ABC Blog

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 »

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 »

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 »

Types of Bees in Texas

bees on a piece of wood

Springtime in Texas is an enjoyable season to get outside and relax in your yard. But as a homeowner, you may be concerned by the presence of bees around your house. Most homeowners are surprised to learn that most bees are not dangerous for humans and play an important role in our ecosystem.

By understanding more about the different types of bees that live in Texas, you will be better prepared to keep your family safe from bee stings.

The Most Common Types of Bees in Texas

Across Texas, there are many different types of bees, including some that are native and others that migrated here. All bees may appear the same from a distance, but up close, there is huge diversity in the bee population.

Some of the most common types of bees in Texas are honey bees, bumblebees, mason bees and carpenter bees. Some of these bees prefer their time alone while … Read Full Post »

How To Identify Bed Bug Casings

bed bug casings and feces in a corner of a dresser

Bed bugs…just thinking about them is enough to make most folks itchy. Cimex lectularius, or bed bugs, are small insects, about the size of an apple seed. Typically, they are brown in color with a flat and oval shape. Like ticks, bed bugs are parasites. They feed on blood and can swell to considerably larger sizes when feeding, which can last up to ten minutes.

Part of what makes these pests difficult to eradicate is their ability to go months at a time without feeding. In the right conditions, bed bugs can go for months without a meal. Additionally, these pests have become resilient to many of the products on the market. To make matter worse, females can lay hundreds of eggs over their lifetime. And, they begin reproducing after only a month, laying eggs three or more times per year.

If you think you may be dealing with bed bugs, look … Read Full Post »