ABC Blog

Keeping Pests From Moving In While You’re Away This Holiday

Keeping Pests From Moving In

The holidays are upon us and that means one of two things: family and friends flooding your house or traveling to visit loved ones. It makes the perfect opportunity for overwintering pests to sneak into your empty home unnoticed.

Overwintering pests are the insects and animals that seem to disappear for the winter. Instead of disappearing, these pests find a warm, safe space to lie dormant for the winter. Your home provides the ideal winter hideout for insects such as stink bugs, Asian lady beetles and boxelder bugs, to name a few. This is also the ideal time for rodents such as mice, rats and squirrels to escape the winter elements in your home until warmer weather arrives.

If you are planning to leave for the holiday be sure to prepare your home and eliminate any possible points of entry before you leave. Taking preventative pest control measures for keeping pests from … Read Full Post »

Beach Bugs That Bite: Protecting Yourself From These Pests

Beach bugs that bite

You’ve waited for that perfect beach vacation to come. You packed your swimsuit, beach towels and have the perfect day planned. But, once you get set up in the sand, you start feeling little bites on your legs. You look down and can’t see anything. You have no idea what bit you. These beach bugs that bite can be called a variety of things: sand fleas, sea lice, sandflies and no see ums, just to name a few possible culprits.

In this post, we’ll explore what kind of critters dwell in the sand and which ones might nibble on us, how long sand flea bites last, the difference between sand flea bites and bed bug bites and answer the common question, “What are no see ums?”

Sand Dwellers

There are a number of creatures that live in beach sand, most of which don’t bite humans. These sand dwellers include several species of … Read Full Post »

Mold Mites: What Are They and Why Does It Matter To Me?

Mold Mites

Most of us are familiar with mold. In addition to this fungus that can grow on food, plants and areas where you have moisture or high humidity, you may run across tiny creatures called mold mites. These microscopic white or tan colored mites feed on mold and fungi and are part of the larger species of mites, including cheese mites, flour mites and grain mites.

Mold mites are wingless, smooth and so small that they don’t cause structural damage, and they don’t bite humans. However, these soft-bodied pests do have long “hairs” which can cause an allergic reaction in some people. These creatures can also affect your air quality. Most importantly, the mold that these animals feed upon can pose health risks which can result in coughing, throat irritation, wheezing and nasal stuffiness, particularly in individuals with compromised immune systems. One in three people can experience an allergic reaction to mold. When … Read Full Post »

How to Get Rid of Aphids on Christmas Tree

How to Get Rid of Aphids on Christmas Tree

During the holiday season, thoughts of yummy food, a fire in the fireplace, warm sweaters, cute boots and spending time with family and friends fill your head and heart. The months around Christmas evoke warm and fuzzy feelings from treasured memories and family traditions. A freshly-cut Christmas tree fills your home with a welcoming, nostalgic aroma. The excitement and anticipation surrounding your visit to find the perfect tree may only be matched by the enthusiasm around the arrival of favorite family members and guests who come to stay. While we prepare to welcome these house guests, we don’t want to have to deal with creepy crawly, uninvited visitors. 

Like any live plant, Christmas trees can suffer from diseases, including root rot, Swiss needle cast and insect infestations. When you bring such a large once-living tree into your home, you can sometimes also bring in creatures who hitch a ride. One of the most common … Read Full Post »

How Does Pesticide Work? What Homeowners Should Know

How does pesticide work

A pesticide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is, “Any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.” 

How Does Pesticide Work?

Insecticides are a form of pesticide which typically work by affecting the nervous system of insects. However, they can also affect energy production, cuticle production, the endocrine system and water balance. These chemical formulations can enter through the body, ingestion and inhalation.

Pesticides are used as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) approach, which is a more environmentally-friendly pest control philosophy. The principles of this approach, as laid out by the EPA, state that IPM “focuses on pest prevention and uses pesticides only as needed.”

