding in water features

Most species of mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. Larvae can thrive in even an ounce of standing water. With that in mind, if you do want to add a pond, waterfall or a fountain to your landscape, you’ll want to learn how to add a water feature without attracting … Read Full Post »

Alert the Pestparazzi: Mosquitoes Are Making a Big Comeback this Summer

facts about mosquitos

For the past few years, we’ve experienced instability in mosquito activity due to inconsistent rainfall. This year was different. Increased rainfall has led to denser summer mosquito populations. This year’s mosquitoes can be compared to obnoxious has-been movie stars making a gloriously successful comeback. Like yesterday’s faded starlets, they’ve been craving a second chance to steal your time and attention. Celebrities drain you by bombarding the national headlines with meaningless drama and publicity stunts. The bite of a mosquito drains you in a more literal sense.

How to Survive the Current Swarm

Protecting yourself from this year’s thriving batch of mosquitoes is essential. Not only can they ruin your cookouts and make you irritable and itchy, but they can also give you horrible illnesses like the West Nile virus. Even your pets are at risk. Infected mosquitoes can transmit deadly heartworms to dogs and cats. Fortunately, there are many ways to defeat the mosquito’s … Read Full Post »

The Woodpecker: Your Home’s Fine Feathered Enemy

If you’re a nature lover, you might enjoy a woodpecker’s soft, distant tapping while you take a leisurely mid-morning stroll through the woods. However, when you’re sound asleep at the crack of dawn and awakened by a relentless, unbelievably loud hammering on your wood-sided house, it probably doesn’t have the same heart-warming effect. As much as you might fantasize about running outside in your bathrobe and knocking the bird off the side of your humble abode with the gentle nudge of a pressure washer, you wouldn’t want to harm such a beautiful creature. Besides, you can’t. They’re protected by federal law.

Doesn’t All that Pecking Give Them a Headache?

Woodpeckers have developed special physical features that protect them from harm while using their bills as jackhammers. Their brains are surrounded by extra cushioning, and they have reinforced skulls to distribute the force of repeated impact. Unfortunately, our heads contain nothing to protect … Read Full Post »

Seasonal Pet Safety: Tips for Keeping Furry Family Members Healthy this Summer

cat dog bees wasp stung mosquito safety

Hot weather can be brutal for humans and pets alike. If your furry family members could speak, they would ask that you keep these suggestions in mind this summer.

1. “Please give me extra water.”

Indoor and outdoor pets need additional fluids during hotter months. An automatic dispenser is ideal for pets that live outside. Indoor pets should have an extra water bowl available in an emergency.

2. “Please do not leave me in the car.”

Temperatures inside vehicles can quickly exceed the century mark. Even leaving a window cracked may not be enough to ensure your pet’s safety once temperatures outside reach 70 degrees. Leave pets at home if you go somewhere. They won’t be welcome.

3. “Protect me from tiny enemies.”

Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes take over the yard in warmer months. Fleas can be difficult to eliminate once indoors, ticks can carry Lyme disease, and mosquitoes can cause life-threatening heartworms. In addition to … Read Full Post »

Thermostat No-Nos

When you live in San Antonio, needing to run the AC isn’t a matter of if so much as when. However, running your HVAC system all summer long can put a lot of wear on the unit and leave you with a bill as likely to raise your temperature as the Texas heat. Fortunately, there are a few tips you can practice with your heating and cooling system that will have you saving energy and saving dollars all year long.

Don’t Freeze the Ghosts

If you’re not at home, there’s no reason to run your AC. Before you leave in the morning, turn the thermostat into the high 80s to keep it from cooling off your empty home. If you have pets, you might want to set it to turn on in the mid-80s just to keep the critters more comfortable. Program the thermostat to begin cooling your home about a half hour before you … Read Full Post »

Cloudy Pool Water Woes

It’s finally summer, so you, your family, and all the kids in the neighborhood want to use your pool. But if you’ve been neglecting it all winter, it might need a little tune-up before anyone will want to jump in. But if you’ve already spent hours with the skimmer and the water’s still cloudy, we’ve got you covered.

Chemical imbalances, algae, or particles generally cause cloudy swimming pool water. The good news is that figuring out the problem is pretty straightforward. The bad news is that you might have to spend a few days mucking around with pool chemicals and cleaning. But first, let’s talk about how to diagnose your problem.

You do have a water testing kit. Go ahead and dust it off. If you’ve never looked at it, figure out what it tests for. Even the most basic tests should tell you your water’s pH, alkalinity, free chlorine, and total … Read Full Post »

5 Famous & Unexpected Plumbers

If someone asked you to name famous plumbers, you’d probably think of Super Mario and his brother Luigi, the duo who defined video games in the 80s. Desperate Housewives’ hunky plumber Mike Delfino, played by James Denton, might also come to mind. Not all famous plumbers are fictional. Some celebrities quietly worked in the plumbing trade before their rise to fame, so most people have no idea they started out in such non-glamorous roles. Here are five examples that might surprise you.


1. Ozzy Osborne

Before Black Sabbath, Ozzfest, reality shows and a diet of bat heads, John Michael “Ozzy” Osborne wielded a totally different kind of snake than the one he famously wore around his neck. The English heavy metal singer and songwriter left school at 15 and worked as a plumber. With his net worth exceeding 140 million, few people remember his expertise with clogged drains.

2. Michael Flatley

In a true … Read Full Post »

Healthy Grass under Your Tootsies

Which lawn personality are you?

It isn’t summer until the kids are running around on the green lawn in bare feet and tank tops. Of course, in the land of endless summers (like in Bryan-College Station and most of the southwest), it’s tank top weather year-round! High temperatures and unpredictable precipitation make lawn maintenance a tricky proposition. This combination invites all manner of creeping, crawling and rapidly expanding pests that can take over your lawn faster than you can find your flip-flops.

Fungus Grows on Texas Lawns

St. Augustine grass is popular as a Texas turf material because it grows thick and green with proper lawn care. It’s also cushy and not too tickly on bare feet. However, this grass type is also susceptible to pest problems, especially when forces of nature conspire to create a cozy environment for fungal growth. Other grass types including Bahia and Bermuda can harbor some fungus growth given high temperatures, waterlogged … Read Full Post »