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Why Do I Have Mustard Algae in My Pool?

a pool with mustard algae growth

Summer is almost here, which means it is time to enjoy some sun in your backyard. However, if your pool water is cloudy, you may need to think twice before jumping in. The yellow-brown substance covering your pool may not be dirt or sand but mustard algae.

While it may not seem like a big deal, mustard algae in your pool can create a major headache for homeowners. It is particularly challenging for homeowners living in the warmest areas of the United States. Yet this menace can show up anywhere.

Yellow algae, another name for mustard algae, is bad for the water quality in your pool. Too much algae can lead to unhealthy levels of deadly bacteria like E. coli in your pool.

Spotting yellow algae does not need to spoil your summer, but you need to act fast to deal with this issue. If you have questions like how to clean algae … Read Full Post »

What Do Cat Fleas Look Like?

a cat flea on a human

If you have cats, you have probably noticed them using their feet to scratch an itchy spot or two. However if your kitty is scratching more than usual or licking and biting at their skin, they might have fleas. While some flea problems can be isolated to your pet, fleas are prolific breeders. And, as your cat walks around your home, they can deposit flea eggs wherever they go. Unfortunately, this can lead to a flea infestation throughout your home.

Cat fleas are the most common type of flea. They live all over the United States and around the world and mostly feed on dogs and cats, but will feed on other animals too. Cat fleas are tiny, coming in at about an eighth of an inch in length. They are brownish-black in color, but can appear red if they have recently fed. These pests are flat and wingless with 6 … Read Full Post »

Are There Any Foods That Repel Mosquitoes?

a mosquito biting someone

Many people have heard there are certain foods that repel mosquitoes. The idea is that if you eat lots of these foods, your body will give off a scent that naturally repels mosquitoes. But is there any truth to this claim? Unfortunately, there is no solid scientific evidence to back up this theory.

On the bright side, adding healthful foods to your diet is never a bad idea. The foods that most people claim will repel mosquitoes include garlic, onions, beans, lentils, tomatoes and apple cider vinegar. These are overall nourishing foods that can have a very healthy place in many people’s diets.

Furthermore, there are several types of foods that some say will draw more mosquitoes to you. These include beer, salty foods and sugary foods—all types of foods that many of us would benefit from reducing in our diets. If cutting down on these foods also helps keep mosquitoes away, … Read Full Post »

Common Signs of a Roach Infestation

A roach crawling on the ground

The sight of a roach inside your house is a feeling of dread many homeowners across the United States know well. Roaches are a common pest control challenge for homeowners, regardless of how clean their homes are.

These pests may sneak into your home and hide out for a long time before you ever find evidence of their presence. Roaches like American cockroaches or German cockroaches are known to spread disease. These pests are a threat to the comfort and health of your family.

Any homeowner who has dealt with a roach problem knows how difficult it is to get rid of these pests once and for all. You may also be wondering, “Why are roaches so hard to kill?” or “Does vinegar kill roaches?” Learning more about the common signs of a roach infestation can help you spot these infuriating insects before you find a roach in your home.

What Are the … Read Full Post »

What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

a homeowner calculating what size air conditioner they need

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, you’re probably wondering, “What size air conditioner do I need?” Obviously, you don’t want to overspend on a system that’s more than you need. But, at the same time, buying a new air conditioner that can’t keep up with your home isn’t money well spent, either.

While brand reviews, warranties and service agreements are all important factors to consider, they are only really helpful once you’ve determined which products are the right size to do the job.

The two most important factors in determining the size of the air conditioner you need are going to be the size of your home and how much of your home you want covered. Cooling a bedroom in a small home or condo is a very different job that maintaining a pleasant temperature in a large house with an open floor plan. You’ll also want to … Read Full Post »

Your Guide to Ticks in Oklahoma

a tick on a leaf

It can be an outdoors-lover’s nightmare: You feel an itch on your skin or that of a loved one and find an odd bump. After a quick peek, you know the culprit. A tick has hopped on in search of a meal! Or maybe you find some of the small creatures crawling about in the woods during a family hike. Either way, this is never a welcome discovery.

