Four Essential Tips For Car Buyers In Texas

Thursday, December 12, 2013 Posted by

Buying CarThere are some states and cities you can live in and not need to rely on motor vehicles for transportation, but Texas isn’t one of them. Texas is made up of 268,581 square miles of cities, suburbs, deserts, and coastlines, and if you want to get around in The Lone Star State you’re going to need a car. When you’re looking for a car that’s made to withstand Texas’ extreme heat and miles of highways and roads, you need to make sure that you’re shopping correctly. If you’re a Texas resident that’s looking for a car, remember to keep these car shopping tips in mind.

Figure out the value of your old car

When you’re thinking about buying a new car, your thoughts probably aren’t on how much money your old car is worth. It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning on selling it or trading it in, you need to figure out how much your previous car is worth. Once you know how much it’s worth, you’ll be in a much better position to negotiate with buyers and dealerships. Kelley Blue Book is still considered the ultimate authority in car value, so head over to their website with some basic information about your car so that you can get a quote.

Don’t rely on emotion

“I’ll know the right car for me when I see it”

So many car buyers have gone with their gut or their emotions when they looked at a car they fell in love with, and doing that is a good way to go over your budget or to buy a car that doesn’t meet your needs. That new Hyundai convertible you found in Fort Worth may look like everything you’ve ever wanted in a car, but you’ll regret it when you’re driving with the top down during a two week stretch of triple digit heat in the summer. There’s nothing wrong with buying a car that appeals to you visually, but that good looking car should also be able to meet your other important criteria for finding your new car.

Don’t fall for urgency

Unless you’re going car shopping on the last day of a big sale, you shouldn’t believe it when a salesman says that they can only give you this deal today. Salesmen aren’t saying that because they don’t want you to miss out on an amazing deal, they’re doing that so they can make another sale before the day is done.

Avoid shopping for new models as soon as they debut

It seems like people flock to the dealership as soon as next year’s model is available. Don’t go car shopping as soon as the latest model cars are revealed if you want to save money and if you truly need to have the latest Hyundai. Dealers in Fort Worth, Dallas, and around the state can inflate the prices of new model cars when they first come out because they’re so popular. Some people are willing to pay anything to make sure that they have the latest model vehicle, and their need to be the first to have something new will cost them a significant amount of money.

Joan is a part-time writer who loves to share her adventures in travel and finance with her readers.

6 Natural Ways To Exterminate Ants In The Home

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 Posted by

Ants are a real nuisance. Watching millions of the little creatures painstakingly crawl up the kitchen table leg may be fascinating to a six year old, but it isn’t very pleasant when you find them inside the cereal boxes first thing in the morning. It can also be unpleasant when they come swarming out of the floorboards on a warm summer day. So how can you persuade your ants to move out and leave you in peace?

Invisible Ant Trails

In order to get rid of ants permanently, you need to understand how ants work. Their movements around your home and backyard might look random, but ants never do anything randomly. Ants are super organised and they operate with military precision at all times. When ants find a food source, they leave a scent trail to show other ants in the colony where to go. The only way to prevent ants from repeatedly coming back to the same place, again and again, is to destroy the ant scent trails.

Destroy the Heart of the Beast

Disrupting ant scent trails will deter ants from coming back to the same places to feed, but it won’t kill the ants themselves. The best way to exterminate ants is to destroy the nest, and the most efficient way of achieving this is to infect the worker ants with a poisonous substance. The idea here is that these hapless workers will carry the poison back to the nest and destroy the rest of the ants.

Natural Methods for Ridding Your Home of Ants

Vinegar – Mix a half and half solution of white vinegar and water and use it to wipe down areas where ants are known to inhabit. The solution will obliterate any ant trails in the vicinity, plus the smell will act as a deterrent.

NutraSweet or Aspartame – Ants are attracted to the sweetness of artificial sweeteners, so sprinkle some of the powder anywhere they frequent and the workers will carry it back to the nest. Artificial sweeteners are deadly neurotoxins and can easily destroy an ant nest. Probably a good idea to give that some thought the next time you use it to sweeten your coffee.

