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ABC Humane Wildlife Control & Prevention, Inc.’s Academic Scholarship

At ABC Wildlife, we believe diversity is critical in every scientific field from biology to chemical engineering. While women represent 48% of the American workforce, they make up only 13% of engineering professionals and a mere 7.2% in the field of mechanical engineering. Overall, women are critically underrepresented in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

As a woman-owned corporation operating in a largely male field, we understand the remarkable impact women can have when allowed to break through. We want to pave the way for other women pursuing their dreams in the scientific world, which is why ABC Wildlife is introducing a scholarship designed to increase the number of women studying and influencing the future of science, including technology, engineering and math.

Essay Prompt: Why are you passionate about science, technology, engineering, or math, and how will your pursuit of these fields help preserve biodiversity, improve the health of our planet, or alleviate human suffering?

To apply: Please send your essay response in 1000 words or fewer to grants@abcwildlife.com. The subject line of your submission must include “Women in STEM Scholarship.” You do not need to be a United States citizen to apply. This scholarship is open to persons who identify as female. Graduate and undergraduate students enrolling or continuing in STEM fields of study at accredited universities in the 2016-17 academic year are welcome to apply by the June 26 deadline. 

One (1) award of $1,000 will be granted to the top essay submitted, and up to nine other students may receive awards for their submissions. Funds may be used for tuition, academic projects, medical expenses, housing, living expenses, transportation, or other education-related costs. In addition to your essay, please send proof of enrollment and one letter to serve as an academic reference.

This scholarship was created by Urban Wildlife Manager Rebecca Fyffe, an entrepreneur who is unique in her industry as a female business owner, as only 3% of pest control & management firms are owned by women. Fyffe credits her business acumen and cutting edge research-based methods to her STEM background and wishes for more women to have the opportunity to engage STEM programs and science-based education.

Eligibility:

To apply for the scholarship, applicant must be a student currently enrolled at a college or university recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in the United States.

Applicants must be studying or planning to study the fields of science (excluding social sciences i.e. economics), engineering, mathematics, or technology. If the applicant or the applicant’s parent/legal guardian is employed by ABC Wildlife, Inc. at the time of award, the student is not eligible for the scholarship. Eligibility of finalists will be verified before winners are selected. Applicant must include “Women in STEM Scholarship” in the subject line of the submission email. (submission to be sent to grants@abcwildlife.com)

Description of Scholarship Funds

The selected first-prize winner will receive a one-time $1000 educational scholarship. Funds are provided by ABC Wildlife, Inc. Payments issued by ABC Wildlife, Inc. are made payable to the student. Additional prizes, up to nine (9), may be issued at the discretion of ABC Wildlife, Inc.

Selection and Announcement of Winners

Winners will be selected by the ABC Wildlife team after the deadline of 6/26/2016. Applicants are judged on quality and thoughtfulness of entries. The winners will be announced on or before 7/1/2016.

College/University Approval

The institution must be accredited and listed on the official website of the U.S. Department of Education. All school transfers are subject to accreditation approval.

Digital Rights Agreement

By submitting an entry to this competition, you agree that all essay and image submissions will become the property of ABC Wildlife, Inc., and may be used in marketing materials and reposted or displayed online in whole or partial form without notification.

About ABC Humane Wildlife Control & Prevention, Inc.:

We humanely manage urban wildlife and insects in the interest of human health and safety from an environmental sustainability perspective with a love of nature and a deep respect for all living things. ABC Wildlife has offered humane wildlife removal services to the Chicagoland area for over 35 years.

Visit us at www.abcwildlife.com.

The post ABC Humane Wildlife Control & Prevention, Inc.’s Academic Scholarship appeared first on ABC Humane Wildlife.

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Check Out ABC's Ultimate Orlando Lawn Care Guide [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Keeping your grass,plants and trees healthy and well-maintained can be a challenge. First, you have to have the time to dedicate to your lawn. You also need to make sure you have the right equipment and that it is all in working order. Finally, you need the expertise to know which types of plants work best in which environments, how often to water and how to spot signs of lawn pests and diseases. For homeowners in southern states, the warm climate, lack of rainfall and intense sun make it even more difficult to care for your outdoor spaces.

ABC's Ultimate Orlando Lawn Care Guide

ABC Home & Commercial Services is dedicated to making homeowners' lives easier. Our team of pest control pros has compiled their best advice and tips into the Ultimate Orlando Lawn Care Guide. This8-page downloadablePDF resourceincludes sections on:

Lawn Care Seasonal CalendarWhat Kind of Grass is Best For My Lawn?All You Need to Know About Common Lawn PestsWatering Dos and Don'tsSix Ways to Enhance Your Curb AppealPlants With a PurposeBeneficial Bugs

Download our Orlando Lawn Care Guideto begin transforming youryard into an inviting, relaxing and beautiful destination for the entire family to enjoy.

ABCHelps Homeowners Enjoy Their Outdoor Spaces

Knowing how to maintain and improve your outdoor spaces is the first step to making changes in your yard.When you don't have the time, expertise or tools to do the work yourself, trust the professionals atABC Home & Commercial Services to get the job done. Our pest control experts can helpprotect youryard againstpests. With ABC's help, your lawn will be the envy of the neighborhood.

The post Check Out ABC's Ultimate Orlando Lawn Care Guide [FREE DOWNLOAD] appeared first on ABC Blog.

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What Temperature to Set Your Thermostat in Summer

If you live in an area with a warmer climate, your air conditioner works hard during the summer months. What is the best temperature to set your thermostat during the summer to prolong the life of your unit and keep your home comfortable while not spending too much on electricity? Let's learn about some ways to keep your cool even when the temperature climbs.

What Temperature to Set Thermostat in Summer

If you find yourself blasting your home's air conditioning during the summer, you're not alone. The trick, though, is understanding summer thermostat settings. Read below for tips and tricks on controlling your thermostat during the hot months of summer.

Consider a Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat is one of the first things you should consider, if your home isn't already equipped with one. That's because a programmable thermostat can help you set different temperatures throughout the day without having to do so manually. These changes are based on factors like time of day: when you're at home, when you're away, when you are sleeping and when you are most active. Installing a programmable thermostat allows you to be energy efficient and cost effective while saving you time adjusting the temperature when your home gets either too warm or too cool.

Apply Different Temperatures at Different Times of Day

According to the Department of Energy, homeowners can save as much as 10 percent every year on utility bills by turning back their thermostats for eight hours a day. As long as you are away from work, consider turning your home's temperature up. When at home, the Department of Energy suggests setting the thermostat to 78°F. It might seem warm, but when compared to the heat outdoors, that setting can keep your home cool and comfortable. When you're away, however, consider turning your thermostat up seven to 10 degrees. Here's a good rule of thumb to remember: the smaller the difference between the temperatures inside your home versus outside your home, the lower your costs will be.

Make Some Adjustments Around Your Home

There are plenty of tricks you can employ to keep your home cool, even after you turn the temperature up. For starters, consider installing window treatments or blinds that block sunlight and prevent heat from entering your home. Before you leave, simply close them. Doing so can lower your indoor temperatures up to 20 degrees. To keep cool air in and warm air out, take a close look at the caulking around your doors and windows to ensure your home is sealed tight. Old or broken caulking could be letting the cool air out and the warm air in.

Other helpful tips relate to your home's appliances. It might seem obvious, but running the dishwasher or dryer could be adding extra heat to your home. Instead of running the appliances when the weather is at its peak heat outdoors, consider running them after dark (which could also save you money on off-peak utility use). Move your cooking out to the grill instead of firing up the oven for dinner to keep the heat out of the kitchen. If you do use the oven or stove top, make sure to turn on the exhaust to pull the hot air out. Choose lightweight cotton sheets instead of satin, silk or polyester, which can feel warmer during the summer.

Another way to keep the cool air circulating is by installing ceiling fans in every room and energy-efficient cooling units in warmer areas. If you do have a ceiling fan that you use during the winter months, make sure the blades are adjusted to move in a counter-clockwise position during the summer. Take advantage of later natural light and keep at least some lights off until you need them. Consider opening windows when temperatures drop to circulate cooler air. Solar screens or window film can help block some of the sun's rays from entering your home and having awnings, trees and vines can shelter your home from the relentless summer sun.

One of the reasons your air conditioner works harder during the summer months is that dust and allergens accumulate in your air filter, making your system work harder to cool the same amount of air. Replacing your filters regularly and performing routine maintenance can help your unit better maintain summer thermostat settings.

These suggestions might seem tedious at first, but over time, these simple tricks will become part of your daily routine and can help you save money.

Don't Fall For This Misconception

Despite what some people might think, setting your thermostat at a colder setting than desired will not cool your home in a faster period of time. In fact, it will simply result in excessive cooling, more expenses and potentially, a broken AC system. It might seem counter-intuitive, but the higher the temperature is in your home, the slower the heat will flow inside.

Call An Expert to Keep You Cool

Whether your home needs window caulking or you're looking to install a more energy-efficient cooling unit, ABC Home & Commercial Services has you covered. Our team of highly trained professionals are experts in both heating and cooling and can ensure your home is ready for the warm days ahead. Don't want to wait until your bill is too high. Give us a call today.

The post What Temperature to Set Your Thermostat in Summer appeared first on ABC Blog.

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Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs?

Earwigs are small, flat insects that measure about half an inch long and an eighth of an inch in width when full-grown. Dark brown and shiny, they have banded abdomens that end in a long pair of scary-looking pinchers. If you've ever tried to pick up an earwig, you may have gotten pinched-but you also probably noticed those pinchers weren't actually very powerful. An earwig's pinch might make you yelp in surprise, but it probably won't break the skin, and it almost always happens defensively-meaning, the earwig is frightened and trying to fight off a larger, scarier enemy (you!). So why are earwigs called earwigs, and are the rumors true-do earwigs crawl in your ear? Let's find out more about this often misunderstood insect.

If you've ever tried to pick up an earwig, you may have gotten pinched-but you also probably noticed those pinchers weren't actually very powerful. An earwig's pinch might make you yelp in surprise, but it probably won't break the skin, and it almost always happens defensively-meaning, the earwig is frightened and trying to fight off a larger, scarier enemy (you!). So why are earwigs called earwigs, and are the rumors true-do earwigs crawl in your ear? Let's find out more about this often misunderstood insect.

Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs?

The source of the earwig's rather unfortunate name is the commonly held idea that while humans are sleeping, earwigs crawl into their ears to lay eggs in people's brains. Yuck!

Fortunately, this story is nothing more than a myth. While it's certainly possible, even likely, that at some point in the course of human history, an earwig has happened to crawl into someone's ear, it was likely an accidental and isolated incident.

The good news is, this happens only rarely, and as horrifying an experience as it might be, in the earwig's case, it probably wasn't on purpose. Earwigs as a species simply do not make it a point to seek out sleeping humans' ears for expeditions.

Where Do Earwigs Live and What Do They Eat?

If they don't lay eggs in human brains or feed on our gray matter, what do earwigs eat? Their main dietary staple is damp, rotting leaves and wood, which is why they often make their homes in dead tree stumps and beneath piles of mulch or leaves in gardens. They might also occasionally consume living plants and vegetables, along with small insects like aphids or mites. But generally speaking, earwigs tend to stick to decaying plant matter as their main food source.

Do Earwigs Infest Homes or Cause Other Damage?

So now we know earwigs don't consider humans a delicacy and they don't seek out our ear cavities for making nests or laying their eggs. Do they cause any other type of damage or trouble that might affect humans? The short answer is no. While an earwig might enter your home by accident, it's not likely to seek indoor shelter unless it's especially dry outside. In that case, earwigs might explore inside your home, especially if you live in greenhouse conditions, keeping lots of indoor plants with moist, dense soil that earwigs can access easily. But unlike termites or other destructive and invasive pests, earwigs are highly unlikely to infest your home and won't cause structural damage if they do.

While an earwig might enter your home by accident, it's not likely to seek indoor shelter unless it's especially dry outside. In that case, earwigs might explore inside your home, especially if you live in greenhouse conditions, keeping lots of indoor plants with moist, dense soil that earwigs can access easily. But unlike termites or other destructive and invasive pests, earwigs are highly unlikely to infest your home and won't cause structural damage if they do.

What Should You Do if You Find Earwigs Indoors?

If you find just one or two of the little insects, it's likely they got in by accident and want to leave just as much as you want them out. In that case, simply sweep them up and transport them outdoors, where they can continue living their lives in their natural habitat.

