Wasps, Reduction and Removal

Although it’s not summer time, bees and wasps can still pose a problem in certain areas, especially if the temperatures are not too terribly cold. And, if you have untreated nests from the previous year, wasps may have moved into your walls, making removal even more difficult. There are a few things you will want to keep in mind, beginning now, to reduce the occurrence of wasps in the upcoming spring and summer months.

Wasps Nests

There seems to be no limit to the size or location of nests. Whether on the side of the house, up on the roof, or down in the ground, wasps can hide out pretty much anywhere.

If untreated, the big hanging nests can grow as big as a basketball. And depending on what you have buzzing inside, some species can be much more aggressive than others.

In addition, yellow jackets can nest in the ground, which unfortunately, are often only spotted after they’ve been disturbed. Ground nesting yellow jackets are a very common variety of wasps and are difficult to treat.

When You See a Nest

The first thing you need to do is locate the entry point of a nest, and try to stay away from that area. Drone wasps have one purpose, and that is to protect the colony at all costs.

The general advice of “if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you” is a pretty good one to follow. Like other animals, if they don’t see you as a threat, they are less likely to go into defense mode.

To Treat or Not to Treat

Treatment depends on a few factors. Most importantly, are you allergic? If you have a bee allergy, it is definitely advisable to seek professional treatment for any size nest. It is just not worth a potential deadly reaction. Also, an exterminator can determine where other nests may be and can more thoroughly treat your residence.

For others, a can of wasp spray usually does the trick. Follow the instructions on the can, allow plenty of distance, and spray thoroughly. Make sure nothing of importance is below the nest, because it will be wet from falling spray and covered in dying wasps.

Prevention

  • Remove fallen fruit from trees.
  • Treat exposed wood.
  • Clear out branches and other stacks of debris on your property.
  • Seal holes in concrete and in exterior walls.
  • Make sure the lids are on your garbage cans.
  • Lastly, inspect regularly and treat as needed to prevent infestations.

Stucco in Construction, Pros and Cons

Stucco, which is a material that is often applied to the outside of homes, is a common material in construction. It is applied wet and forms a dense hard barrier when dry. It is used both artistically and functionally for homes.

The word “stucco” generally refers to plasterwork that occurs on the exterior of the home, while “plaster” refers to inside the home. However, the material itself varies little between the two. In modern usage, stucco is generally cement, sand, and water combined with some additives depending on usage and location.

So, what do you need to know about this material, and should you consider it in future construction projects?

The Good Side of Stucco

The materials required to make plaster basically form a concrete barrier around your home. This makes your home more energy efficient which is quite an advantage.

Stucco is also a sound barrier and a fire retardant material, so whether you live in a loud, crowded city or in the middle of the forest, you can benefit from this material.

The initial investment for stucco is higher than some other building materials. But its longevity and easy maintenance makes it a good choice, financially, in the long run.

This plasterwork is also easy to install, and gives you a way to customize your exterior for a modern or a traditional look.

Stucco’s Disadvantages

The initial sticker shock is the biggest drawback for people considering stucco. Siding and cement are far less expensive options, as they don’t require the numerous layers of installation.

Depending on where you live, this building material may be a less preferable option to other material such as brick. It is only so tolerant to moisture, meaning if you live in a very rainy wet area, stucco may not be your best choice. It holds up better in dryer, sunnier climates.

Cracking can also be a concern, so earthquake prone areas need to factor in cracking to the cost of maintenance.

 

Common Lighting Mistakes

Lighting Mistakes and Tips

Get the right lighting, avoid common lighting mistakes, and have a more inviting home. We want our home to be inviting, comfortable, and a reflection of our personality. There is nothing that ruins that faster than bad lighting. If the room is blindingly bright, or way too dark, or accenting the wrong things, your house won’t have the feel you are hoping for.

Correct these common mistakes and be comfortably lit.

Too Many Recessed Down lights.

Recessed lights are great in some areas, but are often overused. Because they are very inexpensive for the builder, they can sometimes be seen laid out like a grid, covering a room. However, these recessed lights only get have the output because the light can’t escape in every direction . Up to half the light will be lost, and our walls will still be dark.

Not Installing Task Lights

You want to install specific lights for your kitchen counters, in order to focus on the tasks at hand. Lights can be installed under your upper cabinets, so that the counters are well lit. Or, they can be wall mounted. Make food prep easier and safer with proper kitchen lighting!

Everything that Happens in Every Bathroom Everywhere

What is the deal with bathrooms? Either they have bright lights or dim mood lights, and either way, they don’t seem to be practical for everyday activities, such as shaving or applying makeup. The problem is that most bathrooms have overhead lights (whether above the sink, and/or in the ceiling) and rarely do they have lights that highlight the face. Brighten the bathroom– add some sconces.

Not Having Dimmers

An easy way to adjust the lighting for individual needs is to simply install dimming lights. Not only are they adjustable for the mood or task at hand, but they are also more energy efficient. By turning down the light, you prolong the life of the bulb and decrease energy output.

 

These are but a few of the most common lighting problems and some quick tips. If you have a lighting solution you swear by, snap a picture, and join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Ladybugs: Distinguishing Fact and Hype

In the past few weeks, a number of posts and online news outlets have reported the “dangers” of Asian Ladybugs, or lady beetles. A recently circulated picture shows a dog with a mouth-full of ladybugs with a warning that these beetles are different from other lady beetles and are more aggressive and dangerous. So, what’s the story behind this picture? And what do you need to know about clearing out a lady beetle infestation in your home?

