ABC Blog

No More Bed Bugs for One Houston Grandma

Raleigh Jenkins and Houston grandmother Audrey Coffey on the day of bed bug inspection

The opening of the Astrodome and the lunar landing are just a couple of our city’s defining moments that 90-year-old Audrey Coffey has witnessed in her lifetime as a Houston resident. She has raised three children in our city, and those children now have kids of their own. Like the Jenkins of ABC Home & Commercial Services, there are three generations of Coffey’s, which is something both our families can be thankful for. Mrs. Coffey has lived in the fifth ward house where she raised her children since 1946, but for the last year, her home had a problem that caused her both physical and emotional distress – bed bugs.

Read Full Post »

Do Insects Feel Pain?

The Latest Thinking on Insect Perception

We’ve been asked whether insects feel pain during the pest control process. After looking into it, we realized that the science on the subject isn’t nearly as settled as you might think. After all, pain is actually pretty complex. However, there are some things we can say for sure about insect perception.

What Is Nociception?

Insect brains are far simpler than mammal brains. In many insects, they’re little more than dense nodes of neurons that process stimuli and control various parts of the body. However, they still perform some of the same functions as human brains. For instance, human brains have nociceptors that process and orchestrate the response to painful stimuli. While insects don’t have nociceptors, experiments have shown that they respond in the same manner as humans whose nociceptors have been activated.

A Revealing Experiment

In one experiment, fruit fly larvae were poked with hot pins and exhibited … Read Full Post »

5 Ways to Freeze Out Bugs This Winter

Keeping your home pest-free so you can enjoy the cooler weather

Winter in Austin may not be a snowy wonderland, but it’s still cold enough to make the warmth of your home seem inviting to pests. From crawling insects to creeping rodents, here’s how to banish these intruders and take back control of the house.

Clear Yard Clutter

Pests hiding in outdoor messes can easily move indoors if you don’t clean up before winter. Clear the leaves out of gutters and sweep them off the porch. Move mulch away from the house and get rid of anything else that might provide a warm, damp haven for cold-weather pests.

Burn Bridges

While you don’t literally want to burn anything, it’s a good idea to check for overhanging tree branches and other potential gateways for pests to enter your home. Wood piles kept next to the house are another prime example of pest habitats. Relocate the wood … Read Full Post »

Cool Facts About Bug Hibernation

Good, Bad and Beautiful Snoozers

There’s nothing like a blast of central Texas cold to eliminate summer pests from the scene, but they don’t all disappear when the chill sets in. Some insects sneak into your house, burrow into the lawn or tuck away deep inside trees. Three local bugs have mastered the snug art of hibernating through our coldest Austin winters.

The Good

It’s impossible not to smile when you spot a lady bug. Whether it’s a bright red specimen or a shiny yellow version, the beneficial insect is welcome in gardens throughout the area. The lady bug has a great reputation for keeping aphids and other flower-destroying pests under control, but the real credit goes to its larvae. Yes, the youngsters do all the work. This pretty beetle can become a problem when the temperatures drop. They can migrate into walls, attics and your home’s HVAC system.

The Bad

You won’t run across … Read Full Post »

Which Pests are Most Active in the Winter?

Dealing with Rodents and Bugs During the Cold Season

Although Austin never gets as cold during the winter as areas in the upper half of the U.S., there’s a winter cool down that can make many bugs and other pests seem to disappear. However, homeowners need to be aware of the fact that there are still a large quantity of pests that will be looking to gain access to the indoors throughout the fall and winter months. Fortunately, you can easily deal with this problem by utilizing the services of a professional pest control company.

What Type of Pests Are Most Common During Austin Winters?

Rodents of all types will be on the lookout for a safe, warm haven where they can pass the winter months without being exposed to the elements. Unfortunately, this haven is generally your home, and the amount of damage that can be caused within your walls and to … Read Full Post »

Cooler Weather Won’t Deter Termites

Why wintertime doesn’t mean you’re safe from infestations

Winter may bring cooler temperatures to the Austin area, but that’s not enough to stop termite activity. Even in the chilliest months of the year, your home may be vulnerable to damage from these pests.