Borax and honey – Mix borax with something sweet such as honey (or jam), spread it around, and wait for the ants to feed from it. Borax is very effective at killing ants, but be careful if you have household pets because it won’t do them much good either.

Chalk – Ants hate chalk, or rather they hate the calcium carbonate in the chalk. Grind up some chalks and create a barrier around the places where ants normally enter the house. The ants won’t cross the chalk barrier, so you will be free.

Lemons – Ants hate the smell of lemon, which makes lemons a great natural ant deterrent. Squeeze lemon juice over the places where ants frequent and you should find it repels them very effectively.

Ant control DIY methods are often very successful at repelling ants, but remember that the only way to cure the problem once and for all is to destroy the queen inside the nest.

This article has been authored by Brian Harris. Brian is an intern at Innovative Care of the Environment Inc., a company providing pest control services in Burlington. Brian likes to read or play tennis in his spare time.

Top 3 Pests In Austin

Monday, November 18, 2013 Posted by

Austin, TX is such a diverse and eclectic city. Along with the diversity of Austin residents is a diverse selection of pests. I recently had the opportunity to sit down for a few minutes with a Bulwark Exterminating professional, who services the city of Austin. Among the topics I was most interested in, was “What are the top three pests you gets calls on?”

These are the top three pests in Austin, TX:

3. Roaches

cockroach

There’s no escaping it… roaches are as much of a staple in Texas as good barbecue and the Dallas Cowboys. This is quite unfortunate, because cockroaches are known to spread some 33 different types of bacteria, seven types of human disease, and even six different kinds of parasitic worms. They are definitely not something you want scurrying around your house and around your family. I guess this is why they are the number three called about pest in Austin… Well, this and their sheer numbers! Cockroaches are very hardy and multiply fast. If you are starting to see a few inside your home, it’s time to worry. A few roaches can become a thousand-roach infestation before you know it. When you start seeing roaches in your home, make sure you get professional Austin roach control!

2. Scorpions

scorpion

It should come to no shock to anybody that scorpions made the list of top pests in Austin. People are willing to deal with a few crickets, or black ants that come wandering into their home, but a few scorpions… Forget about it! People are not only disgusted by scorpions, they are down right afraid of them. This fear stems from the painful stings they inflict. Scorpions are nocturnal, so encounters usually happen during the middle of the night, or early morning, when you get up to use the bathroom. It never fails; Bulwark reportedly gets a call almost every morning at 8:00 sharp from somebody who found a scorpion the night before. To avoid stepping on a scorpion as you get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, it’s best to control their population with an Austin scorpion exterminator.

1. Fire Ants

Fire ant

I remember hearing at one point that ants in general are the most common pests in the United States, so it comes as no surprise that Fire ants are the number one pest in Austin. A reported 20 million people are stung by Fire ants every year in the United States, and it seem like Texas is the epicenter of all the Fire ant activity. Some 42 percent of people in Austin have reported being stung by a Fire ant. These painful stings have given this ant quite the reputation; so much in fact that many people call in at the sight of any ant that even resembles the brownish-red color of the Fire ant. Bulwark admittedly reports that not every Fire ant call they get turns out to be an actual Fire ant; but Austin residents are sure are calling in about them. If you are seeing Fire ants, or their huge mounds, on your property; get professional Austin Fire ant control!

Austin Pest Control

If you are seeing roaches, scorpions, Fire ants, or any other type of pest in or around your Austin home, it’s time to call an Austin exterminator!

Bulwark Exterminating
209 East Ben White Boulevard
Austin, TX
(512) 291-1200
bulwarkpestcontrol.com
 
A Wildlife Pro
3803 Speedway
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 914-7287
austintxanimalcontrol.com
 
Terminix
1905 Kramer Lane,
Austin, TX 78758
(512) 236-5008
terminix.com
 

DIY Solution Probably Won’t Kill Your Bed Bugs

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Posted by

Bed Bug IllustrationBed bugs were an epidemic before World War II; however, a pesticide called DDT eliminated most. Things have been peaceful until recent times. Now, due to foreign travels, they have infested thousands of homes. Bed bugs are in clean environments as well as filthy environments. As long as there is a host, they are satisfied. If you suspect you have the annoying little bed bugs in your home, a do it yourself (DIY) solution probably won’t kill your bed bugs. A popular solution is having a bed bug dog inspect your home and a professional extermination company like Bed Bug Finders, LLC.

