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Top 5 Ways to Keep Raccoons Away

Though they are often admired for their ability to pilfer food from garbage cans in the dead of night, raccoons can be quite dangerous. They are known to spread disease, injure family pets and inflict property damage that can be expensive. However, these ingenious critters can be kept far away from family residences with the following five tips.

1. Secure All Trash Receptacles

Raccoons are widely known for their talent. For example, sliding aside a partially open garbage can lid is quite easily accomplished. For this reason, property owners will want to secure all trash receptacles fully. Kitchen garbage cans and other interior food sources should also be sealed—plenty of verified stories of raccoons entering homes through pet doors and gobbling up unsecured food waste.

2. Reduce Nesting Areas

Because raccoons do not build their dens, they search for places to raise a family. Attics, basements, crawlspaces, and any other nooks and crannies that … Read Full Post »

Celebrate the Season with Festive Outdoor Christmas Lights

Nothing makes your home quite as spectacular during the holidays as a dazzling outdoor lighting display. Whether you go with brightly colored rope lights or classic white icicles, lights always add that extra touch of cheer. If you love having a decorated home but aren’t looking forward to the hard work of hanging your holiday lights this year, consider hiring professionals to do the decorating for you.

What’s New in Holiday Lighting Trends?

Holiday lighting trends tend to change every few years. The blow-up lawn ornaments and tangled icicles of last year are giving way to new, sleeker lighting displays that make the most of sound and motion. You’ve probably seen spectacular timed displays on the local news or online. Professional lighting installers can easily create one of these stunning light, music and motion displays for your yard.

Bright colors are also in for outdoor displays. Don’t be afraid to go bold with … Read Full Post »

Make Santa Smile with the Best Christmas Light Display on the Block

During the holidays, thousands of Austin homeowners put up festive Christmas lights and decorations to spread good cheer throughout their neighborhoods. As lighting technology has improved, so have the quality and complexity of these displays. Good planning skills and help putting up lights are the only things that homeowners need to create outdoor displays that will truly impress.

Choosing a Lighting Display to Dazzle

You have many options when it comes to designing holiday lighting for your home. You might want to stick with classic red, green and gold. Maybe you want to try bright, eclectic lights for a more contemporary feel. No matter the type of lighting display you want to pull off, start by taking a good look at your home. Your outdoor decorations should fit the general architectural style of your space. Choose decor that won’t clash with your home’s exterior but will complement its look.

As you plan your … Read Full Post »

Cool-Season Plants Create Cool Yards in San Antonio

The crisp, fall months here in San Antonio are worth celebrating if only because you’ve beat the Texas heat again. If you enjoy digging around in the garden, this is the best time of year to give that green thumb some cool-weather exercise. Here are three local favorites you’ll love in your fall landscape:

Delicious Rosemary Bushes

Forget about that little plant growing on the kitchen windowsill. The full-grown rosemary bush flourishes in central Texas gardens and grows to a feathery height of five feet. If you’re looking for a little drama and delicious fragrance in an evergreen hedge, this is a great choice for your fall planting plans. It grows well in large pots as well, so double down on decorating around the patio. Make sure that your rosemary bush gets plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil. Enjoy this wonderful plant all year, especially when you’re in the mood for a … Read Full Post »

5 Reasons Why You Should Map Your Irrigation System

While the amount of work that goes into setting up a lawn or garden irrigation system may tempt you to get it installed and be done with it, you should document the process. Even if your system works admirably for years and you never change a thing, knowing exactly where all the conduits and sprinkler control valves are will be helpful later. Read on to learn why mapping out your irrigation system with the help of a Houston lawn care specialist is such a good idea.

1. Ensuring Coverage Efficiency

Mapping things out before you start minimizes the water your system requires to keep your lawn healthy. This may not be a big concern, but if your area suffers a drought or implements summer water usage restrictions, your irrigation map will help you avoid watering the same place twice so that your plot stays green and pretty while your neighbors’ are fading.