Regarding the Picture

A quick internet search will show that the current image circulating of the dog with beetles stuck to the roof of its mouth, is actually a picture from fall 2015. According to the fact-checker site, Snopes, the image is real. But, the associated danger hype was over stated. In this case, as well as in similar cases, the dog most likely ate a mouthful of the beetles and a few got stuck. Eating a dozen or so beetles at once does cause an increase of mucous and can make your pet sick. However, the beetles aren’t actively looking for a home in your pet’s mouth. Neither the bug nor the dog want that scenario. In any case, if you see your pet behaving unusually or is exhibiting excessive drooling, do contact your veterinarian.

Regarding the Species

The recent news has focused on the multi-colored Asian lady beetle, distinguishable by the “M” shape on their heads. These are the ones that are labelled at prone to biting and being more of a pest than the common lady bug. According to Orkin, despite their unique appearance, the Asian lady beetle is the same species as the other lady beetles you see in your yard.

Ridding Your Home of Ladybugs

Although ladybugs are helpful in the summer, out in the garden, you don’t want them inside. Like any other buggy critter, a few are okay, but an infestation can be trouble. One female can lay 1000 eggs, and the buggies are moving in during the cold months. To prevent beetles, make sure your home is winter-proofed by checking the seals on doors and windows and checking the walls for cracks.

If they are already in, you can sweep or vacuum them up or place traps. If the infestation continues despite those measures, contact an exterminator for more information.

Water Leaks, Prevention, Fixes, and Tips

Water leaks can be a problem at any time of the year. But, it is especially important as the weather gets cooler to make sure you do not have any leaking or damaged pipes. There’s enough to juggle as a homeowner. Water damage definitely does not need to be on that list. So, check out the following tips for prevention and precautions for pipes and leaks

Tips for Water Leaks

  • When you notice something is leaking, shut the water off to that particular faucet or appliance. In the event you are unable to turn off water to the specific area, you can turn off the water for the entire property until you make repairs.
  • If you notice water leaking near any electrical outlets, it is best to shut off the electricity for the home. If needed, call an electrician to confirm safety after the water leak has been fixed.
  • For significant damage, it will be easier to call a professional plumber as well as a professional water removal crew.
  • In the event of smaller leaks, use fans to dry out wet areas or make the investment in a wet-dry vac.
  • For leaky roofs, grab a bucket and save your carpet. If the ceiling starts to bow and bubble, water build up could be significant It is best to call a professional sooner rather than later.
  • When waiting for carpeted areas to dry out, move out furniture or put it on blocks to prevent damage.

Temporary Fix

Sometimes a plumber is not accessible and a few quick fixes need to take place. In those cases, you can keep in mind the following tips to help reduce the amount of damage that may occur because of a water leak.

  • Grab a bucket! This is the most common sense answer for protecting carpet, floors, and cabinets under the sink. For small drips, put down a bucket until you can get the drip repaired.
  • If it’s going to be a little bit longer than temporary, then you can installing a hose to your bucket and drain the water out as it fills.

Either way, you want to get your leaks fixed as soon as possible. In addition to ruined furniture and wasted water, you risk the growth of mold. Mold buildup can be very damaging to your health.

Fire Prevention in the Home

It won’t be long until we’re hanging Christmas lights and lighting our fire places. Some may have fire pits in the back yard. There is a lot more cooking and a lot more activity. Winter really is the most wonderful time of the year!

But all the activity also brings with it an additional need for fire safety and precaution in the home. Make sure you and your family take extra time this season to discuss fire prevention in your home.

Tips for Fire Safety

  • Make sure you have fire alarms on each level of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
  • During the holiday season, check all light strands for frayed or damaged wire. Do not use any appliances or hang any lights with damaged cords.
  • Test your alarms and change batteries at least twice a year. A good reminder is to switch the batteries when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time.
  • Talk with your family about safety and escape plans. Teach children how to find the main exits and what to do if those exits are blocked.
  • If there is a fire, remember to get out, stay out, and never return back into a burning building.

Cooking Fire Information

  • Cooking fires are the number one cause of residential fires.
  • Never leave food unattended, especially food that is frying or boiling.
  • If you are simmering or baking food, set a timer so that you do not forget to regularly check on it.
  • Clean surfaces regularly to avoid buildup of grease.
  • Consider purchasing a kitchen friendly fire extinguisher. If there is an accident, the last thing you want to do is to panic about forgetting what is safe to put on electrical fires.
  • Check the kitchen (stove, appliances, oven) each night before bed to ensure everything is turned off or unplugged.

Tips for Children in the Home

  • Keep matches, lighters, and other flammables away from children. (Take an extra moment especially during the holiday season when fireplace matches and candles are more prevalent.)
  • Teach your children to recognize the sound of the smoke alarm and how to immediately respond.
  • Take your children to visit the fire station and to meet firefighters. In case of an emergency, you don’t want them to be scared of those trying to help.

It only takes a few moments to plan and be prepared in case of an emergency. Please take those extra few moments each day to significantly reduce the chances of residential fires.

These tips and more can be found on the Red Cross website.