Chemical and Non-Chemical Solutions

Over the counter solutions are found ineffective on bed bugs. Consider the prior pesticide, DDT. It was banned in 1972 because of the harmful effects it had on birds and the environment. There were cases of medical and neurological disorders towards humans. So, over the counter solutions can’t contain the amount of chemical lethal dosage that is needed to kill bed bugs. You would need three to four treatments to see results, and they may not last.

Bed Bug Resistance to Pesticides

Bed bugs are thought to have been around for centuries, possibly in the eras of the caveman, feeding off them. So if they have lasted and evolved through so much, surely any chemical produced they can resist that as well. Remember, DDT eliminated, most, not all bed bugs.

Their Living Environments

First, the notion that bed bugs only live in your mattress is false. Bed bugs can live in headboards, the baseboard of your floors, picture frames, in your couch crevices, in electrical switch plates, generally if they can fit, they can hide. If you can slip your credit card through there, a bed bug can fit.

Their Nests

Another problem with DIY solutions is their babies. A female bed bug can lay one to five eggs a day, producing up to 500 eggs in their life. The outer eggshell protects the babies from pesticides. So even if you were able to kill all adults, the babies would survive and appear again. Therefore, with all these hiding places, it’s impossible for you to see every nest.

Benefits of a Professional

So with these horror stories, what can be done to find and treat your problem? To seek out bed bugs and their nests, a bed bug dog is a part of a trained canine service team. Their training is specific to hunting down bed bugs and their eggs. A bed bug dog is highly trained and can spot most of the critters with 96% accuracy. A canine service team will first inspect your home to verify if you in fact have bed bugs. Then, you will receive a treatment. The most popular treatment currently is bed bug heat treatment. This treatment heats your home between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, killing bed bugs in their tracks. The canine team will inspect your home two weeks later to verify they are gone.

Faith Stewart 

Have A Scary And Safe Halloween

Friday, October 25, 2013 Posted by

Halloween is almost here. The one night a year we get to dress up however like superheroes, scare everyone around us and get a little free candy in the process. From our family here at Bulwark, we’d like to wish everyone a very safe and happy Halloween. Be safe. Have fun. Get scared. And eats lots of candy.

Take a minute to enjoy our new Halloween video

3 Wild Movies About Killer Ants

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 Posted by

Ants are bad enough to have to deal with when they’re normal sized; blow them up to giants and they’re downright horrifying. Ants have long been the subject for giant insect horror flicks, possibly because they’re already creepy and crawly in their own right. Ants are hard to kill and they just seem to keep coming back in droves. Below are some giant insect B-flicks that are a must-see, featuring your all-time creepy, crawly nemesis: The Ant.

1. THEM! (1954)

Cover of "Them! (Snap Case)"

This is the movie that started it all – THEM! This giant ant flick takes place in the New Mexico desert, where we learn that earlier atomic testing caused the ants in the area to mutate into ginormous, killer ants. The characters in this film must stop the ants in the desert – but they soon learn that two queen ants have flown to Los Angeles and are setting up a colony right under the city! When two children go missing, the protagonists instill the help of the U.S. Army to help them destroy the colony – but will they reach the children in time? Hokey special effects, character acting and dialogue that is typical to the film’s time period create an enduring experience. You can’t beat the experience of children being kidnapped by giant ants. THEM! Is a must-see for anyone who enjoys giant mutant bug flicks.

2. Empire of the Ants (1977)

Empire of the Ants (film)

In this sci-fi horror flick starring Joan Collins and Robert Lansing, Collins plays a sleazy scam artist attempting to sell phony real estate deals in the Florida everglades. What she – and the schmucks who fall for her scam – don’t realize is that the area has been taken over… by giant ants! This campy flick features poor special effects, schlocky characters, and ridiculous dialogue. Be prepared for a laugh when you watch Empire of the Ants!