You can also take preventative measures to control earwig populations on your property, which will help prevent them from entering your home in the first place. These measures include the following:

Rake up leaves when they fall, so they don't create damp and attractive nesting grounds for earwigs.Remove rotting tree stumps and other decaying plant matter from your property and around your home, again as a way to reduce potentially attractive nesting spots for these and other insects.Make sure rainwater is directed away from the house with proper grading, working gutters, French drains and the like.When mulching trees or garden beds, try not to spread mulch right up to the house.

Remember, earwigs are attracted to moist plant matter. The closer they're able to live to your home, the better able they'll be to find their way indoors. Keeping moist plant matter away from your home is key in keeping earwigs out of your house and your life-and perhaps most importantly, to minimize the very, very unlikely possibility they will make it into your ears.

Trust ABC As Your Go-To For Pest Removal

If you regularly deal with wandering earwigs inside your home, or if you find so many earwigs that it seems they must have laid eggs or taken up residence inside, you may need to take other measures. If you find yourself in this situation, or if you need help with any other common household pest, call our professionals at ABC Home & Commercial to come assess your situation and come up with a customized plan to resolve the issue.

The post Why Are Earwigs Called Earwigs? appeared first on ABC Blog.

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Swimming Pool Mosquito Control Tips

Having a pool means that you have a built-in destination for relaxation, fun and entertaining. Unfortunately, having a pool also means that you may attract some uninvited guests to your backyard oasis: mosquitoes.

Swimming Pool Mosquito Control Tips

The months of the year that are ideal for swimming are also prime time for mosquitoes. If you're anywhere near a pool or body of water during the warmer months, you will likely encounter these bloodsucking creatures. You may ask yourself: Do swimming pools attract mosquitoes? Since both water and humans attract mosquitoes, unfortunately, the answer is yes. There are some steps you can take to keep mosquitoes out so that you can enjoy your pool and backyard during the warmer months of the year.

What You Need to Know About Mosquitoes

Before you begin mosquito-proofing your backyard, it's important to know a little bit about these pesky pests. For starters, mosquitoes have four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs on the surface of standing water, in damp spoil or on the walls of water-filled containers. One mosquito can lay up to 400 eggs at a time.

The mosquito develops from egg, larva, to pupa while still in water, a process that takes about a week. Since larvae are tiny, mosquitoes can hatch in even the smallest amount of water. Once the insect morphs from pupae to flying adult, mosquitoes mate. After mating occurs, females seek to obtain the nutrients (or blood) necessary for egg development and the cycle begins again. Mosquitoes rely on smell, carbon dioxide and temperature to find humans to feed upon.

Pool Mosquito Prevention Tips

What can you do to keep mosquitoes from spoiling your next dip in the pool? Pool owners trying to take the bite out of their next backyard gathering can take several precautions to control mosquitoes around the pool area.

Keep Your Pool Well-Maintained

One of the best ways to keep mosquitoes away from your pool is by keeping it well-maintained. During the summer months, run a pool pump every few hours to create water circulation. Be sure to chlorinate your swimming pool and maintain disinfection levels, as this will help kill mosquito larvae. Studies have shown that mosquitoes prefer to lay eggs in water with leaves in it, so be sure to promptly skim leaves from the surface of your pool.

Watch For Water On Your Pool Cover

After a rainfall, or even after your sprinklers run, depending on where they are located, water can accumulate on your pool cover when it is not in use. Remove this water promptly, since mosquitoes can develop in as little as 10 days. Keep the cover on your pool tightly sealed to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your pool when some of your pool equipment might not be running as frequently.

Remove Other Sources of Standing Water

Pool water aside, other, smaller bodies of standing water like bird baths or fountains, can also be a possible breeding spot in your backyard. Stock ponds with mosquito-eating fish. Change the water in any plastic wading pools every week, and turn them upside down when not in use to prevent the accumulation of water. Use mosquito dunks in birdbaths and clean out your gutters regularly. Walk around your yard each week to dump out any water that might have accumulated in ceramic pots or other containers.

Keep Your Lawn Tidy

Though a pool and bodies of standing water are the main sources of growth and infestation in your backyard, there are a few things you can do outside of your pool area to help eliminate mosquitoes. Maintaining a manicured, tidy lawn is essential for mosquito prevention. Overgrown grass and hedges provide shelter in the cool vegetation on a hot summer day. To properly care for your lawn, cut your grass regularly, trim the hedges and kill any weeds and wild grass. Avoid overwatering your planters, as leftover moisture can also serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Natural Mosquito Control

There are also a number of natural remedies you can use as well, like citronella candles, torches and lanterns. Citronella oils, when burning, confuse the mosquito by disguising human and animal body odors. While not a guarantee, the use of citronella oil can significantly reduce the odds of a mosquito landing on you or your family when used correctly. Fans can help keep mosquitoes away on a porch or patio.

ABC Can Help Control Your Backyard Pests

Mosquitoes know no boundaries, so even if you do take measures to control them on your property, these pests can easily come from surrounding areas. When mosquitoes are keeping you from enjoying your pool time, trust the pros at ABC Home & Commercial Services to suggest other measures to keep mosquitoes away. Our experts can inspect your property, apply effective localized treatments and even install no-hassle misting stations to automatically apply insecticide at regular intervals to keep these bothersome pests away.

The post Swimming Pool Mosquito Control Tips appeared first on ABC Blog.

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How to Get Rid of Mayflies

If you've ever seen a gathering of flies around your home's doorways or entryway, you've probably encountered a gathering of mayflies. But whether you correctly identified them, well, that's another story. That's because mayflies are often misidentified as dragonflies and damselflies. Although these creatures are relatively harmless, chances are you don't want mayflies inside of your home.

How To Get Rid of Mayflies

Warmer months often mean more flies and insects flying around in and outside of your home. When you start noticing flying insects, the next step is usually taking steps to keep these insects from getting inside of your home. Let's discuss how to properly identify mayflies, what to do if you have an infestation and ways to prevent them from infesting your home again in the future.

Identification

Despite their name, the mayfly is not related to a housefly or other true flies. And though at first glance they might look the same, the two species are actually quite different. Unlike house flies, mayflies have two pairs of wings, not one. Furthermore, their wings are transparent and are held up together over their bodies when still.

While most mayflies have similar body types, there are more than 3,000 species of the flying insect. As a result, there are some differences you might notice. For example, while some mayflies have a small, slender body-some measure just one millimeter in length-others can grow to be up to 30 millimeters long (or about an inch). Regardless of length, all mayflies have two or three long tails that extend from the end of its body. Many species have dark bodies and most have a greenish tint to them.

Habitat and Lifecycle

The mayfly belongs to the Ephemeroptera order. They are aquatic insects, so they spend the majority of their lives in or around water. After mating, females lay their eggs on the surface of a body of water; they can lay thousands of eggs at a time. It's important to note, however, mayflies prefer to seek out clean, fresh bodies of water to lay their eggs.

After the female lays its eggs, the eggs sink beneath the water and stick to plants and stones. At this point, the eggs are referred to as nymphs. Depending on water conditions and the species of the mayfly, the nymph can hatch after a few days or after a number of weeks.

Even after hatching, the nymphs live underwater, finding shelter under stones. During this time, nymphs feed on aquatic plants and organisms by scraping algae from stones and vegetations. A common question is: Do mayflies bite? Unlike other insects, the larval and nymph stages are the only time the mayfly eats, as adult mayflies don't have a functioning mouth. Again, depending on the water conditions and species, the nymph stage can last just a few months or up to a few year's time and can involve several sheddings of its hard outer layer of skin.

Once the nymph is fully developed, it finds its way to the water's surface and emerges from its covering; it becomes an adult once its wings are fully dry. As an adult, though, the mayfly can live as little as two minutes and up to two days. The mayfly has one of the shortest lifespans of all insects and lasts only long enough to reproduce. That means that if a mayfly does find its way inside, it won't be there for very long.

A Mayfly Swarm

You may have seen videos or heard news stories about a mayfly swarm. These invasions occur in certain parts of the country when millions of insects leave large bodies of water at one time during mating season. In a scene out of a horror movie, mayflies have covered roadways and blanketed cars in Illinois, Michigan and Iowa. In some instances, the insects have piled up, knee-deep and swarms have been big enough to resemble storms on local weather radar systems. Since these insects don't bite, mayfly swarms only pose an inconvenience. After the insects mate, all that is left are piles of bodies to be swept away.

Prevention

Thankfully, mayfly swarms are few and far between and occur outdoors. That said, most of us would prefer to keep these insects in their ideal habitat: outside. The best way to spot a group of mayflies is by looking at your home's lighting and entryways. That's because adult mayflies are attracted to light and often gather in large numbers around homes and buildings.

If you want to get rid of mayflies, the first thing you'll want to do is remove any white lights. Start by changing white lights with yellow lights or bug lights and close curtains or shutters at night to keep indoor lights from attracting new bugs. Another way to prevent mayflies is by removing access to clean bodies of water. Because an adult's main purpose is to reproduce, removing possible breeding grounds will eliminate your home's appeal. If you have a pool or other standing bodies of water that can't be removed completely, be sure they're free of algae or any possible food sources, like fallen leaves.

A Trusted Resource for Pest Control

If you encounter a pest problem that you just can't handle on your own, the best thing to do is to call in the professionals. Our expert technicians at ABC Home & Commercial Services are trusted resources for any and all pest control concerns. Our team will properly identify the source of the problem and work with you to find the best way to ensure your home is safe and pest-free for years to come.

The post How to Get Rid of Mayflies appeared first on ABC Blog.

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How Long Do Flies Live?

What's that buzzing around your outdoor picnic? It's probably a fly. That's because the housefly (Musca domestica) is one of the most common insects people interact with on a daily basis. And with more than 16,000 species of flies in North America alone, and an ability to produce an estimated 1,000,000 offspring in a matter of weeks, it doesn't look like they're going anywhere anytime soon.

How Long Do Flies Live?

Let's learn more about the lifespan and lifecycle of a common fly and how you can rid your home of them. We'll also address common myths about flies and dive into the world of these pesky pests.

The Lifespan of a Fly

Contrary to popular belief, the common fly lives longer than a mere 24 hours. In reality, entomologists say that mature house flies can live up to 25 days. And while the typical range is between 15 to 25 days, some reports indicate a lifespan of two full months.

There are a few factors that can help extend a fly's life, though. Like most living creatures, a fly can't survive without food, and a fly can't survive more than two or three days without it. Access to sugar can further enhance a fly's longevity. Another factor is temperature, as adult flies live longer in cooler temperatures.

The Lifecycle of a Fly

The full life cycle of a fly consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The life cycle begins when a female fly lays a batch of eggs, sometimes containing up to 150 eggs per batch; the number of eggs produced in each batch is dependent on the female's size and some can produce between five and six new batches of eggs within a few day's time. Finally, female flies prefer to lay their eggs in a dark, damp environment, like under manure or compost piles. To properly hatch, the eggs, that measure about 1.2 millimeters in length and are white in color, must remain moist.

The next part of a fly's life is the larval stage. Measuring between three to nine millimeters long, the larva can emerge from its egg shell within eight to 20 hours in warm weather. To grow into a maggot, the larva requires temperatures between 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the larva can fully grow in four to 13 days. Though larva grows best in manure-like environments, a little manure is actually needed for development. Once fully-grown, the maggot can crawl to a dry, cooler environment to transform into the pupal stage.

The pupal stage is quite different from the larval stage, differing in both color and shape. For starters, the skin ranges from yellow, red, brown, to black as it develops. Secondly, while the shape of the larva is cylindrical, the pupa is bluntly rounded at both ends. In about two to six days, at a temperature ranging from 90 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit, development is completed and the fly emerges.

The final stage is adulthood. The average fly ranges between six to seven millimeters in length and size can differ between sexes. The female's eyes are far apart while the male's eyes are located close together. Both eyes, however, are red in color. And while both males and females have a grayish colored abdomen, male flies have a yellowish underside.     

How To Keep Flies Out

Now that you know a thing or two about flies, let's explore ways to keep them out of your home. The first step towards keeping flies out is good sanitation. If you have a fly problem, start by removing potential food sources and areas where flies can lay eggs. That means removing compost sites, if any, and keeping your garbage area as dry and clean as possible.

Trust the Experts at ABC With Your Pest Problems

While there are a few other DIY fly prevention tactics, these pesky insects are so prolific that it's usually best to call in the experts to handle the problem. The skilled and knowledgeable technicians at ABC Home & Commercial Services can come perform a thorough inspection and come up with a customized treatment plan to ensure your home is pest free. Flies can be a nuisance, but with ABC Home & Commercial Services, you can rest assured that your home-and pest problem-will be taken care of.