Types of Pesticide

There is a wide range of pesticides available for residential and commercial applications. Some target insects, while others target algae (algaecides), germs (disinfectants) or weeds (herbicides). The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) categorizes the types of … Read Full Post »

Mealybugs: A Complete Guide To This Lawn Pest

mealybugs

Have you ever found something on a houseplant that you first thought was a tiny piece of cotton, but then you realized was a living thing? Mealybugs can ruin the appearance of your indoor and outdoor plants and can cause a significant amount of damage. When left unchecked, mealybugs can eventually kill a plant. For such small creatures, mealybugs can be surprisingly hard to remove. They are found in warm, moist climates and can be introduced to your home and yard by new plants, tools or other materials.

Mealybugs: A Complete Guide To This Lawn Pest

In this post, we will tell you everything you need to know about mealybugs, including what they look like, their favorite hiding spots, their impact on our green spaces and, perhaps most importantly, what you can do if you find them feasting on your plants.

Tiny White Bugs On Plants Can Be Harmful

Those tiny white bugs you noticed … Read Full Post »

Moles In Texas: How To Control This Lawn Pest

moles in Texas

When something is burrowing in your yard, it can be hard to know what you’re dealing with. Those mounds of dirt can seemingly pop up overnight, displacing plants and flowers or creating ugly tunnels. One of the possible culprits for this type of lawn damage is a mole. What kinds of moles live in Texas, and what should homeowners know about these creatures? In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about these animals, including how to discourage them from making your property their home.

Moles in Texas: How To Control This Lawn Pest

Knowing the difference between gophers, moles and voles, and which is damaging your lawn is helpful in determining the best course of action. All three burrow underground but differ in appearance and diet. When any of these animals take up residence on a golf course or another large tract of land, it can be very … Read Full Post »

Do Fleas Have Wings? Common Questions Answered

Do fleas have wings

If you’ve ever found itchy red welts on your ankles or other parts of your body, you might have wondered if you’d encountered a flea—or a whole pack of them. These tiny, annoying insects feed off animal blood, which means they bite humans as well as other animals. Thus, when they infest your pet or your home, they can become quite a nuisance. 

But how much do you really know about fleas? Do fleas have wings? How does a flea move? What other insects share similar characteristics? Read on to find answers to all your many flea questions, including how to identify them and—perhaps most importantly—how to get rid of them when you’re dealing with a flea infestation.

Do Fleas Have Wings?

While it might seem as if fleas can fly—they certainly do move quickly—they actually can’t. These members of the insect order of Siphonaptera don’t have wings. (Their order’s suffix, aptera, actually … Read Full Post »

Mosquitoes in Texas: What Homeowners Should Know

Mosquitoes in Texas

You’re proud of your home. You’ve spent years caring for it, improving it and making it suit your style. Your home and landscape have never looked better.

But there’s still a problem you’ll encounter, simply because you live in Texas.

Mosquitoes.

In addition to being an annoyance, these tiny biting creatures pose an immediate risk to you, your family and your pets. Maybe you’re starting to feel their presence every time you step outside or you’re tired of getting covered in itchy bites. You might find yourself wondering: are mosquitoes really a problem here in Texas?

Mosquitoes in Texas: What Homeowners Should Know

You probably can’t spend much time outside without feeling the itch of new mosquito bites. New reports of cases of mosquito-borne diseases, such as the Zika virus, don’t seem to be going away.

Now may be the time to rethink the measures you take to protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes. Let’s take a … Read Full Post »

Grasshoppers vs Crickets: What’s the Difference?

grasshoppers vs crickets

There’s no doubt about it: Many insects look alike. That’s even truer when the two insects at question belong to the same family. Take crickets and grasshoppers, for example. There’s been much discussion about grasshoppers vs crickets, so let’s talk about some of the differences between the two species. 

Grasshoppers vs Crickets: What’s the Difference?

At first glance, the two insects look very similar. Their bodies are similarly structured, and they both have antennas. That said, there are several ways you can tell these hopping creatures apart.

Family Ties

Both the cricket and the grasshopper belong to the Orthoptera order. Another member of this family is the locust. While crickets and grasshoppers share a common ancestry, they belong to different suborders. Grasshoppers belong to the Caeliferans suborder, while crickets belong to the suborder called Ensifera. There are more species of grasshoppers—11,000—compared to the number of cricket species: over 900.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Though the … Read Full Post »