Oklahoma is home to a variety of ticks. Though they are all vector arthropods, their appearance, behaviors and preferred habitat vary. Each poses a threat to different animals or people based on location, some worse than others. If you come across ticks around your property, contact a pest professional for more information specific to your infestation.

Soft Ticks Versus Hard Ticks

The first two species of tick, the fowl tick and the spinose ear tick, are considered soft ticks. They are called soft ticks because … Read Full Post »

Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Me So Much?

a mosquito biting someone

From their uncanny ability to avoid a swat to the itchy welt they leave behind, these blood-sucking pests are a huge nuisance. Mosquitoes bite humans and other animals because they need the proteins in our blood in order to reproduce. When they bite us, they inject a small amount of saliva, which numbs the area and keeps the blood from coagulating.

It’s not the mosquito’s bite itself, but the chemicals in this injection of saliva that cause our reaction. Mosquito bites are, in themselves, plenty annoying. Unfortunately, these little flying vampires can also carry and transmit serious diseases like:

  • Malaria
  • Encephalitis
  • West Nile virus
  • Yellow fever
  • Dengue fever
  • Zika virus

Even with mosquito bites that don’t carry these diseases, people with less robust immune systems, especially in children, the elderly and those with immune system disorders, can develop additional symptoms such as:

  • Hives
  • Low-grade fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Swelling and blisters
  • Allergies or asthma-like reactions

We all have to deal with mosquito bites from … Read Full Post »

How Do Mosquitoes Survive Winter?

a group of mosquitoes flying around in the spring

Sometimes, it seems like mosquitoes can live forever and are indestructible. It’s easy to think that way when they are buzzing about in the spring, summer and early fall, snacking on people and pets at will. However, the pesky pests actually do have a finite life and don’t thrive in certain conditions.

Mosquitoes are insects, and insects are cold-blooded, meaning they cannot regulate their body temperature. That means they take their warmth from their surroundings, and they do not do well as the mercury drops.

They live their best life when air temperatures are around 80 degrees, so they are active all year in tropical climates. In areas where there is more of a change in temperatures throughout the year, mosquitoes struggle. At 60 degrees, the insects start to become lethargic, and at 50 degrees, they can’t function. However, mosquitoes don’t just die when the air turns bitter cold.

Mosquito Survival Tactics

When low … Read Full Post »

Air Conditioner Not Blowing Cold Air But Running

a home's ac vent

If you find your air conditioner not blowing cold air but running, there is a problem in your AC system that needs to be fixed. The exact problem depends on whether the AC is blowing warm air or no air at all. If there is no air getting through the system, there may be a blockage somewhere or a bad blower motor. If air is getting through but it’s not cold, there is another issue.

Before you try to figure out what’s going on, it’s a good idea to turn off the AC. Letting it run while there’s an undiagnosed issue could lead to bigger problems. That might mean even more complicated and expensive repairs. After turning off the AC, you can do some troubleshooting. Keep in mind that in the majority of cases, the best course of action is to call a professional to diagnose and repair the problem.

Diagnosing the … Read Full Post »

How To Fertilize Your Lawn

a homeowner fertilizing their lawn

Every homeowner wants lush, green grass in their yard. This means grass that is thick, healthy and free of weeds. Knowing how to fertilize your lawn is an important part of regular lawn maintenance. But it can be tricky knowing the right products to use and steps to follow. When should you fertilize? How often? What’s the right nutrient mix for your soil? Let’s explore these questions and more as we learn the right way to fertilize your lawn.

The first step in fertilizing your lawn is to determine the right mixture of nutrients for your grass. Warm-season grasses, like St. Augustine, bermuda and zoysia, need different fertilizer blends than cool-season grasses, like Kentucky bluegrass or rye.

Most yards in southern states have warm-season grasses. These grasses grow best in warmer weather, when it’s at least 75 degrees outside. Warm-season grasses go brown and dormant in the fall if they are not … Read Full Post »