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2017 Zilker Park Events

Just as Austin is deep in the heart of Texas, Zilker Park is right in the center of the city's vibrant and growing downtown area. Overlooking the skyline, Zilker is our own Central Park, with a lush carpet of grass that provides a fun weekend or weekday escape for both two and four-legged Austinites. With Barton Springs, the Austin Nature & Science Center, the Zilker Botanical Garden and the Butler Hike and Bike Trail just a stone's throw away, Zilker Park offers something to please just about anyone.

2017 Zilker Park Events

The centerpiece of Zilker is the Great Lawn, which also doubles as a venue for some of Austin's most popular annual events. Here's what's in store at our city's most popular park during 2017.

Fly a Kite at the ABC Kite Festival

March 12, 2017
Can you imagine a better kick-off to spring than flying a kite? Tens of thousands of Austinites who attend the Austin Kite Festival couldn't agree more. ABC Home & Commercial Services has sponsored the Fest for years and took over the event's management in 2017 as a gift to the city.

Admission to the ABC Kite Fest is free, and proceeds from sponsorships, the VIP Breakfast and the Anteater Fun Run benefit two outstanding local nonprofit organizations, Communities in Schools of Central Texas and the Moss Pieratt Foundation. In addition to the kite-flying competitions which have been taking place for decades, this year's ABC Kite Festival has some new additions which will amp up the fun.

3rd Annual Kite Fest VIP Breakfast

If you have early birds or want to skip the hassle of parking, you can purchase tickets to the VIP Breakfast, which begins at 9 am. Tickets are $80 and are available for purchase online. No tickets will be sold on the day of the event, and the breakfast tends to sell out quickly. There will be no refunds.

Anteater Fun Run

New to the Kite Fest this year is the Anteater Fun Run, a 2.1-mile family-friendly course that begins on the south side of the park and ends with refreshments near the MossFest stage. Check-in for the race begins at 9 am, and the run will start at 9:30 am. Strollers are allowed, and children ages 12 and under are free. Fun Run participants can add on a $10 parking pass for added convenience. The Fun Run is a rain or shine event.

MossFest: A Family-Friendly Concert

After breakfast and a run, you can sit back and enjoy some tunes from Austin's best family-friendly musicians at MossFest, an annual celebration for a very special little boy whose life was cut short. MossFest begins at 10am on a dedicated stage near Lou Neff Point and includes local artists, vendors and family-friendly activities.

The 2017 MossFest lineup includes:

Barton Hills Choir
10-10:40 am

Big Don
10:40-11:10 am

Hey Lolly
11:20-11:50 am

Trout Fishing
Noon-1 pm

Kite Flying & Competitions

The Kite Fest officially starts at 10 am when display kites will begin flying. The general public spreads out across Zilker's Great Lawn to fly store-bought and homemade kites of all sizes. The sight of so many kites dancing in the sky at one time against the backdrop of the city skyline is a sight to behold.

If you'd like to participate in the Kite Contest, you'll need to register between 11 am and 2 pm the day of the event. There is no cost to enter. Only homemade single-line kites are allowed in the competitions. The Contest starts at 1 pm with trophies awarded in a variety of categories for both youth and adults.

Events include:

50 Yard DashHighest Angle KiteSteadiest KiteStrongest Pulling KiteSmallest KiteMost Unusual KiteLargest KiteOldest and Youngest Fliers

For Kite Contest rules and kite-making resources, click here. Display kites will fly until 3 pm and the Kite Fest wraps up at 5 pm.

Summertime Means Blues on the Green

Dates TBA June-August 2017

Favorite local radio station KGSR sponsors the city's longest-running free concert series, Blues on the Green. Austinites of all ages celebrate summer while listening to Austin-based artists from all musical genres in a laid-back setting. Each show features two artists, and the music begins at 8 pm. The 2017 Blues on the Green dates have not yet been announced.

ACL Festival Brings the World's Most Popular Music to our Backyard

October 6-8 & 13-15, 2017

Over 100 musical acts from around the world converge on Zilker Park for the Austin City Limits Music Festival for two consecutive three-day weekends each fall. Ticket sales begin in the fall preceding the Fest, and additional passes are sometimes made available in the months leading up to the event. The lineup for the 2017 festival will be announced in the spring.

Ring in the Season with the Trail of Lights

Dates TBA December 2017

Austin's most popular annual holiday event is the Trail of Lights, which transforms Zilker Park into a holiday wonderland of twinkling lights. With over 40 displays, 2 million lights and many activities and attractions, the Zilker Park Trail of Lights has been delighting Austin families for generations. ABC Home & Commercial Services is proud to be a sponsor of this annual event.

ABC is Proud to Call Austin Home

Zilker Park is just one of the many reasons we are grateful to live and work here in Austin. ABC has been helping Austinites with home and commercial services for over 60 years, which includes a strong commitment to Austin and the annual events which make our town special. ABC thanks our loyal customers for the opportunity to be a part of two of Zilker's biggest annual events: the Kite Fest and the Trail of Lights. We are happy to give back to our great city and look forward to doing so for generations to come.

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How To Dispose of Household Items in Houston

It seems like we're constantly bringing things into our homes-especially those everyday items we know we will eventually need. But before we know it, our homes are filled with countless empty bottles of cleaning supplies, old batteries and electronics we don't use. Adding more items to our home isn't the issue, though; it's how to dispose of those items once we've used them, and to make sure you are disposing of the item in the right way. If you look into how to dispose of trash, Houston is serious about giving residents options outside of adding items to area landfills.

How To Dispose of Household Items in Houston

Some things might be easy to dispose of, like recycling plastic containers. But others, like a washing machine, are sometimes harder to remove. For lightly used items, consider donating household items, like large electronics, to Houston residents that might need them.

Read our list below to learn how you can dispose of other common household items in Houston in the safest way possible.

Where Can I Dispose of Common Household Liquids?

Common household liquids include latex paint, used oil and antifreeze. So if you just finished a painting project, or possibly hosted an outdoor cookout that required cooking oil, this section is for you. If you're trying to dispose of the products mentioned above, you can bring them to the City of Houston's Westpark Consumer Recycling Center. Be sure to check the requirements, though. The center limits your load to two 5-gallon and ten 1-gallon paint cans, 5 gallons of used oil and 5 gallons of antifreeze.

What Should I Do With Old Cleaning Supplies?

The best way to rid your home of cleaning supplies is to use them. But don't simply toss the empty container in the trash or recycling. First, be sure to tighten the lid to ensure no toxic materials can escape. You can also drop them off at your local Household Hazardous Waste facility.

What About Used Batteries?

Even though some batteries, like alkaline and lithium batteries, can simply be thrown in the trash, if given an option, it's still best to recycle them. Others, like power tool batteries, lithium-ion batteries and battery packs must be recycled. To find a recycling center near you, call 1-800-BATTERY or visit call2recycle.org. You can also visit your local Target, as many locations have a Guest Recycle Station that collects MP3 batteries and other small batteries as well.

Does The Same Apply For Light Bulbs?

Yes. While small quantities can be thrown in the trash, it's still best to recycle any bulbs you might have. Compact fluorescent lights and high-intensity discharge bulbs, though, must be recycled. That's because they contain mercury. Take them to the Environmental Service Center. Both locations in Houston will accept fluorescent light bulbs and tubes from residents.

Where Can I Take My Electronics?

Our homes are filled with electronics, many of which we don't use anymore-old cell phones, desktop computers, accessories, DVD boxes and more. Technology is helpful, but it leaves us with outdated models. Lucky, the City of Houston's Electronics Recycling Center and CompuCycle partnered with Greenspot DropOff and Purple Heart to provide more than 60 free electronic drop-off locations. Visit the website to find the location nearest you.

What Do I Do With Large Household Items?

Large household items include washers, dryers, dishwashers and stoves. These aren't collected on the street, and their disposal shouldn't be taken lightly. The Environmental Protection Agency has a nationwide Responsible Appliance Disposal program that can help you schedule an appointment for pickup.

How Should I Dispose of Unused Drugs and Prescriptions?

Contrary to common belief, prescription drugs shouldn't be flushed down the toilet. To combat that mentality, the Drug Enforcement Administration is teaming up to host the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative. The national event takes place in late April of each year. To find a local collection site, visit the site in mid-March for more information.

ABC Cares Our The Communities We Serve

ABC Home & Commercial Services cares about the communities we serve. That means that we use pest and lawn products which get the job done while minimizing our impact on the environment. Safe homes make up safe communities, and we can all do our part to make the greater Houston area a wonderful place to live.

The post How To Dispose of Household Items in Houston appeared first on ABC Blog.

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Know Your Stinging Insects: Bees, Wasps, and Hornets! Oh, My!

Summer is a time for picnics, going to the beach, and running away from anything yellow and black-striped with wings.  It's human instinct to be scared of stinging insects, but not all of them are worth the screaming and the flailing.  Since it isn't always easy to tell these species apart, I've put together a guide of the most common bees, wasps, and hornets we see during Illinois summers.  You shouldn't have to work for a pest control company to be educated about stinging insects.  I'll go in order from cute and fuzzy to RUN AWAY!

 

 

 

 Bees Bumble Bees 

Most often seen around flowering plants, bumble bees are probably the easiest stinging insect to identify.  They have a girthy, round torso with thick hind legs (called pollen baskets) and an abundance of fuzz that helps them collect the pollen that they use to make honey.  Unlike honey bees, however, bumble bees make very little honey; only enough to last them a few days at a time.  Their nests are also much smaller and look kind of like a disheveled hodgepodge of grass, leaves, and yellow bubbles.  Of the stinging insects, bumble bees are the least likely to sting you, and they're hugely beneficial to the environment.  Plus, they're cute.  You can thank bumble bees for pollenating all the pretty flowers and vegetables in your garden.

Honey Bees 

Honey bees are our very favorite stinging insect at ABC Wildlife.  They're great for local flora, and they're generally very docile.  Honey bees are built somewhat similarly to bumble bees, only slightly slimmer and smaller.  Like bumble bees, they are yellow or amber with black stripes and obvious fur for collecting pollen.  They also have sturdy back legs with pollen baskets.  But honey bee colonies are much larger in number, and they prefer to build their waxy hives in void spaces, like between walls or
inside of hollow trees. They gather pollen and nectar from plants
to make honey, pollenating plants in the process. If it weren't for
honey bees, our plant population wouldn't be nearly as thriving
or diverse. Also, we wouldn't have honey, which means we
wouldn't' have baklava. No one wants a world without baklava.

Carpenter Bees

Sometimes carpenter bees are difficult to distinguish from bumble bees.  They're large and robust with a fuzzy, yellow upper torso, but their abdomen is shiny black with some bluish or greenish iridescence and very little fur.  Carpenter bees get their name from their proclivity for burrowing into wood to make tunnels where they nest.  They are also important pollinators and far more likely to carve holes in a house than poke holes in a person.  In fact, male carpenter bees don't even have stingers.  Are you noticing a theme here?  Typically, the more interested a stinging insect is in flowers, the less aggressive it is.

Wasps

To tell the difference between a bee and a wasp, all you have to do is look at the torso and the legs.  Wasps have a very defined waist (hence the fashion term “wasp-waist”) and spindly, yellow or brown legs.

Paper Wasps

Just like most stinging insects, paper wasps are striped in black, yellow, and brown.  They have the telltale narrow waist and thin legs of a wasp, but when they take flight, their legs hang low behind them.  This is the easiest way to tell if you're dealing with a paper wasp without having to get too close to it.  Their nests are shaped like an umbrella, and they're open and exposed so you can see the papery cells where they lay their eggs.  If you see a honeycomb-like nest starting to take form in the eaves of your house, those are definitely paper wasps.  Paper wasps aren't
as aggressive as some stinging insects, but it's still best to stay
away from them.

Yellow Jackets 

Yellow jackets are bright yellow and black, shiny, and mean.  They can look a lot like paper wasps, but with a thicker abdomen, and their hind legs don't hang down.  Yellow jackets are cavity dwellers, which means they build their nests in hollow spaces.  Common locations are between walls or underground in vacant animal burrows.  If you see several yellow jackets flying around a centralized location of your property (we call this “airport activity”), call a pest control company immediately.
Yellow jackets are dangerous.  If they view you as a threat to their nest,
they will not hesitate to attack.

Bald-Faced Hornets

These guys are the scariest of the stinging insects common to Illinois.  Even though they're called bald-faced hornets, they are actually wasps.  Instead of the typical yellow or brown coloring, they are mostly black with white on the face and tip of the abdomen.  Bald-faced hornet nests look like gray, papery balls, and they hang from trees or eaves of structures.  If you encounter a bald-faced hornet nest, do not pass go, do not collect $200.  Bald-faced hornets are extremely aggressive and
have the ability to sting over and over, so get away as quickly as
possible and call a professional pest control company.  I cannot
emphasize enough how important it is that you do not attempt
to remove the nest yourself.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of which stinging insects to worry about, which are relatively harmless, and how to tell the difference.  However, even the mildest of bees and wasps can pose a danger, which is why I strongly caution against trying to remove any stinging insects nest yourself.

