Can You Actually Save Money With Outdoor Electrical Lighting

Electrical Safety

Electricity is all around you. It’s the most common energy source, and it’s very powerful. Contact with electricity is dangerous and can cause electrical shock, burns or even death if the shock is severe.

Conductors are things that carry (conduct) electricity easily, including:


Water and wet things



Nonconductors (insulators) do not carry electricity, including:





Clean, dry wood

Steer Clear of Electrical Power Equipment

Transmission line towers carry electricity above the ground.

Substations help reduce the amount of electricity before it enters homes. They are often fenced in.

Pad-mounted transformers are sometimes used for underground wiring. These are locked metal cabinets on cement pads.

Utility poles and power lines carry electricity into homes.

Insulators and transformers are found on many poles. Insulators keep the electricity in the power lines, and transformers reduce the amount of electricity.

Meters and other electrical equipment can be located on the outside of homes or buildings. Meters measure the amount of electricity used.

Play it Safe Outdoors

Fly kites, model planes, balloons and other toys in open spaces, such as fields or parks.

Use only non-conducting materials for kites, such as plastic; paper; clean, dry wood; and string.

Never use wire, metal or foil.

Never climb a utility pole or nearby tree if a toy gets caught in power lines. Call your electric utility.

Don’t fly toys in the rain or in a storm.

Don’t release metallic balloons outside.  They can conduct electricity.

Never play on or near power equipment.

Never touch any outdoor wires, or anything touching them, with your body or any object.

Call Diggers Hotline (800-242-8511) before digging in your yard.

Watch out for overhead wires when you’re around trees, or if you’re using a ladder, pool skimmer or any other long object.

Look before you climb any tree to be sure no wires run through or near it.  Your weight may cause a branch to touch a wire.

Keep electrical appliances and toys away from water, including rain, wet ground, swimming pools, sprinklers and hoses.

Protect outdoor electrical outlets with weatherproof covers and GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) to protect against shock.  Indoor outlets near water sources should also have GFCIs.

Don’t touch or use damaged plugs and cords on electrical appliances and fixtures.

Make sure tools and appliances are approved for outdoor use.  They are made with heavier wiring, and special insulation or three-way grounded plugs.

Stay safe Indoors, too.

Never put your finger or anything other than an electrical plug or safety cap in an outlet.

Pull by the plug, not the cord, when unplugging an appliance.  Be alert for damaged plugs and cords.

Limit the number of appliances plugged into each outlet.

Unplug small electrical appliances and toys when you’re not using them.

Don’t use electrical appliances when you’re wet, have wet hands or are standing in water.


Almost nothing kills the holiday spirit quite like looking out your window to find that the Christmas lights you spent hours hanging outside are no longer lighting up the winter night. Even worse is finding that the problem isn’t just a bulb or strand that’s burnt out but that the wires have been cut and are beyond repair. But before you go blaming vandals, consider that the culprit might instead be a common neighborhood critter.

That’s right. Many of the animals that scurry around outside our houses are fond of chewing on wires and can force our outdoor Christmas lights to go dark. Squirrels, mice and rabbits are all known offenders. Squirrels even sometimes steal the bulbs from outdoor lights, thinking they are nuts.

Rodents like squirrels are especially common culprits because their teeth are constantly growing, so they have to chew on objects to prevent them from getting too long, according to the lighting blog 1000 Bulbs. While sticks and twigs are their usual choice, holiday lights are too good of a temptation to pass up when they are so readily available during the holiday season.

The Plainfield Police Department gets enough calls about vandals destroying holiday light displays that it has posted on Facebook each December for the past few years about another likely cause: wildlife chewing through wires.

It turns out electrical wires are covered in a soy-based coating that rodents and other animals find quite tasty, according to Forbes. Our Christmas displays aren’t the only place the critters are finding to feast. Many of the electrical wires in our cars are covered in the soy-based coating as well, causing hefty car repair bills for some unfortunate vehicle owners.

Different Types of Outdoor Wall Lighting

Whether you need security lights, ambient lighting for a particular area in your yard, or light fixtures to accessorize your home’s exterior, here is our ultimate guide to outdoor wall lighting for your home. Discover the different types of outdoor wall lighting that you can take advantage of to boost your home’s outdoor aesthetics.

Outdoor Wall Lighting Buying Guide

When considering outdoor wall lighting, or outdoor sconce lighting, there are several things you should consider. Some consumers choose outdoor lighting strictly for design, while others want lighting for security. A variety of motion-triggered flood lights, for example, work well for security. However, you certainly don’t have to sacrifice style for function.