3. Glass Trap (2005)

Cover of "Glass Trap"

Starring former ’80s child heartthrob C. Thomas Howell, Glass Trap tells the story of an army of radioactive ants that get unwittingly carted into a skyscraper. A group of people, led by C. Thomas Howell, must find a way to escape the horror of being trapped in a skyscraper with giant mutant ants, lest they be eaten one by one. The ants in this flick are so horribly fake looking that it’s pretty much impossible to get scared, even when they are devouring the characters.

Ants are creepy enough as it is without imagining them at a mutant size. While these ants flicks are hokey – as most giant mutant bug movies are – they also have a charm to them that makes them enduring. If you’re feeling like a laugh along with your evening thrill, definitely check out these ant flicks – you’ll find it interesting how the killer mutant ant transforms over time… or you’ll be surprised to see how little they’ve changed.

About the author: Chris is a professional for a New Jersey pest control company. He used to enjoy horror flicks, including cheesy B films, when he was young but no longer has a stomach for them.

 

Brown Recluse Spider Infographic

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Posted by

Brown Recluse spiderThere is much confusion out there among the general public regarding the Brown Recluse spider. Our fearful nature makes us question every spider we encounter in our homes.

“Oh no, is it a Brown Recluse?”

“Well, the spider is brown.”

It’s only reasonable for us to question whether or not a spider we find is indeed a Brown Recluse. After all, these spiders are very dangerous. The Brown Recluse’s venom has been shown to cause necrosis; or a rotting of skin near the bite. A bite starts out as nothing, offering little to no pain, but quickly escalates into serious skin ulcers. Although rare, a bite can cause death.

How do you know if you really have a Brown Recluse problem on your hands?

Bulwark Pest Control has put together the following infographic to help aid the general public in regards to the Brown recluse spider. Learn what the Brown Recluse spider looks like, where in the United States they are found, and what to do if you are ever bit.

Brown Recluse Spider Infographic

 

 brown recluse

Austin Brown Recluse Control

Most spiders in Austin, TX are not dangerous, unless you’re talking about the Brown Recluse. This is why so many Austin home-owners eagerly employ Bulwark Brown Recluse Spider Control. These spiders can pose a serious threat. You’ll want a spider exterminator that guarantees their pest control treatments, and one that is up-to-date on all of the Brown Recluse extermination methods. Don’t mess around with the Brown Recluse, and don’t try to deal with an infestation on your own. Get professional help!

For Austin Brown Recluse Control, get Bulwark Exterminating!

Bulwark Exterminating
209 East Ben White Boulevard
Austin, TX
(512) 291-1200
bulwarkpestcontrol.com

A Wildlife Pro
3803 Speedway
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 914-7287
austintxanimalcontrol.com

Terminix
1905 Kramer Lane,
Austin, TX 78758
(512) 236-5008
terminix.com

What Pest Did You See Infographic

Monday, September 16, 2013 Posted by

Have you seen the “pest test” word search puzzle floating around Facebook? If not, you’ll have to check it out (pictured below).

 

Pest Wordsearch

 

The pest word search was put together by Bulwark Exterminating, who just so happens to have a branch here in Austin, TX.

The word search puzzle exploded in popularity, with almost 13,000 Facebook users commenting on the puzzle with the first pest they found.

The following infographic breaks down the percentages of each pest found in the pest word search:

 

Wordsearch puzzle infographic

 

  • What pest did you spot first in the puzzle?
  • Was the first pest you found one of the most common pests found?
  • Did you find the following pests: scorpion, spider, termite, wasp, bugs, roach, fly, bedbugs, ant, lice, gnat, flea, and centipede?
  • Was the pest you found first, also the pest you fear the most?

Comment below!