Who Can I Call About Stinging Insects?

Any pest control company worth its salt will have experienced technicians who specialize in bee, wasp, and hornet removal.  But at ABC, our technicians undergo extensive training to prepare them for this kind of work.  They're educated in proper removal techniques depending on species, location of nest, and even the time of day they're treating the nest.  We also have a certified team of honey bee removal experts who specialize in safely and humanely relocating honey bee colonies.  And one of the things I love most about our company is that we also repair damage caused by stinging insect nests.  For example, if honey bees or yellow jackets have built their hive between the walls in your home, ABC can extract the colony, remove the nesting material, sanitize the area, and restore the walls.  If I may toot my own ABC Wildlife horn, I think that's pretty awesome.  If would like even more information about bees, wasps, and hornets, please give us a call at (847) 870-7175.  Our representatives are full of great information, and they're happy to answer any questions you may have.

Sharing is caring!  If you've learned something from what you've read, please click one of the icons below to share this post on social media.

Karen Jesse is a wildlife writer and educator licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Public Health in urban wildlife management and structural pest control.  She enjoys hiking, telling people how cool skunks are, and opera.  

 

 

 

Images are courtesy of Martin Stitchener, Smudge 9000, Coniferconifer, Robin Atherton, Chad Routh, and Wplynn via Flickr.

The post Know Your Stinging Insects: Bees, Wasps, and Hornets! Oh, My! appeared first on ABC Humane Wildlife.

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Bulwark Exterminating Receives Thumbtack Honor

TweetThis just in from Thumbtack: Bulwark Exterminating is currently one of Thumbtack's most active and highest rated skilled professionals in all of Austin; as Thumbtack awards Bulwark as Austin's Top Pro! This prestigious recognition is awarded to the best companies that demonstrate superior customer service; based on the customer reviews. Essentially, Thumbtack's Top Pro recognition is votedRead More
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They Don't Teach Bat Wrangling In Music School: Bat Removal And Opera

For those of you that don't know me, in addition to all of this wildlife talk, I'm also a trained, professional opera singer.  And, oddly enough, I've had far more interaction with bats through opera than I've ever had working for ABC Wildlife.  In fact, the first opera I was ever in was called Die Fledermaus, which is German for The Bat.  Literally translated, Fledermaus means “flying mouse”, and while they might look kind of like mice with wings, bats aren't rodents at all.  They're actually their own order of animal, and they make up roughly 20% of all mammal species.  That means there are bats around you all the time just hanging out and being awesome without you even knowing about it.  So let's talk about bats.  When are they an asset, and when is it time to call a bat removal expert?

Singing in Chautauqua means never having to worry about bugs flying into your open mouth

I've had the pleasure of spending several summers with the opera theater company at the Chautauqua Institution.  Chautauqua is a resort community in upstate New York where people can spend the summer enjoying concerts, theater, lectures, etc.  It's located on a huge lake, there are a ton of beautiful, shady trees, and it gets very hot and VERY humid.  It took me a while to realize that despite the conditions being ideal for mosquitoes, there are none in Chautauqua.  None.  I distinctly remember walking outside one night and looking up into the sky and seeing several dozen birds flying overhead.  I thought to myself, “Hey, look at all those pretty birds!”  And then I thought, “Wait a minute…birds definitely don't fly at night.”  The reason Chautauqua is so blissfully mosquito-free is because it is home to a huge bat population.  Bats are pretty much the unofficial mascot of this community, and Chautauquans go to great lengths to preserve their bat colonies and educate people about these little, winged marvels.  All of us at ABC Wildlife wish that more people had this attitude.  Bats are amazing, and immensely valuable to the environment, plus they're adorable.  Just look at that smooshed, furry face!  In addition to controlling mosquito populations, they also contribute to healthy agriculture by eating crop-destroying insects and pollinating plants.  They might look a little weird, but they're so important.

They don't teach you how to wrangle bats in music school 

My second encounter with bats was far more interactive and humiliating.  Opera training doesn't exactly equip you to deal with real life situations.  I was performing Dido and Aeneas with an opera company in upstate New York (seriously, upstate New York is a hotbed for summer opera and bats) and living in a very beautiful, but very old, Victorian house.  One evening, my friend Elizabeth and I were hanging out in her room, and all of a sudden there was a bat swooping across the room.  Since this was well before I knew anything about handling wildlife, what followed was nothing short of embarrassing.  It involved Elizabeth screaming and diving under the comforter while I wielded a broom and a trashcan like pajama-clad Valkyrie, trying to corral the bat into the bathroom.  What we did right in this situation was…well, basically nothing.  Keeping the animal isolated in one room is proper protocol, but we could have accomplished this by simply leaving the room and closing the door.  We also released the bat once it was captured, which is a big no-no.

How one should handle bats inside of a house will vary depending on WHERE that bats are.  If there is a colony in your attic, bat removal should be taken care of using excluders or one-way doors that allow the bats to leave, but not reenter.  This is safe for both you and the bats.  However, any time a bat comes into a living space like a bedroom, kitchen, or living room, it should be hand captured by a licensed professional and sent in for rabies testing.  Contrary to what popular culture would have you believe, bats aren't naturally aggressive, and they don't have a taste for human flesh.  Generally speaking, they just want to eat bugs and sleep and poop.  But they will use their teeth if they feel threatened, and it's entirely possible to be bitten without even knowing it.  So if you find yourself in a bedroom with a bat, close all of the windows and doors, and call a professional bat removal company immediately.

Who you gonna call?  Bat removal specialists!

Facing any animal encounter when you aren't used to dealing with animals can be weird and scary, and you won't always know the right thing to do.  As you can see, I've been there myself.  If you are ever in doubt of how you should be handling a wildlife situation, you should always call a wildlife control company, because they WILL know what to do.  We ABC Wildlife folks love speaking to people about animals, and we love solving problems.  Our dedication to preserving the bat population is intense, which is why we use the most humane bat removal methods possible when excluding colonies.  Call us today at (847) 870-7175 and we'll be happy to answer all of your bat questions.  I'll be happy to answer all of your opera questions, too.

Sharing is caring!  If you've learned something from what you've read, please click one of the icons below to share this post on social media.

Karen Jesse is a wildlife writer and educator licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Public Health in urban wildlife management and structural pest control.  She enjoys hiking, telling people how cool skunks are, and opera.  

 

 

Images courtesy of Gilles San Martin and Anna Leonteos

The post They Don't Teach Bat Wrangling In Music School: Bat Removal And Opera appeared first on ABC Humane Wildlife.

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Squirrel Removal: Protect Yourself From Squirrelpocalypse

The squirrels we see running along fence lines or jumping from tree to tree in our yards may seem harmless, but what you might not realize is that they are also masters of chaos and destruction.  From city-wide blackouts and massive phone system malfunctions to house fires and insulation damage, the list of havoc they can wreak is endless.  Between squirrel removal and damage repair, these nutty, little monsters cost Americans millions of dollars each year.    

Squirrels are taking over the power grid

Recently, the ABC Wildlife team became aware of a website called Cyber Squirrel 1.  This site keeps track of news stories around the country that report squirrels as the cause of major damage.  Being a bunch wildlife nerds, naturally, we think this site is pretty awesome. Cyber Squirrel 1 has a map that is completely covered in little acorn icons, and each acorn represents a news article reporting squirrels as the cause of some kind of damage.  Most of the incidents are major power outages.  Last year, squirrels caused 2,500 Champaign citizens to lose electricity, and they took down River Forest District 90’s entire phone system.  Across the entire country, millions of people have been impacted by squirrels’ war on technology, and you could be next.    

Squirrels are taking over your house

Other incidents listed on Cyber Squirrel 1 were on a smaller, but no less disastrous level.  In April of 2015, a squirrel nest inside the attic fan of a Batavia family caught fire, causing more than $3,000 dollars in damages.  Squirrels are just as skilled at harming homes as they are the power grid.  They are menaces year round, but they’re more likely to invade attics during winter.  In addition to needing shelter from the cold, December through January is mating season, so squirrels are looking for a safe, cozy place to establish a den site.  Squirrels create nests within the insulation, which commonly consists of them tearing up and bunching together the loose fibers in order to make a suitable area to rest.  Depending on the location of the nest they’ve created, especially if in close proximity to electrical wires, fire safety is a serious concern.  An estimated 20% of all indeterminate house fires in the U.S. are caused by rodents, including squirrels.  Also, squirrels leave behind deposits of urine and feces.  This type of contamination can spread a variety of zoonotic diseases and parasites.  As with many wild mammals, there is the risk that the squirrels in your home will host insects such as fleas, ticks, and mites.  Sadly, these dangers aren’t the only thing to worry about when dealing with a squirrel infestation.

Squirrels are very persistent when looking for an entry into a structure.  They will commonly take advantage of unprotected roof vents, vulnerable points in the wood construction, and will chew through vent screens to gain access.  With wildlife, where there’s a will, there’s a way.  It is crucial that steps are taken to prevent these types of occurrences from taking place, and calling a professional squirrel removal expert is your best option.     

Humane Squirrel Removal

From humane trapping programs to animal-proof vent guards to cosmetic structural repair, ABC Wildlife’s team of Illinois State certified squirrel removal technicians are ready to take action and protect you from the squirrelpocalypse.  If you’re currently wrestling with an infestation or are simply looking to protect your investment,   our crew of licensed and insured in-house repair specialists will leave you with the one thing a home-owner desires above all else: peace of mind.   Contact us today at 847-870-7175 for more information on how to safely and humanely handle squirrel removal.

Sharing is caring!  If you’ve learned something from what you’ve read, please click one of the icons below to share this post on social media.

Alex Nechvatal is a nuisance wildlife and pest control specialist licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Public Health.  He enjoys sharing his expertise with clients, spending time in the outdoors, and is an accomplished guitarist.

 

 

Karen Jesse is a wildlife writer and educator licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Public Health in urban wildlife management and structural pest control.  She enjoys hiking, telling people how cool skunks are, and opera.  

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Steve Baker via Flickr 

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Skunk Removal: Why Dealing With Skunks Stinks

With warmer weather on the horizon, there's an good chance that you may encounter one of the smelliest creatures in our ecosystem. The striped skunk is starting to awaken from its partial state of winter rest (also known as torpor) to begin mating. Skunk numbers are on the rise every year, and with a more prolific and active population comes the increased likelihood of encountering that odor we all know and dislike so much. It is important to take the necessary steps to ensure that you're protecting your home against intrusion and minimizing personal contact with them.

Aside from the obnoxious odor, why should I steer clear of skunks?

Most importantly, skunks are the top carrier of rabies in the state of Illinois. While they are the less likely than bats or raccoons to transmit the virus, they are certainly still a threat to other mammals. This includes humans and pets. Given their furry build, skunks are also well known for carrying a variety of insect pests including fleas. This is another reason skunk removal is so crucial, especially if you have indoor or outdoor pets. Luckily, precautions can be taken to prevent you and your cat or dog from coming in contact with skunks.

How do I minimize the likelihood of coming in contact with a skunk, especially where my dog is concerned?

The easiest way to minimize your dog's exposure to skunk is to keep her close by when she is outside. Keep an eye on her if you let her out into the backyard, and make sure she is on a leash when you go for your evening stroll. Skunks are crepuscular, which means they are more active at dawn and sunset, so these are the times to be most cautious. As a general rule of thumb, skunks will spray when they're feeling threatened, so if you can keep Lady under control when tromping about the yard, she's less likely to get hit with the pungent, oil-based secretion. The most effective way to assure that you won't tread upon a skunk's living quarters is to take a more permanent means of guarding your home and other structures on your property.

How do I defend my home against intrusion?

More times than not, skunks will take advantage of the protruding areas of your home such as decks, stoops, porches, bay windows, and even the concrete slab your A/C unit sits on. When they burrow in these locations, they will usually dig along the foundation line. The solid cement wall gives them an added sense of security. They then spray their new den to let others know, "This is my home!" Be aware that they can and will certainly take up residence underneath your shed as well. ABC Wildlife's licensed skunk removal technicians have years of experience handling nuisance animal issues. They are skilled in identifying skunk burrows and creating humane trapping programs to capture and remove these creatures from your property. Once the skunks are gone, the best way to prevent a repeat infestation is with ABC Humane Wildlife's animal-proof screen-up service. This investment promises to keep not only skunks, but also raccoons, opossums, and a variety of other wildlife from occupying your land. Protecting these structures prevents you from having to face the stinky consequences of a skunk infestation.