Exterior Sconce Purposes

Your first consideration when shopping for lighting for home’s exterior is the purpose that you want your lights to serve. This will, to some degree, dictate the types of options that will work for you

Many homeowners seek outdoor lighting for security. There are many wall-mounted lights that work well for this, from motion detector lights to lights on a timer to lights that can be turned on and off manually. Floodlights and bright spotlights, whether they are motion-sensor-triggered or not, often work well for security.

Security Lights

Many homeowners opt for outdoor lighting to provide security. Many crimes are crimes of opportunity. This means that if you can make your home a less easy target for burglars, they will often move along to another property. One way to do this is by providing enough lighting so that there are no hiding places for predators.

Types of Modern Solar Lights: Uses, Benefits and Guide

Solar lights are the new breakthrough in technology. Cost-efficient and used for both indoor and outdoor lighting purposes, they are a new and advanced technology which cannot be even compared to the conventional methods of lighting—bringing a lot of benefits to the table.

If you think of solar-powered lights as ones that utilize the basic mechanism of converting solar energy into electricity to power the lights, there is a lot more knowledge behind this. In today’s guide, we will help you understand:

Everything that defines solar LED lights technology and how it works.

The benefits of using solar lights compared to conventional lights.

The concrete uses and benefits of solar lights in different scenarios.

The classification of solar lights, when and what they are called and where/when they are used (as well as their benefits).

The best solar light products and useful buying guides.

In a nutshell, you have a chance to learn all the important things that you need to know about solar-powered lights, the best solar lights out there, the average prices and the value for money on the most popular products. So, let’s begin.

How does solar work and the benefits of solar lighting

As we have already hinted, the main principle of how solar lighting works is very simple. These lights collect solar energy and transform it into lighting—through a technology called the photovoltaic effect which is used in a solar panel. This effect collects solar energy throughout the day and stores it in a rechargeable gel-cell battery that can be used later in the evening when there is no sunlight.

Solar LED lights can be installed in many different areas. They offer amazing environmental benefits and can burnish a building owner’s green credentials, serve as a unique selling point for attracting and retaining tenants and help buildings or retrofits to quality as LEED points.

Things You Should Know About Your Home When Lightning Strikes

How Lightning Affects Your Home

thunder and a high number of lightning strikes, sometimes turning more severe and producing hail and tornadoes. Let’s focus on lightning and how it affects your home – specifically the electrical system of your home.

What Happens When Lightning Strikes The Home

If your home has been directly hit by lightning, first call the fire department to have them check everything out. Lightning could strike anywhere on the home, which could lead to fire but will most likely cause surge damage. Since the home is all connected electrically, you may see some melted outlets, the tv no longer turns on, and while the oven works fine, the clock no longer works. Generally, the damage is pretty contained to those items. If an outlet has melted the outlet needs to be replaced, but there aren’t many concerns for the wiring in the home. In a few cases, the heat from the outlet will affect the coating on wires coming into the outlet, when that happens the wires need to be cut back to an unaffected area typically it’s just an inch or two.

What Happens When Lightning Strikes Nearby

Since lightning takes the path of least resistance, a nearby strike on your property or in your neighborhood could cause surge issues in your home. Surge issues tend to be pretty similar whether a nearby lightning strike has affected your home or it was directly struck by lightning.

Lightning Protection For The Gas Line

Here’s what National Electrical Code 250.106 says about lighting protection: The lightning protection system ground terminals shall be bonded to the building or structure grounding electrode system. Or in other words, the system that needs lighting protection, in this case, the gas line, should be connected to the homes main ground system, usually found at the main breaker panel. Lightning protection for your gas system is required when corrugated stainless steel tubing, or CSST, is present in the piping system.  If you only have conventional black pipe with threaded fittings, lightning protection is not required on your gas system. The 2009 edition of NFPA 54, National Fuel Gas Code includes new requirements for lightning protection. According to 7.13.2 CSST gas piping systems shall be bonded to the electrical service grounding electrode system at the point where the gas service enters the building. The bonding jumper shall not be smaller than 6 AWG copper wire or equivalent. Again, this is only required when CSST is present.  Sometimes this is an easy fix, and other times it’s a bear to get from the ground at the main panel all the way to the gas line. Every situation is a little different, and we should talk about it one on one.