The Invasion Of The Critters

Friday, September 6, 2013 Posted by

During the summertime, wild animal activity is at its peak. Incidentally, this is also when the most roof damage tends to occur. If you find yourself hearing strange noises from your attic, it’s probably not your imagination. Most likely, you have an animal invasion caused by holes in your roof. Many animals, such as possums, squirrels, birds and raccoons, will find your attic to be a comfortable and dry refuge to sleep and raise their offspring. Besides being noisy and disrupting your sleep, this can also result in increased allergies, higher risk of animal bites and serious structural damage to your house. Here’s what to do if this happens to you.

Locate Entryways

Many homeowners only discover holes in their roof long after the uninvited tenants have moved in, so inspecting your roof for damage or weak spots regularly can help prevent these entrances from forming. However, this isn’t something you should do yourself. Because walking on roofs can be dangerous for the inexperienced, it’s recommended to hire a qualified professional roofer to check things out.

Fix The Problem

Your first impulse is probably to call pest control, but fighting the invasion is useless if you can’t prevent it from happening again. If you get rid of the animals before closing up the entry points, they will keep coming. Therefore, it’s important to address the holes in your roof first. Hopefully the problem is as simple as a broken screen, vent or window, but there may be much more serious damage that could have resulted in holes. Water damage, missing shingles, rot, mold and falling tree branches are all common culprits. If you have these types of damage in one place on your roof, you’ll likely have more, so have it inspected and repaired accordingly.

The Pest Issue

After you’ve located the problem areas and addressed them appropriately, it’s time to deal with your pest problem. Having unwanted animals in your attic is typically accompanied by feces and carcasses, which smells terrible and poses a health hazard to you and your family. Many small animals such as birds and rodents can be dealt easily on your own. However, larger animals like possums and raccoons can be a much more serious problem. These are among the most common wild animals to carry rabies and other diseases, they’re aggressive and they aren’t very fearful of people, so it’s never recommended to confront them yourself. In cases like these, you should call in an animal control specialist as soon as possible.

Prevention

Working to prevent future invasions is better than having to resolve them once they’ve occurred. Having your roof inspected several times per year by a professional roofer is a good way to do this. You can also take a personally active role by taking steps to deter pests from moving in. Keeping traps and poison baits in your attic will stop pests from staying long if they manage to get inside. Ultrasonic deterrent devices can also be helpful as well as a sprinkling of diatomaceous earth.

Featured images:

Peter Wendt, recently found a raccoon in his attic. This Austin based roof repair company gave him some great tips to keep the critters out.

How To Survive An Invasion: 5 Pests You’d Rather Be Rid Of

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 Posted by

After the movie Signs came out, I was obsessed with alien invasion preparation. However, over the years, I have realized that there are other invaders out there that are a little closer to home. Pest infestations are both a nuisance and a potential health hazard. That is why it is so important to be able to recognize the signs of an invasion and target those unwanted guests before they do any more damage. Below are a five pests you’d rather be rid of and the signs of their invasion. Once you can read the signs, you’ll be better able to combat these pesky bugs once and for all.

1. Cockroaches

Cockroach

Cockroaches are nocturnal, which means if you see one during the day, there are probably many more hidden in your home. They prefer dark, moist places to hide and breed, so check behind refrigerators, under floor drains, under sinks, and behind appliances. You may also find small oval egg cases in these places, as well as in other hidden places like between books.

If you have an infestation, you will find feces that resemble coffee grounds or black pepper. If the roaches are a larger size, they will be dark and cylindrical. Some types also produce smells that are, let’s just say, unpleasant to your olfactory senses. And a larger infestation will radiate a strong oil or must smell.

If you notice any of these tell-tale signs of a roach, call your nearest professional exterminator to handle the problem.

2. Bedbugs

bedbug

“Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite,” isn’t just a catchy bedtime phrase. If you wake up and notice little bug bites that were not there when you went to sleep, it may be a good idea to check for bedbugs. These little pests are about the size and shape of an apple seed, and brown or reddish-brown in color. They prefer small, warm places to hide and breed. And their habitat of choice? You guessed it: your bed.