2. … Read Full Post »

10 Worst Pests Around the World

Texas is known for having some pretty destructive pests, from crazy ants to cockroaches, but these local bugs can’t compete with the problems worldwide. Below are 10 of the strangest and worst invasive species of insects, rodents, amphibians, and even plants found worldwide:

1. The Asian Tiger Mosquito. Originating in Asia, this black-and-white striped mosquito is now one of the most widespread animal species on the planet. In just two decades, it’s spread to 28 separate countries. Like other mosquitoes, it can carry West Nile virus and other blood-borne diseases.

2. The Cotton Whitefly. These tiny bugs measure just a millimeter in length and don’t seem threatening. However, they are devastating to plant life, carrying up to 100 different plant viruses and feasting on 900 species of plants. These bugs exist in every continent except Antarctica.

3. The Snakehead Fish. This fearsome fish has been destroying local ecosystems in several countries, including the … Read Full Post »

Green Grass Needs More Than Water

What’s that subtle sound? It’s your grass begging for a little TLC. While it’s true that frequent watering will keep your lawn healthy in the blistering San Antonio heat, watering restrictions are definitely a consideration. Not to mention, your lawn needs and deserves so much more than water in order to remain healthy.

Green with Envy

Your neighbors will talk about your lawn—it’s just a fact of life. Give them something to talk about with a luscious lawn that makes them want to kick off their shoes and walk barefoot right up to your front door to ask you what your secret is.

Caring for Your Lawn

➢ Fertilize on Schedule

Proper fertilization is key, but it must be done at the right times of year and with the right blend for your type of grass. For example, a fertilizer formulated for Bermuda grass would kill St. Augustine. It’s important to know exactly which breed … Read Full Post »

Bee Removal: Signing a Peace Treaty with Our Buzzy Buddies

You love their honey, and from a safe distance, you think they’re cute. However, when you find their nest in your yard, their presence becomes a safety issue. Bees are generally harmless, beneficial insects that have no desire to interfere with your life, but they can deliver painful stings when they become defensive. If you or members of your household suffer from bee allergies, a single sting could be deadly. If you own a business, your customers won’t stick around if bees are swarming around their heads. Sometimes removing bees is absolutely necessary, but there’s usually no need to reach for poison. Removal and relocation is the only method we use here at ABC for managing bee problems. Instead of waging war with them, consider yourself their real estate agent—focus on finding them a new place to live.

Why Our Buzzy Friends are so Important

In the last few years, bees have … Read Full Post »

5 Best Bugs for the Garden

As a gardener, you’re always on the lookout for invasive or destructive bugs that can munch their way through your plants and ruin the hard work that you put in during the growing season. You might not be as familiar with the garden-friendly bugs that thrive in North Texas. By crowding out unwanted pests, these five critters act as natural bug repellents.

1. Aphid Midge

These creatures give a whole new meaning to the term “small, but deadly.” While the adult flies are innocuous, their larvae are the aphid’s worst nightmare. Each tiny, bright orange slug can eat as many as 60 full-grown aphids per day by delivering a powerful toxin that allows them to devour the leaf-munching insects from the inside out. Aphid midges lay their eggs among the leaves of plants that produce large amounts of pollen, so be sure to space some evenly throughout your garden.

2. Ladybug

The ladybug needs … Read Full Post »

Scientists Discover Neuropeptide That Can Prevent Insect Reproduction

Many of our customers express concerns about whether the pesticides that they treat their lawns with are safe for the environment. While a number of the chemical agents currently on the market are fine when used in a controlled fashion, scientific research has recently revealed that new natural methods of controlling insect populations could be even better for the planet. Natalisin, a recently discovered chemical, may be able to cut down on the number of pests that reproduce, without causing the side effects common with other treatments.

What Is Natalisin?

Natalisin is a neuropeptide that naturally occurs within the brains of insects. What is a neuropeptide you may ask? It is a chemical that controls the majority of biological activity in insects, including actions like muscle movement. One of the most important functions that natalisin controls is pheromone creation.

Pheromones help male and female insects signal each other, via scent, when they’re ready … Read Full Post »