Lightning Rods

While we don’t offer lightning rod installation, some companies specialize in this area. Most people are probably familiar with the general idea of a lightning rod, a large metal post staked to the roof, so I’ll leave the details up to a lightning rod installation company. The rods should be connected to a ground wire which goes directly to a ground rod (or two) to give the power a path of least resistance away from your home. When power has reached the earth or slab, it dissipates.

Mold Inspection And Remediation Strategies Can Help

Mold Inspection and Testing Services

Your home is your most important investment. As a result, it is always critical to ensure that the environment is safe and comfortable for you and your family. Ninety-four percent (94%) of all respiratory ailments are caused by polluted air, according to the American Medical Association, which also reported that one-third of national health bill is for causes directly attributed to indoor air pollution

Suspect mold? Hire a mold inspection professional

Mold is potentially one of the most dangerous biological contaminants that can be found in your home. Not only does it damage your home, but also it can pose serious risks for your health. More often than not, mold will not be seen by the naked eye. By hiring mold investigation professionals, will be able to inspect your home from top to bottom to find the source of the mold. will provide you with full-service mold inspections and testing services. Once are finished, can educate you on the effects it can have on your home, and provide you with advice on how to solve these issues once and for all.

Why is mold testing so important?

Once you determine you have mold in your home, it is important to get expert mold testing services. mold testing company is not only experienced but also educated in the various facets of mold testing services. Mold is mainly caused by:

High humidity

Leaking pipes

Leaking roofs


Poor ventilation

Through expert mold testing services, will be able to find the root cause and source of any mold growth in your home. mold testing company will then provide you with a written mold assessment report of our findings and advice on how to solve the issue.

It’s critical to take care of your business’s industrial hygiene

Your business’s industrial hygiene is of the utmost importance to us. It is the job of environmental hygienist to ensure your environment hygiene is at an acceptable standard and quality. provide environmental inspections as well as environmental testing to make sure there are no workplace hazards or stressors that can cause illness, impaired health, or discomfort to employees from exposure to chemical, physical, biological, or ergonomic hazards.

Mold Remediation and Restoration

Mold is no joke! Mold can be hazardous and dangerous, it can also be delicious like blue cheese, or any cheese for that matter! But, mold that grows in your home or place of business is not a good thing, unless you work at a dairy farm and make cheese. Mold can damage infrastructure and severely as well as personal health. Mold has some common misconceptions about where and how it can grow. If there’s a doubt about mold growing in your home or place of business

Understanding Mold

Confusion and misunderstanding surround the topic of mold and mold remediation. Some restoration businesses even make claims to remove all mold from a building. This is a fallacy. Mold spores occur naturally almost everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. These microscopic spores float along in the air and can enter a home or business through windows and HVAC systems. Consider these facts:

Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.

Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.

Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.

Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.

Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.

Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

The Mold Remediation Process

Every mold infestation is different, from the amount of mold to the types of materials affected. Each scenario requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same

The steps listed below illustrate process for a “typical” mold remediation infestation:

Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment

Mold Containment

Air Filtration

Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials

Cleaning Contents and Belongings


Common Mold Misconceptions

It’s easy to understand why many people struggle to grasp the facts and issues surrounding indoor mold because sensational news stories and advertising cloud and obscure the real issues. Educate yourself with the facts about mold and learn about the mold remediation process.

How to Test for Mold

Mold is a type of fungus that grows in moist environments and reproduces by microscopic seeds called spores. Even if you’re healthy, you can suffer from respiratory issues, skin irritation, and headaches if you’re exposed to dangerous forms of mold

If you share your home with children, elderly loved ones, or anyone with respiratory problems, they’re at an even greater risk. Therefore, it’s very important to learn how to find, test for, and treat mold. This knowledge could improve your health and even save your life.

Look for telltale characteristics. Mold often has a fuzzy appearance but can also look like a stain if it’s growing on a wall or furniture. Its most common colors are black green, brown, or white. Mold can feel like cotton, leather, velvet, or sand paper. It usually gives off a musty or earthy odor. Also look for visible signs of possible water damage such as stains or paint bubbling. This could mean there is mold growth within the wall cavity.

Check the basement. This should be the first place you look. Its underground location makes it especially vulnerable to moisture and humidity buildup. After each heavy rain, look for and immediately treat any water seepage

Check the utility room. Look in and around the clothes dryer duct for mold growth. If it’s not properly ventilated, it can trigger a build-up in humidity in the room. Make sure the duct is vented toward the exterior of the house.