Skunk removal with ABC Wildlife

For additional information on skunks and how to cope with their presence, please contact one of our state-certified representatives by calling (847) 870-7175 today! We're dedicated not only to solving your problem, but also to giving you peace of mind. We offer free skunk removal consultations with the most knowledgeable members of our staff to calculate the lowest possible cost for you. Please contact us today, we look forward to assisting you.

Sharing is caring! If you've learned something from what you've read, please click one of the icons below to share this post on social media!

Alex Nechvatal is a nuisance wildlife and pest control specialist licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Public Health. He enjoys sharing his expertise with clients, spending time in the outdoors, and is an accomplished guitarist.

Image courtesy of Land Between the Lakes via Flickr

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Can You Add a Waterfall to an Existing Pool?

 

Your existing pool is a place where everyone goes to hang out. Just thinking about it makes you smile; you and your family have made quite a few good memories playing in or around it. And while the pool itself has been great, a little upgrade never hurt anyone. Adding a waterfall to a pool, for example, and other yard enhancements are a feasible addition that can really make your backyard stand out from the rest.

Can You Add a Waterfall to an Existing Pool?

The good news is it's definitely doable. So if you're willing to take on a backyard project, we've got some tips to help you out. Before you do, ask yourself: Is a waterfall the right decision for you and your home? There are many things to take into consideration when thinking about adding this feature to your pool.

Benefits Of A Waterfall

One of the more obvious benefits of adding a waterfall to your home's existing pool is the lovely aesthetic a waterfall lends to your yard. In the same regard, the white noise a waterfall creates is relaxing and can enhance your backyard's overall feel. Finally, adding a waterfall can also increase the value of your property.

But in terms of your actual pool, a waterfall can also help with things like filtration. Because the waterfall keeps water moving, it helps your pool's ability to clean itself. Thus, a waterfall helps maintain your pool's water health and usability.  Similarly, the constant moving water ensures your pool will remain algae free. And arguably the most important added benefit is that waterfalls can help cool the pool water's temperature, even during the hot months of summer.

Things To Consider

After you've made the decision to add a waterfall to your existing pool, there are a few items you'll need to consider. After reading the benefits it almost seems silly to decide against it!

For starters, you'll need to decide on the desired look. There are many options to choose from such as the type of material you'll use, the size of the waterfall, and placement around the pool. You'll need to make sure it works and fits in the space you have. When doing so, consider the waterfall's height and depth of the structure. Finally, ask yourself whether your desired look will suit your family's lifestyle and needs.  

Like anything you build, the most important part of your project is ensuring a sturdy base. Determine where you want the waterfall to sit and decide how many levels the structure will be, as it will affect the dimensions of your frame. Next, you'll want to purchase the materials and assemble them into place. And while wood is often recommended for larger structures consisting of more than one layer, selecting the right materials is key. Options will depend on your design choice but can include materials like faux stone, natural boulders, and prefabricated designs as well. Last, but not least, you'll need to modify your pool pump to make sure it accommodates the new waterfall feature.

Additional Enhancements

While our team specializes in pools and waterfalls, we can also help with a number of other backyard enhancements, too, if you decide a waterfall just isn't for you. A few of our favorites include a deck jet, or fountain spitter which shoots a narrow stream of water from the deck into your pool, a rainfall curtain, and a scupper. Don't forget about the perimeter outside you pool! Adding pool plants to your backyard can create the oasis you long for. These options all provide a different, yet appealing aesthetic to your pool.

Call The Pros

Adding a waterfall to an existing pool involves a good understanding of your pool's mechanics, drainage, masonry, pump systems and filtration. Once your waterfall is installed, our team at ABC Home & Commercial Services can handle any needed repairs, maintenance and pool cleaning. In addition to what we can do inside of your pool, we can also make improvements to your poolside area by giving your deck an update or adding in landscaping. Whether you opt for a waterfall or a different water feature, rest assured that ABC Home & Commercial Services can help you get the most out of your pool. Happy swimming!

The post Can You Add a Waterfall to an Existing Pool? appeared first on ABC Blog.

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Save Money Using Smart Summer Thermostat Settings

When it's blazing hot outside, the temptation to crank your air conditioner down to Arctic settings to make your home cool and comfortable is strong. What temperature to set your thermostat in summer depends a lot on your goals. Do you want to conserve energy, thereby saving money on your monthly electricity bills? Or do you prioritize personal comfort, regardless of cost? Either way, the smartest summer thermostat settings are probably a little higher than you think, for several good reasons.

Smart Summer Thermostat Settings

Average air conditioner temperature settings vary from season to season. Even within a given season, you might adjust your thermostat in response to days when the weather is hotter, cooler, or more or less humid than normal.

Regardless of those factors, when determining the best summer thermostat settings for our homes, many of us place a priority on both personal comfort and conserving energy (costs), and will try to balance the two. While many people believe a standard summer thermostat setting is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, that's actually too low for most people's comfort and it certainly consumes a great deal of energy, especially on the hottest days.

For most, setting the thermostat in summer at 78 degrees F is low enough to keep the home comfortable, yet still high enough to save energy and associated costs. Take a few days to figure out what works best for your family.

How to Balance Comfort with Energy Conservation

Along with setting your summer thermostat at 78 degrees (or your desired temperature), there are several other simple, common-sense steps you can take to save energy costs while staying cool and comfortable in your home:

Close blinds and curtains during the day, especially on south- and west-facing windows, to reduce heat from sunlight entering the home.If the area where you live cools down sufficiently overnight, turn off your air conditioner in the evening and open windows to let cool air circulate through your home.Use ceiling or free-standing fans to circulate air within your home and help keep you cooler. Remember to turn fans off when a room is not in use.Install a programmable thermostat so you can program it to run at a higher temperature for longer periods when you know you'll be away (such as during regular work hours) and to begin cooling your home to the usual lower temperature about an hour before you're scheduled to return.Clean or replace air filters on a frequent and regular basis and vacuum registers to keep them free of dust, animal hair and other debris that can impede air flow through the system. Also be sure to keep furniture and other items from blocking the registers.Keep your air conditioner properly maintained with annual checks by a reputable professional.Keep lamps, televisions, computers and other heat-producing items away from the thermostat in your home. These might cause the thermostat to take a higher-than-accurate reading of ambient temperature, resulting in added costs as your air conditioner works to cool your home excessively.Avoid using the oven on hotter days, if possible, and run only full loads of dishes and laundry, since each of these appliances generates heat that can build up in the home.Consider installing exterior awnings over any windows that receive lots of direct sunlight (likely, windows facing south or west that do not have trees or other plants or structures nearby to block the light).A Note On What NOT To Do

Common misconceptions about how air conditioners work can lead some people to set their thermostats to a lower-than-normal temperature in an attempt to make the home cool faster. This technique won't work and is likely to result only in excessive energy costs or worse and cause your AC to stop working, so don't make this mistake!

Call ABC to Keep You Cool This Summer

Call on ABC for any and all of your air conditioning needs. Our trained and experienced HVAC professionals can help you with setting up annual maintenance checks to keep your system running at top efficiency and we also respond quickly when your air conditioner breaks down or has a problem. Whatever your AC needs, ABC is here to help keep your home comfortable and your energy bills as low as possible, all summer long.

The post Save Money Using Smart Summer Thermostat Settings appeared first on ABC Blog.

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Chinch Bugs: What Homeowners Need to Know About This Common Lawn Pest

Your lawn is full of all kinds of small insects, some which are beneficial, and some which are not. Chinch bugs are a common lawn pest that can do a lot of damage to your grass. Let's learn more about chinch bugs, how to know you have them and how to get rid of them if they are in your yard.

Chinch Bugs: What Homeowners Need to Know

Southern chinch bugs are small and slender with white wings with distinctive black triangular marks. Nymphs will go through five phases. The color will change from red with a faint white band across the midsection to black with a white band. They are the top pests associated with St. Augustine grass, although they can also feed on other grass species, such as Zoysia and Bermuda grass.

Chinch bugs are inactive during the winter months, as they prefer warmer, dry climates. This means that in warmer parts of the country, they can be active most months of the year. When feeding, chinch bugs suck the juices out of your grass and inject the blades with their toxic saliva to inhibit the flow of water, causing grass to die.

Female chinch bugs can lay up to 300 eggs under optimal conditions, which then take two weeks to hatch. The entire life cycle of a southern chinch bug is seven to 8 weeks, which could allow for up to five generations of chinch bugs throughout the year if you live in a hotter region of the country.

Do Chinch Bugs Bite?

Although these small pests can do some serious damage to your lawn, they are harmless to humans. They may mistake your hair follicles for a blade of grass and try to bite, causing you some itching and discomfort for a moment, but will move on to seek out their normal food.

How Do I Know If I Have Chinch Bugs?

One of the first signs of chinch bugs living in your lawn is the appearance of large numbers of live insects which are visible when you part or step in the grass. If the chinch bug infestation has gotten out of hand, the impact can resemble drought damage. A chinch bug infestation will look like irregular patches of grass surrounded by a perimeter of dead grass.

If you are still not sure if your patchy grass is a result of drought damage or chinch bugs, you can perform what's called a float test by following these six easy steps:

Cut the bottom and top lids off a coffee can.Push the can into the ground, using a twisting motion.Fill the can with water.Wait for about 10 minutes.See if any chinch bugs float to the surface.Repeat in several different locations in your yard where grass appears damaged and not dead.How to Get Rid of Chinch Bugs

If the float test reveals an infestation, you'll want to take care of the problem right away before small patches turn into an entire yellow lawn of dead grass. Call in a lawn care professional or treat the area with an herbicide. If you choose to treat the infestation yourself, make sure to read the label carefully before using it.

After you treat the affected areas, clear all the thatch from your lawn, as this provides a safe place for chinch bugs to hide. The best way to prevent chinch bugs from returning is to practice proper lawn care. Maintaining a healthy lawn helps your grass bounce back from the damage caused by feeding chinch bugs. Keep an eye out for these pests, keep thatch to a minimum and consider applying preventative control products in early spring.

More Ways to Prevent Chinch Bugs from Invading Your Lawn

Southern chinch bugs are attracted to dry conditions, so it's important to maintain a regular watering schedule. Ensure grass doesn't receive too much or too little moisture. You'll want to keep lawn thatch to a minimum with regular mowing, aeration and top-dressing. If you've caught a small patch of chinch bug damage, apply an insecticide with spot treatments to prevent any further damage. Here are a few things you can do to prevent an infestation:

Avoid applying excessive fertilizer.Mow grass to the recommended height.Lower the amount of applied nitrogen in turfgrass.Make sure your lawn is properly irrigated by keeping a regular watering scheduleUtilize predatory insects, including big-eyed bugs, lacewings and ants.Apply insecticide as soon as you notice unusual, yellow patches in your lawn.ABC Can Protect Your Yard from Lawn Pests

Since it only takes two weeks for chinch bug eggs to hatch, it can be hard to get rid of these pests on your own before the next generation of chinch bugs are born and cause more damage to your yard. Call in an expert to help you get the job done fast. Our professionals at ABC Home & Commercial can diagnose the problem, treat it quickly and help you prevent future infestations.

The post Chinch Bugs: What Homeowners Need to Know About This Common Lawn Pest appeared first on ABC Blog.

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How to Treat Ant Bites

For such a tiny creature, ants have quite an impact on humans. These insects have lived on Earth for over 100 million years, outlasting the dinosaurs. As social animals, ants live in groups that can number in the millions. Although ants perform an important function in nature, bites from these pests can be annoying, painful and can even trigger a life-threatening allergic reaction in some individuals.

How To Treat Ant Bites

To help better understand how to treat an ant bite, it's helpful to know about the different types of ants you might encounter and what attracts them to your home. Once you have treated your ant bite, you'll also want to learn how to avoid an infestation so you won't getting bitten in the future.

The Fire Ant

The ant most commonly associated with painful stings is the fire ant, which is sometimes called the red ant or simply RIFA (for red imported fire ant). There are actually over 200 species of red ants which are invasive in many parts of the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia and Taiwan. In fact, over half the people living in red ant-infested areas are stung by these insects each year. Easily identified by its reddish-brown color, this invasive species is most commonly found in the southern part of the country. Another easy identifier is its mounds, which can grow between 18 to 24 inches in height. While fire ants can build mounds on a variety of soils, they prefer to build them in open, sunny areas like parks, lawns and fields.