Termites in Winter?

Climates where winter is on the warmer side are more likely to see termite activity throughout the year. Termites don’t hibernate, so if it gets too cold outside, they’re likely to seek shelter indoors. Subterranean termites simply burrow deeper under the ground. Drywood termites live inside anything made of wood including support beams, walls and furniture. If you already have either type of termite in or around your home, the extent of the infestation won’t diminish come winter. That means you have to be on the lookout for signs that suggest you’re cohabitating with wood-eating pests.

Wintertime Termite Damage

The only common sign of termites you probably won’t see … Read Full Post »

Bad Things Come in Threes: Texas Termites

A Trio of Hill Country Trouble

When you flip through a photo lineup of Isoptera mug shots, they all resemble plump ants. Don’t let their ordinary looks fool you. San Antonio homes are vulnerable to destruction all year round to three different types of termites, and each has its own peculiar way of trespassing on property and breaking into central Texas homes.

Sneaky Subterraneans

These destructive termites swarm the area from February through May and build their nests beneath your lawn. Extensive underground hideouts provide necessary moisture and ideal temperatures for termite survival. As the pests expand their territory, they forage for food sources above ground, and your house becomes an easy target. Tiny mud tunnels along foundations and exterior walls are sure signs of thousands of subterraneans on the move, and their damage shows up in wood that appears honeycombed with only its grain left intact.

Determined Drywoods

Drywood termites don’t depend on the … Read Full Post »

When Ants Fight, Are You the Winner?

Figuring the odds on fire vs. crazy

When you first heard about their amazing ability to kick the stuffing out of fearsome fire ants, you were probably impressed with crazy ants. Since the early 2000s, this invasive new species has established its own ferocious reputation, and homeowners from Houston to Dallas are caught in the middle. Should you take sides?

Different Nesting Tactics

Both ant species hitchhiked here from South America where they were already mortal enemies. Perhaps the rivalry began over homebuilding styles. Fire ants take a traditional approach by constructing large mounds in backyards. As their population grows, they branch out with those familiar dirt piles that mean trouble for bare human feet. Crazy ants start out in the lawn, but they aren’t satisfied with life outside. These deranged pests push their colonies into home interiors by nesting in walls and crawl spaces, and they enjoy setting up house in electrical … Read Full Post »

Are Ants Stealing Your Pet’s Dinner?

Texas is home to a variety of pesky ant species that thrive in our year-round warm climate. Ask the professionals how to protect your home from ongoing invasions and chances are they’ll tell you to watch where your crumbs fall. While a lot of other variables – moisture levels, landscaping, and location – come into play when ants look for new spots to settle, food waste is a major source of infestations. Keeping food off the ground is generally great advice, but what if you share your home with a hungry pet? When a food bowl is a permanent fixture on your kitchen floor, following the tips below can make all the difference.

Get to Know Your Enemy

They may look similar, but different ant species behave in very different ways. For example, carpenter ants are nocturnal, while look-alike acrobat ants are active during the day. The more you know about the … Read Full Post »

Restaurant Team Spirit: Your Staff and Pest Prevention

Serving up smart pest control tips

Folks in Dallas enjoy dining out, and their love for delicious food and great service keeps you in business. As hard as you work to make your restaurant profitable, a pest infestation can ruin inventory, run off customers, and put a dent in your reputation. Prevention is your best defense, so get your staff involved in a team effort against expensive invaders.

Back-of-House Strategies

Fresh inventory gets checked in against daily and weekly orders, but kitchen staff should give everything a second inspection before moving it to storage or the walk-in. Anything that pushes food costs over 35% sets off alarms, so there’s no room in the budget for losses from pest contamination. Red-flag meal moths around flour sacks and cockroaches in produce boxes. Stress the importance of rotating inventory, regularly sweeping out storage, and mopping floors after every prep.

Front-of-House Strategies

Your waitstaff knows the restaurant’s layout from … Read Full Post »