Reasons Why Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Mold Test Kits Are Not Accurate or Advised

While it might be tempting to use DIY Mold Tests—petri dishes set out over a period of time to determine mold presence—to diagnose your household mold, these over-the-counter methods can be deceiving and inaccurate. The results lack enough credibility that lawyers, doctors, insurance companies, and remediation companies do not accept the results. Consumer Reports, in fact, rated four different brands of DIY mold tests “Not Recommended,” citing the following: “In some samples, the vials with media leaked over entire kit. In one, an unopened kit was moldy

No expiration dates on the kit; old media could affect the accuracy and reliability of the results. Label claims that kit can identify toxic mold, but the report the lab sends can’t tell you this. One unused plate came back positive for mold growth, indicating contamination at some point; not very reassuring for post remediation use.”

) No Expiration Dates – DIY mold test kits sit on hardware shelves or storage areas for undisclosed amounts of time, subjecting the agar (gooey stuff) to contaminants. Because there is no readily identifiable expiration date for these kits, despite the requirement that they be sterile, consumers cannot determine how much potential handling or exposure these kits have had.

2) Demonstrated Lab Inaccuracies – There have been numerous cases where I’ve been told of “high mold” counts with a DIY kit when the actual levels are low and vice versa with “low mold” counts with DIY kit when the actual levels very high.

3) Uncontrollability of Shipping and Handling – DIY kits require being sent through the mail system for “lab analysis.” Such processing is unregulated, leaving the package susceptible to elements such as extreme temperatures and humidity, improper handling, and overall shipping lag time. Such factors can contribute to false positives and false negatives.

4) No Air Flow to Measure Mold In Cubic Units– Most standards and guidelines refer to mold spores per cubic meter or coliform forming unit, but obtaining a level of mold per volume of air is impossible without a controlled airflow through the use of a mechanical pump.

5) No Control Sample – A control sample is necessary to validate the elevation of spores and provide a meaningful reference point, but many DIY kits do not offer a dish to take such a comparison sample from another room or outside.

6) Misleading Marketing – Consumers often think that the DIY kit they purchase will quantify and qualify they types of mold they have, but this is not the case. For an additional costs, the petri dishes must be sent out to the lab for analysis (see point 1, 2, 3 for why this is meaningless).

7) No Accredited Laboratory Certification, Endorsement or Chair of Custody – The labs associated with DIY kits are rarely certified (those listed with AIHA-LAP LLC Accredited Labs) and are not endorsed by any accredited agency. Often there is no chain of custody (COC) to properly document the transfer of the kit or to note acceptance of the kit by the lab and critical data such as the date, time of analysis, lab location etc…are often omitted.

8) Kits Do Not Account For Dead Spores: Settling plates and other DIY kits are focused on growing mold, but dead spores can also impact your health. Water damage-makers such as Stachybotys, Chaetomium and Ulocladium may not show up on the DIY kit.

9) No Inspection – DIY kits do no provide an overall understanding of your mold contamination. A critical part of a comprehensive mold investigation is the inspection process, which requires specialized instrumentation such as digital moisture meters, hygrometers, infrared cameras and other tools along with an expert visual observation.

10) Spore Characteristics Make Some More Likely to “Stick” – Mold spores have unique weight, density and air flow characteristics and do not settle at the same rate. Heavier spores, for example, settle on the petri dishes at a quicker rate and take up more of the sample plate. Sticky molds, especially water damage indicators and Black Mold, might not appear as readily on the DIY kits, but this absence could indicate greater growth elsewhere.

Home Inspections

As a trusted industry resource and Certified Home Inspectors, are continually learning new aspects of home systems to provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive inspections available today. During the pandemic, are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of our clients, agents, employees, & occupants of the homes we inspect. inspectors have undergone specific training and are executing best industry practices. Additionally, are offering inspection walkthroughs via video-chat on the platform “Zoom” for those interested.

What’s included in your inspection? To give you an idea, Single Family Home & Townhome inspections include the following:

Roof system and chimney exterior

Gutters and downspouts

Grading and drainage

Walkways and driveway

Garage doors and safety sensors

Exterior cladding

Deck, stoops, porches and railings

Windows and doors

Attic, insulation and ventilation

Basement, foundation and crawlspace

Ceilings, floors and walls

Heating system

Cooling system

Plumbing system

Drainage sump pump with accessible float

Electrical system

Fireplace damper door and hearth

How invasive is the inspection?