Despite its small size-most range between one-eighth to one-quarter inch long-fire ants are very active and very aggressive. Fire ants usually eat emergent plants and seeds, but also can attack and kill small animals. While most other ant species bite and spray acid onto the wound, fire ants do the most damage by stinging you and injecting a toxic venom from their abdomen. Although fire ants build their nests outdoors, they can find their way into your homes via HVAC systems and AC units in search of food and water. They will eat just about any plant or animal they can find and have adapted to survive in extreme conditions.

Signs of Fire Ants

As we mentioned above, spotting a fire ant mound is the best way to spot an infestation or large colony. And if you do, you'll want to take swift action. If left alone, these ants can be a danger to both you and your family. If disturbed, fire ants will attack in swarms and each ant can (and will) sting several times. You'll feel a fire ant bite immediately, too, as all bites will cause a stinging, itching and a painful reaction to the area affected.

How to Treat Fire Ant Bites

Although the reaction to a fire ant bite varies widely from person to person, the discomfort can be magnified if multiple ants sting you at one time or if a single ant stings repeatedly. Many bites start as a small lump and can often transform into a blister, filled with pus-like material. If irritated, infected areas can leave a scar when healing.

If attacked by fire ants, treat the bites by washing the affected area with soap and water. You can also apply ice to reduce the swelling and pain or use topical over-the-counter steroid or aloe vera-based creams. Antihistamines can help reduce the itching sensation and lessen the reaction to the bite. Avoid scratching, though, as doing so can cause bites to become infected. If left alone, bites should heal in about a week's time.

Signs of a dangerous allergic reaction include difficulty breathing and swallowing, nausea and dizziness. These symptoms will develop quickly after bitten. If you or a family member is experiencing such symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

How to Get Rid of Fire Ants

There are various ways to rid your home of fire ants. The two most common and effective ways are individual mound treatments and broadcast treatments. And while these can sometimes be managed using a do-it-yourself approach, fire ants are notoriously hard to eliminate. The best way to safely and effectively remove fire ants is by contacting your local pest control company.

The Carpenter Ant

One of the largest ants you'll come into contact with is the carpenter ant, which varies in size from about three and a half to thirteen millimeters long and can damage wood in your home. The carpenter ant is typically black in color, but some have a reddish body and a black abdomen instead. Others can be yellow, orange or even light brown.

When indoors, carpenter ants often make their homes between wood shingles, beams or wood boards. Colonies can also be located in cracks and crevices in your home's structure, especially if there's any wood that's been exposed to moisture. These ants also build colonies in foam insulations, eaves and crawlspaces. Regardless of where they choose to build their colony, though, carpenter ants will gather in two types of groups: parent colonies and satellite colonies. Parent colonies consist of a queen and her workers, while satellite colonies include workers, older larvae and pupae. It's not uncommon to find several satellite colonies per one parent colony.

Signs of Carpenter Ants

One of the easiest ways to tell if carpenter ants are inside your home is to spot worker ants. That said, since colonies often become established within a wooden structure, these ants can be hard to spot.

If you notice an influx of carpenter ants in your home but are having trouble locating the colony, check outdoors. In many cases, the colony will be located near your home or building, and the worker ants will enter your home at night in search of food and water. Wait until nightfall to try and find where the ants are entering your home.

If you have large numbers of carpenter ants inside your home, you might notice piles of wood shavings or faint rustling noises coming from inside your walls.

How to Treat Carpenter Ant Bites

Carpenter ants can bite, and when they do, the formic acid they spray into the wound site can heighten the discomfort. This acid is the same that is found in bee stings, so a pinching sensation felt after a bite can feel quite severe. A pea-sized, red mark usually appears on your skin after a bite, along with inflammation. Carpenter ants cannot transmit disease through their bites. As with fire ant bites, clean the skin and apply ice packs to help lessen the urge to itch. Antibiotic treatment can

Carpenter ants cannot transmit disease through their bites. As with fire ant bites, clean the skin and apply ice packs to help lessen the urge to itch. Antibiotic treatment can be applied to more bothersome bites. Since these bites can become infected, resist the urge to scratch the site.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

To prevent a carpenter ant infestation, remove stumps, logs and waste within 100 yards of your home. You'll also want to keep wooden parts of your home dry at all times. If any water damage occurs to wood in your home, replace it as soon as possible. You can also place a moisture barrier over soil in crawl spaces or under wooden porches to further remove possible entryways.

The Odorous House Ant

As you might expect, the odorous house ant (sometimes called a sugar ant) is most commonly found inside homes and buildings. When house ants are squished, they give off an earthy, strong coconut smell. Despite this, though, they make their nests outdoors and travel indoors in search of food or to escape rainy weather. Once inside, you'll usually find them nesting under the floor or in the walls. Since house ants prefer sweeter, sugary foods, you may find them scurrying across your kitchen counter.

House ants are small, measuring between two and a half and three and a quarter millimeters in length, with a dark body that is usually black or brown. These ants can contaminate any human food they run across.

Signs of House Ants

In natural settings, you can spot sugar ants because of the large dirt hills which indicate the presence of a colony. You can often spot sugar ants in warm climates, and they are nocturnal, so you are more likely to spot them at night.

How to Treat House Ant Bites

Luckily, sugar ants pose no serious threat to most humans-unless you happen to be allergic to their bite. Typically, bites are not painful. If you do come into contact with sugar ants, apply an antibiotic cream to the bite site and monitor the affected person. Seek medical attention if the reaction is severe.

How to Get Rid of House Ants

If you find yourself with an odorous ant infestation, avoid using any sprays indoors, as residual sprays will only add stress on the colony and cause it to split into a number of sub-colonies. Instead, try baiting the ants and limiting possible food sources, especially sweet foods like fruit and melons.

The Pavement Ant

One of the other most common ant species you are likely to run across is the pavement ant. While this type of ant is found throughout the world, pavement ants are typically found in urban dwellings near concrete. Like most other ants, pavement ants are small in size. This ant species ranges between two and a half to just over three millimeters long. The pavement ant can range in color from dark brown to black and its body is characterized by a head and thorax with parallel ridges running along the side. The 12-segmented antennae of a pavement ant also has a three-segmented club.

Pavement ants, like other ant species, have distinct castes within colonies. This species has a few reproductive queens and a large number of non-reproductive female workers. This ant species is also known for its large colonies, which often contain more than 10,000 worker ants. Even though they have a wide range of possible habitats, pavement ants do, however, choose to nest in areas with minimal vegetation and human-modified environments.

Signs of Pavement Ants

While the distance from your sidewalk to your home's entrance might seem like a far journey for an ant, it's a journey pavement ants can make. These insects travel in trails from the colony outdoors to source food and often make their way indoors via plumbing pipes. Once inside, pavement ants feed on a variety of foods, including dead insects, greasy foods, sweets and pet food.

The best indication that you have these types of ants inside of your home is to see the worker ants themselves. As these ants forage for food, they can contaminate your food, leaving behind bacteria and other harmful germs. As pavement ants move food back to their nests, you may also find small piles of materials which may look like dirt.

Do Pavement Ant Bites Require Treatment?

Although pavement ants can bite, they rarely sting humans, and even when they do, the impact is minimal. For this reason, most pavement ant bites require no treatment.

How to Get Rid of Pavement Ants

To detect a possible infestation or colony surrounding your home, look for displaced soil along sidewalks, patios, driveways or curbs. You can also check around your home's foundation or underneath brick patios. Inside, look around your sinks and toilets. As we mentioned above, these ants often find their way indoors via plumbing pipes.

If you do find an infestation, the best way to eliminate pavement ants it is through baiting. That's because worker ants will carry the baited material, or food, back to the nest. When selecting a bait, choose one that's sweet and be sure to place them in areas where children or pets can't reach them. Finally, be patient, as it may take up to two weeks and sometimes longer to completely eliminate a colony.

The Pharaoh Ant

Most commonly found in the southern states of the country, the pharaoh ant is actually quite different from other ant species, especially in terms of its appearance. This ant is particularly small in size, only about two millimeters long, and has a light yellow body with red and black markings on the abdomen. Despite their small size, though, the antennae have 12 segments with three-segmented antennal clubs.  

A pharaoh ant colony is made up of queens, males, workers and juvenile ants, and can vary in size. While some colonies are made up of a few dozen ants, others can number several thousand, and others still, house sometimes up to several hundred thousand ants. Pharoah ants prefer warmer climates. Usually well-hidden, these ants tend to nest in wall voids, under appliances, in wall outlets, under carpets and in kitchens and bathrooms. You may sometimes find pharoah ants among clothes and sheets. They are, in fact, one of the more common ant species found indoors.

Signs of Pharoah Ants

As with many other types of ants, the best indication that these insects are in your home is to find the worker ants foraging for food.

Do I Need to Worry About Pharaoh Ant Bites?

Although the pharaoh ant can transmit some dangerous diseases, including salmonella, they do not regularly bite, and even if they do, their mouth is so small that you will probably not even feel the sting.

How to Get Rid of Pharoah Ants

The best way to spot an infestation is via the worker ants' feeding trail in your kitchen or around other food sources. Once found, you'll want to act quickly, as this ant species is one of the hardest infestations to control. And while there are at home methods, like baits, that can work for some ant species, eliminating pharaoh ants is best left for professionals.

How to Avoid Ant and Insect Bites

Despite our most valiant attempts, we will continue to live with ants and other biting insects. That said, there are some steps we can all take to avoid getting bitten. These preventative measures include:

Wearing shoes and socks when walking in grassy areas.Keeping picnic food well-covered to avoid attracting biting insects.Exercising caution near bushes, public garbage containers and your eaves where ant colonies may be located.Covering exposed skin when working outdoors.ABC is Your Partner in Ant Control

Depending on the species of ant you encounter in or around your home, there are different tactics and techniques you can use to get rid of them. But like we mentioned above, certain ants are particularly hard to remove, and for those situations, it's best to call the professionals. The experts at ABC Home & Commercial Services have decades of experience handling common pests and determining the best way to rid your home of ants and keeping them gone-for good.

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Deck Maintenance Ideas and Tips

Do you have an outdoor deck, but not enough knowledge about how to maintain it? Looking for deck maintenance ideas, or tips on how to maintain a wood deck?

Deck Maintenance Ideas and Tips

Here's everything you need to know about maintaining your deck throughout the year, so you can continue to enjoy a functional, safe and beautiful outdoor living space.

Why Do Decks Need Maintenance?

Any deck, whether made of wood, composites or any material, is bound to start showing some wear and tear over time. Outdoor decks, after all, are exposed day in and day out to the elements: heat, cold, sunshine, rain, sleet, hail and snow. In some climates, decks might have to withstand inches of precipitation and a thirty- or forty-degree temperature shift all within a single day. As building materials expand and contract with temperature changes and absorb or repel moisture while also withstanding the effects of dryness, some damage is bound to occur.

Fortunately, there are several steps any homeowner can take to prolong the life and beauty of their outdoor deck. Some are simpler to do yourself and others may be steps you want to hire a professional like our deck maintenance experts at ABC to tackle for you. Following are some simple deck maintenance tips for every homeowner.

Give Your Deck an Annual Inspection

A formal, professional inspection isn't needed; all that's required is a simple, informal once-over using your eyes and your sense of touch to detect any issues. Spring is a good time to do it, preferably after the last freeze or snowfall of the winter season. The easiest way to conduct your inspection? Carefully walk every board in your deck with bare feet, paying special attention to the places where boards are nailed or bolted to support joists. As you go, use both your eyes and your feet to detect any spots that are sagging, broken or uneven, or where nails may have popped up.

Fix Protruding Nails

When nails begin to pop out of the boards of your deck, it's a hazard not just to bare feet-tripping over a protruding nail can hurt or even cut the bottom of your foot-but to the integrity of the deck itself. Popped nails mean the boards of a deck are less securely attached to the frame. Loose boards let moisture into spaces where it shouldn't be able to enter, causing mold, warping and other damage over time. Trapped moisture can also make for wobbly, unstable portions of your deck that are prone to splitting.

Be aware that simply hammering a popped nail back in is only a temporary fix. Sooner or later, that same nail will work its way back out again. A more secure and lasting fix is to pull the popped nail from the board using the claw end of a hammer and then replace it with a deck screw that is slightly longer and wider in diameter than the nail was.

Give Your Deck a Deep-Clean

There's nothing like a good power wash to prolong the life of a deck and restore its beauty. Purchase a special nozzle at your local hardware store to turn your hose into a DIY pressure-washer and give your deck a good spray-down. Just be sure to keep the high-powered stream of water moving in a back-and-forth arc, to avoid creating gouges or otherwise damaging the surface of your deck. Deep-cleaning your deck is also a necessary preliminary step if you plan to re-apply stain or sealant to the boards.

