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What Does a Termite Mud Nest Look Like?

Termites crawling in dirt

Termites. Even the word can make a homeowner shudder and feel anxious. This idea of this pest taking up residence brings up thoughts of extensive damage—and cost. Termites generally feed on wood, but they also snack on insulation, pool liners, books and paper. Knowing what to look for and how termites operate will help you make smart decisions if you come across them.

How To Tell You Have Termites

You might see what looks like flying ants around your home, but don’t be so sure. They could be termite swarmers. You may also find dead swarmers on a windowsill. If you aren’t sure whether the insects you are seeing are termites, contact a pest control professional to get the answers. Learning how to spot signs of termites in your home is actually pretty easy.

Subterranean termites live below ground, so you wouldn’t be able to find a termite mud nest. Instead, what you … Read Full Post »

How To Identify Different Ant Species in Texas

a crazy ant which is one ant species in texas

When a line of ants shows up in your home, marching across a countertop or going about their business under the sink, thoughts immediately turn to whether the ants are there to wreak havoc, sting pets or family members or worse. Texas is home to several types of ants, all with varying degrees of threat to your home and those who live in it. Let’s take a look at the potential suspects and how you can tell them apart and assess whether you need to contact a professional for ant control.

“Crazy” Ants

These ants get their name because of their seemingly haphazard movement. They look like they are running around in no particular pattern. When they are disturbed or feel threatened, they get even more frantic.

Pictured above, this species looks a lot like carpenter ants but they are smaller and don’t generally have the dark abdomen that carpenter ants have.

Pharaoh Ants 

These … Read Full Post »

Can Dogs Carry Bed Bugs?

a bed bug on skin

Few creepie-crawlies in the insect world have a mental and emotional impact on us humans like bed bugs.

They come out at night…while we’re sleeping…to drink our blood…

The common bed bug is tiny, with a flat, oval body roughly the size of an apple seed. It can expand to nearly twice its normal size while feeding, turning from muddy brown to dark red in color.

Bed bugs get their name from the types of locations they prefer to infest and feed. They are most active at night and look for a ready source of blood to feed on. That’s why beds (and the humans sleeping in them) are their ideal targets.

Likewise, female bed bugs will lay eggs in the protected seams and crevices of your mattress (or your dog’s bed). This is their way of looking out for their offspring, who will have a convenient source of blood.

These eggs hatch as nymphs, … Read Full Post »

How To Identify Formosan Termite Swarmers

termites in dirt

Subterranean termites may be responsible for the most damage to U.S. homes each year, but Formosan termites come in at a close second. In fact, Formosan termites are sometimes called “super termites” because they destroy wood faster than their subterranean cousins. If you spot Formosan termite swarmers in or near your home, it’s a sign of an infestation. That means it’s time to take action before they destroy your property any further.

One thing to understand about Formosan termites is that they are actually a type of subterranean termite. Subterranean means underground, and that’s where these termites build their colonies. Just like the termites we more commonly call subterranean, Formosans also build mud tubes along foundations, walls or support beams. They use these tubes to connect their colonies to their food source—wood.

The problem that all types of termites pose in our homes is that they chew through wood for its cellulose. … Read Full Post »

I Found a Roach in My House: Should I Be Worried?

a cockroach in a house

“I found a roach in my house. Should I be worried?” This is a common question that customers often ask pest control professionals. If you find a single cockroach in your home, does it mean there are more? Could you have a cockroach infestation? And whether it’s just one roach or a whole nest of them, what should you do about it?

The simple answer is, if you find a roach in your house, there is definitely reason to worry there might be other roaches hidden nearby. It’s possible there is even a full-blown infestation. It largely depends on what type of roach you’ve found.

Certain kinds of cockroaches, like American cockroaches, can make their way inside people’s homes almost by accident. American cockroaches are the big ones—well over an inch long, a half-inch wide, and medium reddish-brown in color. These roaches normally live outside. They sneak in through gaps around doors, … Read Full Post »

What Do Moles Eat? Your Questions Answered

a mole in its tunnel looking for food

It is incredibly frustrating to look out at your yard and see damage like loose dirt and uprooted grass. This is a sign that moles have tunneled beneath the ground of your property and made your lawn their home. These creatures spend half the day looking for insects to devour and they eat nearly their entire body weight in food each day. Their constant hunt for something to eat can result in significant damage to your landscaping.

These pesky predators can be harmful to the appearance and health of your lawn. You spend too much time making your home and property appear beautiful to allow moles to destroy your hard work. But, why do these creatures decide to take up residence in your yard anyway?

Moles are attracted to your yard because it is a perfect place to find all their favorite foods. So, by better understanding the diet of moles and … Read Full Post »

How To Identify Termite Damage Versus Wood Rot

termites in dirt

No one wants to see something odd going on with the wood in their homes. Whether it’s a door or window, any kind of damage can send a homeowner into a panic. What if the wood has rotted? Or what if termites have invaded and moved into the home? First, it’s important to know how to tell each type of damage apart from one another.

How to Tell If It Might Be Termites

There are a few tell-tale signs of termites. First, you might see termite swarmers lying dead on a window sill, around a door or flying around. Or you might see mud tubes going up from the ground to your foundation or along a wall in a crawl space. These are shelter tubes that do what they sound like they do. They shelter termites while they march into your home for a wood feast. The third obvious sign is wood … Read Full Post »

How to Winterize Your Home and Yard

a home after a winter storm

Winter is here, and even in a place with milder temperatures, preparing your home and lawn for whatever Mother Nature throws your way can give you and your family peace of mind. Since it’s hard to tell when a more serious freeze or winter storm will pop up, it’s important to get your home prepared early. No matter what comes your way, there are critical steps you can take to be ready.

Heating System

If your heater smells when you turn it on for the first time of the season, that’s a good reminder of the importance of having your HVAC serviced before temperatures dip. Fall is a good time to contact a licensed professional for a tune-up on your heating system. Just as a service call in the spring gets you ready for the blistering summer, a check before winter helps your entire HVAC system run more efficiently. A unit that … Read Full Post »

Does Heat Kill Bed Bugs?

two bed bugs and a bed bug egg

If you’re dealing with bed bugs in your home, you want to know how to get rid of them, fast. These pests are a frustrating problem that can feel overwhelming to solve. What’s the best way to treat them? Does heat kill bed bugs? The good news is, high temperatures do kill off bed bugs in all stages of the life cycle.

High heat is actually the most effective way to kill off bed bugs. This is partly because these pests are highly resistant to insecticide products. Insecticides don’t even reach bed bugs or their offspring well, because the insects hide in tiny cracks that most products can’t penetrate.

Bed bugs are vulnerable to high temperatures, but how hot does it need to be for them to die off? And what can you do to prevent them from returning?

Sustained temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will kill bed bug eggs and … Read Full Post »

Common AC Noises and What They Mean

an air conditioning vent

Learning about normal AC noise versus AC noise that signals a problem is important. This knowledge comes in handy for anyone wanting to know what to do if their AC breaks. After all, there are several noises AC systems commonly make that are perfectly normal. Knowing what isn’t normal is key to keeping your AC in good working order and extending its life as long as possible.

There are a few normal sounds that any well-running AC might make. There’s the humming, starting-up sound the AC makes when it first kicks on, for example. There’s also the gentle whirring noise the outdoor condenser unit makes while it runs. The metal ductwork that connects your AC to the vents in your home might also make noises over time. These sounds come from normal expansion and contraction due to temperature changes through the seasons.

Other noises, on the other hand, can mean the AC … Read Full Post »