Therefore, check between the fitted sheet and mattress, or between the mattress and box spring, as well as any other nearby small, dark, places. Although their name suggests they reside only among the mattresses, bedbugs can actually live in furniture, appliances, bookshelves, and even computers.

Keep an eye out for the bugs themselves, shed skins, or their small white eggs. The eggs are adhesive so be sure to check on both sides of the sheetswhere they may be attached. Other indications of a bedbug problem include their droppings. These will be small, and black or dark brown, like coffee grounds, but will smear red when wiped with a damp cloth.

Though their bites generally only cause annoying itching, in more severe cases victims may have allergic reactions or secondary infections (from scratching the wounds). The best solution to a bedbug problem is to take the Godfather’s advice and go to the mattresses—literally.

3. Ants

ants

Ants are mostly active around sundown, so that is when you want to really keep an eye out. There are three particular things you can check for when inspecting your home for ants.

First, do a little reconnaissance. Ants nest outdoors, so they enter your home primarily to find food. Therefore, they are commonly found in the kitchen area and along walls, and in cupboards. . Though a few ants does not necessarily mean an infestation, if there are a lot of ants, along with an appearance of larger worker ants, you could have a problem on your hands.

Second, after you inspect the house at the likely sources, check for frass. Frass is waste left behind by ants, which includes feces as well as small piles of sawdust or wood shavings, as well as other leftover debris. Ants do not eat wood, but they will dig tunnels and push the sawdust out. So if you see accumulations of debris, you may have uncovered an ant problem.

Finally, if you suspect an ant colony is residing in your home, tap on the area in question and listen. A disturbed colony will make a rustling noise that becomes louder the more bothered they become.

4. Termites

termites

Termites are one of the most destructive pests out there, particularly because there are often no immediate signs of damage. They love to eat dead plant matter like fallen leaves and dead trees, and while that is great in nature, when they decide to make our homes a meal it can be a big problem.

Termites are often mistaken for flying ants, so it is important to know the differences. Ants have a cinched waist, while the termite body is just a straight tube shape. Ants’ wings are two different shapes and their antennae are bent, while termites’ wings are both the same size and their antennae are straight.

Check the foundation of your home, as well as crawl spaces, for signs of termites. They will have little mud tunnels running from their underground colonies to their feeding ground.

Watch out for swarms of termites near your home, especially around springtime. If your paint suddenly starts to bubble or crack for no reason you may want to check the walls for termites. If wood sounds hollow when tapped, or you find discarded wings or termite droppings, it is time to call your local exterminator—and no, I’m not talking about Arnold. A quick search on your browser for “termite control Long Island” (or wherever you’re from) should give you a solid list of options from which to choose. The sooner you take care of a termite problem, the better. Because the longer you wait, the more damage you risk to your home and property.

5. Rodents

rodent

Rats and mice can be fun pets to have for some people, but a wild rodent in your home is a hazardous thing. Both rats and mice carry diseases and parasites, putting your food and home in danger of infection. Moreover, because they are rapid breeders, take care of a rodent problem as soon as possible to avoid a major infestation.

The most obvious sign of a rodent problem is if you see dead or living rodents in or around your home. It is also possible to hear them scurrying and squeaking through walls and floors.

Keep an eye out for droppings in dark, infrequently visited places such as behind furniture, in the back of drawers, the back corner of closets, attics, basements, and in walls and under floorboards. You will also notice damage to food and other things in your home from their constant biting and nibbling. Inspect your pantry and other food sources for signs of nibbling, and make note of any damage to property

Traps are usually the first place we go to when we learn of a rodent in our home, but for larger infestations, traps will be insufficient. Your best bet is to call your exterminator.

The last thing anyone wants is an intruder of any kind in their home. Just as you would call the police if a burglar invaded your home, you should call the exterminator for pest invaders. The sooner you catch the problem and call, the sooner you can once again feel safe and secure in your home—and the sooner you can worry about bigger problems, like aliens.

Leslie Mason is a homemaker and garden expert. Leslie enjoys writing, gardening, do-it-yourself projects, and fixing up the house.