If portions of your deck have become discolored due to moisture from potted plants, you can use a non-chlorine bleaching product or one containing oxalic acid to lighten or even eliminate the stain. (Just don't use oxygen bleach products on redwood!) These products are also good for treating patches of mold or mildew that may have been caused by puddles of water. Just be aware that the treatment may leave wood with a pale, washed-out appearance, making fresh coats of stain and sealant even more necessary.

Note that it's also important to clean your deck on a regular basis by sweeping (or shoveling) away puddles, snow, leaves and other debris. Keeping up with this on at least a monthly basis, or better yet a weekly one, and it will prolong the life of your deck and make your annual deep-cleaning job easier.

Repair Any Split Wood

DIY homeowners can replace boards in their deck that have split or splintered due to weathering over time. Here are the steps to follow:

You can choose either to replace the entire damaged board or, if only a small portion of the board has been damaged, to cut out and replace only that section. If you're opting to replace only the damaged portion, make marks outside the damaged part, right next to the nearest support joists. Then use a jigsaw to cut along the marks you made and remove the damaged section.Use deck screws to attach two-by-four-inch support blocks made of pressure-treated wood to the sides of the exposed joists, flush with the top of the joists.Cut the replacement board to size and pre-drill pilot holes for the screws you'll use to attach it to the support blocks.Attach the new board to the support blocks with deck screws.At first, new boards will be thicker and wider than older, more weathered boards. If your replacement board doesn't shrink enough over the course of a month or two, screw down the deck screws enough to make them well recessed into the wood, and then use a belt sander to smooth the wood down to the same level as the rest of the deck. Re-apply Deck Stain and Sealant

This is a big job, one that many homeowners opt to hire out to the professionals rather than tackling it themselves. However you choose to do it, it's worth the time, cost and effort.

The best time to stain and seal a deck is either before or after the rainy season, to make sure the wood has plenty of time to dry between coats during this multi-day process. After removing all potted plants, deck furniture and other furnishings and then deep-cleaning your deck, allow the deck to dry for a day or two. Then use a pole sander with 80-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface of the entire deck. Once the deck's surface is smooth and swept free of sawdust, it's time to apply your stain or sealant products of choice.

Want to add color before you seal your deck? Apply a semi-transparent exterior stain with a brush or a paint roller. Let the first coat sit for twenty minutes or so and then go back over it with a brush to eliminate stain puddles and create a smoother finish. Then apply a second coat and you're finished! Once you've let the stain dry for at least 48 hours, you can apply a sealant.

Note that while some sealants already contain stain, the color may go on unevenly and may also fade unevenly over time due to normal wear and tear. For greater control over the final effect, it may be best to use separate products for stain and sealant.

As far as long-term protection against weathering, oil-based sealants are superior to water-based ones, but they can be trickier to use. Good sealants also come with UV protection to help protect the wood from the damaging effects of the sun. Depending on the weather conditions of your region, you may also want to look for a product that contains mildewcide to help prevent mildew and mold due to precipitation.

You can apply sealant to your deck using a brush, a paint roller or even a mop. Using a brush allows for the most control, but it's also the most painstaking and time-consuming way to do it. Whichever tool you choose, apply a single, even coat over the entire deck, using a small paintbrush to treat corners and other hard-to-reach areas. Once the first coat dries, you may want to apply a second coat for added protection.

Be sure to allow the deck to dry completely before walking on the new finish or returning plants and furniture to their places.

Let ABC Be Your Handyman

Having the time, tools and expertise to take care of a deck can be a challenge. Let ABC repair any problem areas, reseal your deck, power wash it or perform other tasks around the house that have been on your to do list forever. Leave the hard work to us, so you can spend more time enjoying your outdoor (and indoor) spaces.

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Pool Remodeling Tips To Make The Most Of Your Investment

Spending an afternoon relaxing by the pool, catching up on your favorite book, is a dream for many homeowners. The reality, however, is that maintaining a pool can be a lot of work. Then, there are the repairs to consider. Many homeowners also get to a point where they realize that it may be time for a pool remodel.

Pool Remodeling Tips

There are many reasons to remodel your pool. While some homeowners consider new features to make their pool more enjoyable for their family, others choose to make upgrades to improve a home's resale value. Whatever the motivation, let's dive in (pun intended) to the topic with some reasons why you might consider remodeling your pool and simple updates you can do to make the most of your investment. 

Five Reasons to Remodel Your Pool

Sooner or later, every pool needs a renovation of one type or another. Here are some signs that it might be time for a swimming pool remodel or makeover:

Your pool has a leak. A drop off of water level which is not due to evaporation might be signaling a leak.Mechanical systems are aging. Equipment such as the pool's pump, filter and plumbing show signs of age and may need to be replaced to keep the pool or spa functioning well.Safety features are needed. Does your pool accommodate everyone who want to use it? If not, consider adding features to help them easily get in and out of the pool, such as railings and ladders, that are up to the latest safety standards. You should consider installing a pool fence if you have younger children to make sure they don't enter your pool without adult supervision.Worn out surfaces and fixtures. With use over time, a pool's tiles, decking and lighting might show signs of wear. These aesthetic features are worth maintaining to make sure you are maximizing your return on investment on your pool.Aesthetics or the fun side of a makeover. If you installed your pool years ago and its design is already out of fashion, it might be time to update the look to make it more contemporary.Five Pool Makeover Ideas that Won't Break the Bank

A total pool renovation is generally a good use of both money and time if you plan to be in your home for the long-term and you take advantage of your pool. If your pool could benefit from a smaller makeover, we've got a few suggestions based on our experience of maintaining, cleaning and repairing pools for decades. Our top pool remodeling tips include:

Changing the Tile at the Waterline
A small remodeling project that can go a long way in updating the look of a pool is updating the waterline tile. There are so many modern and contemporary choices to choose from that the sky's the limit!Replastering or Resurfacing
Replastering or resurfacing your pool is an option if you have a larger budget for remodeling. Replastering and resurfacing improves the look of a pool, while also replacing a worn or uneven surface. Older pools tend to have a simple plaster finish and an update to one of the popular aggregate finishes that come in different colors and adding shells or even stones might be a good choice when it's time to make an upgrade. Swapping in LED Lighting
Many pools have basic lighting or floodlights in the yard, so consider upgrading to LED lights. Like in your home, LED lighting is more energy efficient than traditional options. Lighting is a low-cost way to transform an ordinary pool into an oasis. Homeowners often install LED lights of many different colors below the water or practically anywhere in the pool area.Adding More Energy-Efficient Equipment
Making it less expensive to operate while adding in new technology focused on efficiency might be a good approach when updating your pool. A variable speed pool pump uses less electricity and may even qualify for an energy rebate from your utility company. Other options to consider include solar-powered features (e.g. lights and heaters) and energy-efficient filters.Upgrading to an Automation System
As technology is evolving, enhancing our homes, the pool is getting a few new gadgets too. Many of these can easily be retrofitted to older pools. You might consider adding a robotic cleaner, automatic pool cover or even an all-in-one pool automation system, designed to be run via your smartphone.

Need more inspiration? Check out the photos in this article, with the cool water features and exciting pool shapes and backyard designs.

Leave the Hard Work to ABC

Are you ready for a facelift for your pool? Or are you just looking for someone to do repairs or routine maintenance and cleaning? Trust your pool to the experts at ABC Home & Commercial Services. For over 60 years, we have been making homeowners' (and pool owners') lives easier, so that you can go back to enjoying more fun in the sun.

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Why Are Bees Dying?

Why Are Bees Dying?

Do you consider bees an unwelcome pest? If so, you aren't alone. Many people are afraid of this small, buzzing, yellow-and-black insect-or, more specifically, scared of its sting.

For people who are allergic to bee stings, they are truly a critical (even life-and-death) event to be avoided. But the truth about bees is that they are essential to human life in some very tangible and pressing ways and they are dying off at unprecedented rates. If you're among the folks who avoid this little creature at all costs, that may not sound like a bad thing-but in reality, fewer bees mean less food for humans and many other animals. Let's talk about why bees are dying, why they're important to human life and the environment and what to do if you find a beehive in or around your home.

If you're among the folks who avoid this little creature at all costs, that may not sound like a bad thing-but in reality, fewer bees mean less food for humans and many other animals. Let's talk about why bees are dying, why they're important to human life and the environment and what to do if you find a beehive in or around your home.

Why Bees Are Important to Humans and the Environment

Their critical role in the lives of plants, humans and other animals has everything to do with why bees are important to the environment. Put simply, bees play an essential role in pollinating a third of everything humans eat. This makes them important not just to the environment, but to human life itself.

Nearly 85% of crops that are grown for human consumption depend on pollination to thrive, and bees are these crops' main pollinators. Most of the fruits and vegetables that you eat, not to mention many nuts and plants that are used in making cooking oils, depend on bee pollination. So bees have a direct and crucial impact on human life, but that's not the only factor that makes them so important. Just as their pollination sustains human life, it also sustains the lives of many other species, such as small mammals and birds.

If bee populations were to die off altogether, innumerable species of plants and animals would also eventually die off as a result. Therefore, the impact of bees dying cannot be overstated.

Why Bees Are Dying

Colony collapse disorder is a term referring to a combination of factors-including parasites, pesticides, poor nutrition and viruses-that together have caused a widespread dying-off of honeybee colonies in the United States. A certain class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, lethal to bees and widely used in agriculture, are particularly to blame.

But honeybees aren't the only population in decline. Bees that live in the wild (as opposed to domesticated honeybee hives) are also declining, as their natural habitats disappear thanks to urbanization and modern farming practices. Global climate change is also having an impact; as temperatures rise and plant and animal species shift northward, bees' available habitat is being reduced. Across the world, a quarter of all bumblebee species is at risk of extinction.

What to Do if You Find a Beehive at Home

Bees can build hives almost anywhere that is out of the way-in the branches of a tree, for example, in your attic or chimney or even within the walls of your home. Open structures like birdhouses, pots, sheds and children's playhouses are also fair game for bees to set up a home. Beehive removal can be dangerous, so if you find a beehive in your home or yard, and especially if you are allergic to bee stings, it's best to call an experienced professional like ABC Home & Commercial Services to come deal with the problem for you.

Count on ABC To Safely Relocate Bees

ABC is an authority in bee removal-and that means making every effort to remove hives safely in order to protect dwindling bee populations. Our bee removal specialists understand that bees can pose a threat to families and pets, especially when bee allergies are a factor. We also know that established hives sometimes divide, with smaller swarms splitting off to build new ones. That means if you've found one hive in your home or yard, there may be more. Call us to schedule a free inspection of your home and property. We'll take care of the problem quickly so you can get back to enjoying your bee-free property.

The post Why Are Bees Dying? appeared first on ABC Blog.

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How Software Can Change The Pest Control Industry

TweetHow Online Booking Can Change the Pest Control Industry Biting season is here. The dreaded Zika virus has cities and local authorities eager to spray and pray. Bedbugs are busy conquering homes, movie theaters and hotel rooms across the nation. Meanwhile, warm summer weather is bringing out all the usual suspects, from ants ruining picnicsRead More
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Mosquito Guide 2016- What You Need To Know

TweetWith the mosquito populations worse than they have ever been, and the recent media firestorm surrounding the Zika virus, 2016 is proving to be the year of the mosquito. In fact, Bulwark Exterminating is being flooded with daily calls from people looking for relief from these pesky, blood-sucking pests. The truth is that these pestsRead More
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They Don't Teach Bat Wrangling In Music School: Bat Removal And Opera

For those of you that don't know me, in addition to all of this wildlife talk, I'm also a trained, professional opera singer.  And, oddly enough, I've had far more interaction with bats through opera than I've ever had working for ABC Wildlife.  In fact, the first opera I was ever in was called Die Fledermaus, which is German for The Bat.  Literally translated, Fledermaus means “flying mouse”, and while they might look kind of like mice with wings, bats aren't rodents at all.  They're actually their own order of animal, and they make up roughly 20% of all mammal species.  That means there are bats around you all the time just hanging out and being awesome without you even knowing about it.  So let's talk about bats.  When are they an asset, and when is it time to call a bat removal expert?

