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No See Ums Versus Mosquitoes

Summertime is a great time to gather with friends and family outdoors. Your backyard is the perfect place to host a hangout, whether you are planning a cookout, a bonfire or a poolside party.

Homeowners know that time spent enjoying your backyard often comes at the price of annoying bug bites. These pests can range from simply frustrating to potentially dangerous. Mosquitoes carry dangerous diseases like Zika or the West Nile virus.

Yet not all bug bites are from mosquitoes. Many other bugs bother humans or even snack on our blood. While you are likely prepared to deal with mosquitoes, you may not know about other biting insects.

Biting midges are a concern for homeowners across the United States. You may know these tiny pests by their more popular name, no see ums. This nickname refers to how small these bugs are and how difficult it can be to stop them before they … Read Full Post »

How To Know if You Have Bed Bugs

a bed bug crawling on a finger

So you’ve woken up covered in itchy, red bites. Or maybe you simply have suspicious-looking red spots on your skin that aren’t itchy—yet. Could you have a bed bug problem? Most people live in fear of bed bugs, which is understandable. Once they infest an area, these pests are notoriously hard to eliminate. Learning how to know if you have bed bugs will help you determine what’s going on. Then, if you do have a bed bug problem, you can decide on the best way to get rid of them.

The first sign of bed bugs that most people notice is small, red, itchy bites on the skin. These bites typically show up in the morning, since bed bugs are nocturnal. This means they are most active at night, under the cover of darkness. Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans and other animals. They take advantage of our nighttime … Read Full Post »

My Air Conditioner Smells: What’s Wrong?

an air conditioning vent that is blowing smelly air through the home

If your air conditioner smells when it runs, there is a good chance that something within the system is broken and needs to be fixed. In some cases, it’s actually a sign of a problem that could be making your health worse. There’s also a chance that it’s something simple you can resolve on your own. Either way, it’s important to do some investigation and troubleshooting. The best option is always to have your AC system checked out by a heating and cooling specialist, to make sure everything is working as it should.

Musty or Moldy Smells Coming From the AC

Humidity within the AC system is one of the most common causes of bad smells coming from the AC when it runs. Many people don’t realize that the AC doesn’t just cool the air in your home on a hot day. It also removes humidity. When there’s too much moisture in … Read Full Post »

Does Fire Keep Mosquitoes Away?

Fending off mosquitoes is a ritual of both spring and summer—sometimes year-round depending on the weather and location. People try just about everything to keep these pesky, annoying little pests away, from sprays to candles to home remedies. Some people even try to eat certain foods to keep mosquitoes away. None of these options are particularly effective, however.

Mosquitoes aren’t just a nuisance. They can also carry a variety of diseases, including Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue and malaria. These aren’t things you want to mess around with!

Many people believe that mosquitoes only come out and bite at night, but that isn’t the case. Though it is true that the variety that carries the West Nile virus is more active from dusk until dawn, other types keep a different schedule. During the day, in shaded areas, you can find active mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus and chikungunya. … 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 »

I Have Tiny Black Mosquitoes in My House

a tiny black mosquito biting someone

If you spend any amount of time at all outside, you are going to encounter mosquitoes. That is just a fact of life. However you might be wondering why you are suddenly seeing a smaller version flying around inside your house. These tiny bugs are mosquitoes, but not necessarily the types that you might recognize.

Typically, you will find Southern house mosquitoes, which are light brown. Smaller varieties are not native to the United States and have distinctive differences from their native cousins. And be warned: These types of mosquitoes, collectively known as Aedes mosquitoes, love to snack on humans.

And these bugs can bring more problems that a little sting on the skin. The Aedes varieties also carry viruses such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya and more.

This grouping of mosquitoes lays its eggs in any water source, which is why they are called “container breeders.” Even a quarter-inch of water is enough … Read Full Post »

Identifying Chigger Bites Versus Mosquito Bites

You are outside, and something feels not quite right on your skin. You start scratching. And scratching. It could be a mosquito bite, or it could be a nip from a chigger. But how can you tell which is which? Bug bites overall look similar, and everyone reacts to them differently. That means it can be tough to know what is in your home or yard, waiting to strike. Here is a quick look at some ways you might differentiate the two.

Chigger Bites

You will generally find chiggers down low: wild plants, gardens, woods or brush, grass fields, shrubbery and lawns that are manicured and cut short. You more than likely won’t actually see them, however. These bugs, also known as berry bugs or harvest mites, are red mites that are so small that they are almost invisible with normal sight. There are more than 50 types of chiggers that feed … Read Full Post »

Are Roaches Attracted to Light?

a cockroach on a white wall

Many homeowners have a fear of discovering cockroaches in their house. You may have turned on a light in your kitchen or bathroom and spotted roaches climbing up the walls or walking across the floors.

If this has happened to you, don’t panic. Dealing with a cockroach infestation is a very common problem that homeowners face, especially in the southern United States. Having roaches in your home is not evidence that you are unclean or bad at taking care of your house.

If you have seen roaches inside your home, you may be wondering if roaches are attracted to light or if they prefer the dark. Getting clear about what attracts roaches and where they like to hide will help in keeping roaches out.

You might also be curious about whether there are cockroaches hiding in your home, especially inside your walls. And if they are, how would you find them? If you … Read Full Post »

Why Do My Lights Dim When the AC Turns On?

a gray living room with a white couch

If the lights dim when the AC turns on in your home, it may not be cause for alarm. Your home’s electrical wiring is a limited circuit, so when one appliance draws a lot of power, it’s taking it away from anything else that you have plugged in. It’s also possible, that the dimming lights are a sign of a problem.

Of everything in your home that uses electricity, your heating and cooling system use by far the most. The AC needs a lot of power when it first turns on. In some homes, especially older ones with dated electrical wiring, the lights dim slightly when the AC turns on because a lot of power is being drawn momentarily. In this case, the lights dimming briefly is normal and doesn’t signal a problem.

However, in other homes, the dimming lights do signal a problem. It could be within the AC system or … 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 »