Singing in Chautauqua means never having to worry about bugs flying into your open mouth

I've had the pleasure of spending several summers with the opera theater company at the Chautauqua Institution.  Chautauqua is a resort community in upstate New York where people can spend the summer enjoying concerts, theater, lectures, etc.  It's located on a huge lake, there are a ton of beautiful, shady trees, and it gets very hot and VERY humid.  It took me a while to realize that despite the conditions being ideal for mosquitoes, there are none in Chautauqua.  None.  I distinctly remember walking outside one night and looking up into the sky and seeing several dozen birds flying overhead.  I thought to myself, “Hey, look at all those pretty birds!”  And then I thought, “Wait a minute…birds definitely don't fly at night.”  The reason Chautauqua is so blissfully mosquito-free is because it is home to a huge bat population.  Bats are pretty much the unofficial mascot of this community, and Chautauquans go to great lengths to preserve their bat colonies and educate people about these little, winged marvels.  All of us at ABC Wildlife wish that more people had this attitude.  Bats are amazing, and immensely valuable to the environment, plus they're adorable.  Just look at that smooshed, furry face!  In addition to controlling mosquito populations, they also contribute to healthy agriculture by eating crop-destroying insects and pollinating plants.  They might look a little weird, but they're so important.

They don't teach you how to wrangle bats in music school 

My second encounter with bats was far more interactive and humiliating.  Opera training doesn't exactly equip you to deal with real life situations.  I was performing Dido and Aeneas with an opera company in upstate New York (seriously, upstate New York is a hotbed for summer opera and bats) and living in a very beautiful, but very old, Victorian house.  One evening, my friend Elizabeth and I were hanging out in her room, and all of a sudden there was a bat swooping across the room.  Since this was well before I knew anything about handling wildlife, what followed was nothing short of embarrassing.  It involved Elizabeth screaming and diving under the comforter while I wielded a broom and a trashcan like pajama-clad Valkyrie, trying to corral the bat into the bathroom.  What we did right in this situation was…well, basically nothing.  Keeping the animal isolated in one room is proper protocol, but we could have accomplished this by simply leaving the room and closing the door.  We also released the bat once it was captured, which is a big no-no.

How one should handle bats inside of a house will vary depending on WHERE that bats are.  If there is a colony in your attic, bat removal should be taken care of using excluders or one-way doors that allow the bats to leave, but not reenter.  This is safe for both you and the bats.  However, any time a bat comes into a living space like a bedroom, kitchen, or living room, it should be hand captured by a licensed professional and sent in for rabies testing.  Contrary to what popular culture would have you believe, bats aren't naturally aggressive, and they don't have a taste for human flesh.  Generally speaking, they just want to eat bugs and sleep and poop.  But they will use their teeth if they feel threatened, and it's entirely possible to be bitten without even knowing it.  So if you find yourself in a bedroom with a bat, close all of the windows and doors, and call a professional bat removal company immediately.

Who you gonna call?  Bat removal specialists!

Facing any animal encounter when you aren't used to dealing with animals can be weird and scary, and you won't always know the right thing to do.  As you can see, I've been there myself.  If you are ever in doubt of how you should be handling a wildlife situation, you should always call a wildlife control company, because they WILL know what to do.  We ABC Wildlife folks love speaking to people about animals, and we love solving problems.  Our dedication to preserving the bat population is intense, which is why we use the most humane bat removal methods possible when excluding colonies.  Call us today at (847) 870-7175 and we'll be happy to answer all of your bat questions.  I'll be happy to answer all of your opera questions, too.

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Karen Jesse is a wildlife writer and educator licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Public Health in urban wildlife management and structural pest control.  She enjoys hiking, telling people how cool skunks are, and opera.  

 

 

Images courtesy of Gilles San Martin and Anna Leonteos

The post They Don't Teach Bat Wrangling In Music School: Bat Removal And Opera appeared first on ABC Humane Wildlife.

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Is Mariachi Music The Best Raccoon Repellent?

As I’ve mentioned in the past, when I write these blogs, I try my best to cover topics that you, the reader, are genuinely curious about.  I was somewhat surprised to find that an overwhelming number of you want to know about raccoon repellent.  What kinds of repellents are out there, and what works best?  Well, if you had asked my grandmother, she would have told you that playing mariachi music for 24 hours straight will drive raccoons out (I am not making this up).  I’d like to point out that playing mariachi music for 24 hours straight will probably drive just about anyone out, but I digress.

ABC Wildlife is a company that stands strongly behind structural exclusion and natural habitat modification to deter invasive wildlife, but I went ahead and did a browser search for raccoon repellent just to see what options were out there.  While I was familiar with most of the products, there were a couple that were…interesting.  Mint-scented garbage bags were my personal favorite.  I can say with some certainty that if you use these, you’ll still end up with garbage all over the lawn.  But at least your raccoons will have fresh breath!  This week, I’m going to talk about some of the more common raccoon repellent methods and address their long-term effectiveness.  There won’t be a test, but I DO encourage you to take notes, because you never know when this kind of information will come in handy.

Ammonia and Mothballs

Many people believe that placing mothballs and rags soaked with ammonia in an animal burrow will repel them.  The theory is that the smell is so abhorrent to wildlife, it will cause them to turn tail and run.  Does this work?  Well, think of it this way: if something smelly was in your house, would you pack up and move to a new house?  No, you’d simply throw it away.  Just like humans, raccoons have two hands, and if they find something in their living environment that they don’t like, they’ll pick it up and toss it out.

Ultrasonic Noise Machines

These small boxes emit ultrasonic sounds that are supposed to repel raccoons, mice, and even insects.  Sound too good to be true?  That’s because it is!  These devices are so unsuccessful that the Federal Trade Commission has brought law enforcement actions against several manufacturers for fraudulently claiming their effectiveness.  Animals, especially raccoons, are adaptable, and while a particular sound might give them pause at first, it doesn’t take long for them to become accustomed to it.

Sprays and Granules

I found several sprays and granules that can be applied around the perimeter of one’s property or directly to the area where the raccoon is living.  These products contain substances like predator urine and are supposed to make raccoons believe danger is near.  If you take a look at this study published in Behavioral Ecology: Oxford Journals, you’ll see that applying coyote urine near raccoon lures actually resulted in attracting MORE raccoons.  So there you go.  Theory debunked.  But, let’s just say for giggles that sprays and granules do work as a raccoon repellent.  These substances wash away easily, and you would still have to reapply every time it rained or snowed, which just isn’t a practical long-term solution.

Capsaicin

Now here is something that actually works…as long as you’re dealing with an animal chewing on your house.  Capsaicin is the active component in peppers that makes them hot, and mammal taste receptors are especially sensitive to it.  If you’ve got squirrels, mice, or some other variety of animal that likes to gnaw a specific area of your home, capsaicin is great.  But raccoons aren’t likely to chew on a structure.  What about applying it to a pipe or downspout where they’re climbing?  Won’t that burn their paws and keep them from using it as an access point?  Yes, possibly, but raccoons are smart cookies and good at problem solving.  What’s far more likely to happen is that the raccoons will simply find a different area of the house to climb.

Raccoon Repellent That Works

Okay, Karen, you’ve told me what doesn’t work.  So what should I use to keep raccoons away?  I’m so glad you asked!  Here’s the bottom line: if raccoons can’t find food or shelter on your property, they’re going to move right along and not give it another glance.  Here are some ways to accomplish this:

Sanitation 

Make sure your trashcans can’t be knocked over by keeping them in a frame.  Purchase garbage bins you can fasten shut, or secure the lids with bungee cords.   Don’t leave any kind of food outside.  Clean up if you have a party or picnic, remove birdfeeders, and keep your pet food dishes indoors.

 

Treat Your Lawn For Grubs

Raccoons love insect grubs, and they’ll tear up lawns looking for them.  If you apply degrubbing treatments to your lawn, this will eliminate one more food source for raccoons.  And an added bonus, it’ll also help keep skunks away.

Repair Damage to Roof and Soffits

Raccoons (and squirrels) will target areas of roofs and soffits that are weakened by rot or water damage.  The easier it is for them to tear through the wood, the faster they’ll be in your attic.

Animal-Proof Your House

Attic vents are designed to let air in and out, but they are definitely not designed to withstand raccoons.  Raccoons are very strong and often bend and mangle roof vents until they can fit through them.  ABC Wildlife installs animal-proof vent covers and chimney caps for this very reason.  This is truly one of the most effective and long lasting measures you can take to protect your house.

 

I hope this blog clears up some of the myths surrounding raccoon repellent and gives you useful tools for keeping them away from your home.  And if you already have raccoons living on your property, fear not.  ABC Wildlife has 40 years of experience dealing with raccoons, and we are happy to help.  Whether you need an animal removed or just have questions, our representatives are ready to put their state certifications to good use.  We love solving wildlife problems and are eager to talk to you today.  Give us a call at (847) 870-7175.

Sharing is caring!  If you’ve learned something from what you’ve read, please click one of the icons below to share this post on social media.

Karen Jesse is a wildlife writer and educator licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Public Health in urban wildlife management and structural pest control.  She enjoys hiking, telling people how cool skunks are, and opera.  

 

 

Images courtesy of Shankar S., Helena Jacoba, Photo Cindy, and Benny Mazur via Flickr

The post Is Mariachi Music The Best Raccoon Repellent? appeared first on ABC Humane Wildlife.

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Skunk Removal: Birds Do It, Bees Do It...Skunks Do It Too

Like any good Chicagoan, I start walking around outside without a coat as soon as the thermometer hits 40?. It's natural to get excited about the prospect of spring, and skunks agree with me. A couple of weeks ago when the weather was a bit warmer, you may have noticed a certain familiar scent wafting through the air. Mating season is upon us, and eau de skunk is all the rage with our stinky, striped friends. Those mild, rainy days we had at the beginning of the month are just the thing to get a skunk's engine going after a long winter, and they are out en force looking for a mate. We've received more phone calls about skunks in the first two weeks of February than we did in all of December and January combined. What does this mean for you? You might just need to call ABC Wildlife for skunk removal services earlier than you anticipated. Because I like to arm you with as much information as possible, check out this informative and entertaining WGN radio interview with ABC Wildlife's owner and fearless leader Rebecca Fyffe. Now, let's talk a little bit about skunk behavior in winter versus spring.

What have skunks been doing all winter?

You may think they're not around during the winter, but skunks den in the same kinds of places when it's cold as they do when it's warm. They just don't venture out as often. Skunks don't go into full hibernation in the winter, but they do enter into a state of dormancy called torpor. Torpor means that an animal's core body temperature and metabolism will decrease to conserve energy over a period of time. Some animals like bats and birds will undergo daily torpor, which means that they'll become inactive for a portion of each day. Some animals will undergo seasonal torpor to help them survive colder months. Skunks are in the latter group. And before you say, "That sure sounds like hibernation to me," hibernation is actually a form of torpor. So all hibernation is torpor, but not all torpor is hibernation. Got it? Good. Now you too can sound like a smartypants at dinner parties.

It's only February. Isn't it still too cold for skunks to mate?

Nope! Skunks typically mate in February and March and give birth in May and June. We're entering the part of the season where temperature is a little unpredictable, so a warm day here and there is enough to jumpstart a skunk's desire to reproduce. It's also enough to thaw the ground. Wet, soft dirt makes it much easier for skunks to dig for grubs and worms. A male skunk is looking to impregnate as many females as possible, so he'll spray to let other males know that they better not trespass on his territory. Pregnant females will dig out burrows where they can give birth and raise their young, and they're likely to spray near their dens to mark their territory and scare off predators. Also, fun fact: you're most likely to smell skunk early in the morning or around sunset. Skunks are (get ready for another vocabulary word!) crepuscular, meaning their peak times of activity are dawn and dusk. If you want to keep your dog from getting sprayed, I recommend keeping them inside during twilight hours.

Skunks smell is awful. Who can I call for skunk removal?

There isn't really anything that can be done to stop skunks from mating. Birds do it, bees do it, and unfortunately skunks to it too. But ABC Wildlife can definitely help to remove them and keep them from mating and denning on your property. If you're experiencing a very strong, persistent skunk smell and suspect they might be living under your house, deck, porch, or shed, call ABC Wildlife to schedule an appointment with one of our skunk removal experts. Our technicians handle skunks on a daily basis and are very experienced at locating the places where skunks are most likely to den. ABC Wildlife also offers animal proofing services like screen-ups that will prevent skunks from being able to dig under the structures on your property. You can depend on us for all of your skunk removal and exclusion needs. Call us today at (847) 870-7175 to speak with one of our state-licensed representatives.

Sharing is caring! If you've learned something from what you've read, please click one of the icons below to share this post on social media.

Karen Jesse is a wildlife writer and educator licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Public Health in urban wildlife management and structural pest control. She enjoys hiking, telling people how cool skunks are, and opera.

Image courtesy of Brian Garrett via Flickr

The post Skunk Removal: Birds Do It, Bees Do It...Skunks Do It Too appeared first on ABC Humane Wildlife.

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