It’s important our clients understand this is a visual inspection only. make observations and test operational functionality of home systems and major appliances but are not diagnosing specific issues like why the gas fireplace won’t start or why the dishwasher purrs a little too loudly. recommend hiring industry-related professionals to diagnose these specific issues.

Is this home inspection the same as a building code inspection?

This inspection is NOT a building code inspection; building code is inspected as the property is being built.

What items are sometimes difficult to inspect due to seasonal limitations?

home inspections are considered a “point in time” inspection; there may be items are unable to inspect on a given day, like: the roof due to snow/rain, the air conditioning system because the temperature is too cold to operate it safely without damage to components, and some of the exterior as it was also covered by snow.

Why You Should Get Professional Help For Tax Preparation

Can you file taxes if you have 0 income?

Any year you have minimal or no income, you may be able to skip filing your tax return and the related paperwork.

Being allowed to skip filing your tax return and the related paperwork sounds like a good deal. Any year you have minimal or no income, you may be able to do just that.

income tax return with no income

However, it’s perfectly legal to file a tax return showing zero income, and this might be a good idea for a number of reasons. Before you decide to skip your return this year, consider whether it might be worthwhile to file.

Income requirements

Even if you earned income last year, if it falls below the IRS minimum you don’t have to file a tax return. The minimum varies according to your age and filing status—whether you are single, head of household, filing jointly with your spouse or you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s taxes.

The IRS also adjusts the minimum amount of earned income from year to year for inflation. Individuals who fall below the minimum may still have to file a tax return under certain circumstances; for instance, if you had $400 in self-employment earnings, you’ll have to file and pay self-employment tax.

If you have no income, however, you aren’t obligated to file.

Credits may earn you a tax refund

The IRS offers a number of tax credits that you can take directly off your taxes rather than your income. If the credit is more than you owe in taxes, in some cases, you can claim the excess credit as a refund.

The IRS lists the “additional child tax credit” and the “earned income tax credit” as examples; if you qualify for these credits, you can receive a refund even if you paid no taxes. To claim the credits, you have to file your 1040 and other tax forms.

File now, deduct later

The IRS limits how much you can claim with various deductions and credits. For example, you can’t claim a home office deduction so large that it would put your business into the red; instead, you claim zero business income for the year, and carry any leftover deduction into the next year.

Smart Money writer Bill Bischoff advises that if you have deductions or credits carrying over, you can’t claim them if you have no income, but you need to file your taxes to claim them in a future year when you do have income

Protect yourself from future audits

The IRS operates under a statute of limitations when it comes to auditing old tax returns.

If you’ve reported your information accurately, in most cases they can only go back three years. However, the clock only starts for a given year when you actually file your tax return.

If you don’t file, the IRS can always come back and audit you. For this reason, the IRS recommends that even if you don’t file, you still keep any relevant financial records indefinitely.

Do I Have to File a Tax Return if I Don’t Owe Tax?

The IRS has restrictive guidelines for determining who needs to file, which means even if you don’t owe, you may still have to submit a tax return.

african american woman working on her laptop

It’s very common to feel like you shouldn’t need to file a return if you don’t owe any tax. However, owing tax and having a filing requirement are two separate situations in the IRS’ eyes. The IRS has restrictive guidelines for determining who needs to file, which means even if you don’t owe, you may still have to submit a return. These restrictions are based on the amount and type of income you receive and whether automatic deductions will reduce your income below taxable levels.

General filing requirement

The IRS has general filing requirements for most taxpayers. Even if no tax is owed, most people file a return if their gross income is more than the automatic deductions for the year. The primary automatic deduction is the the standard deduction. Its amount will depend on your filing status and age. Standard deduction amounts change each year, however, a single filer’s standard deduction is always less than the amount a head of household filer can take.

Children and dependents

Children and other dependents may be required to file their own tax returns despite being claimed on someone else’s tax return. However, a different set of rules govern when these individuals need to file since they are subject to reduced deduction amounts.

Moreover, there is a distinction between a dependent’s earned and unearned income insofar as larger amounts of unearned income can be received without having to file. Examples of unearned income includes interest, dividends, taxable Social Security benefits and unemployment compensation. Earned income, however, typically includes earnings from employment and self-employment.

Self-employed business owners

You’re self-employed if you earn money by providing services to individuals or entities, other than an employer, or operate a trade or business as a sole proprietorship or as a partnership, for example. You must file a return if your net earnings from self-employment is $400 or more. This generally requires you to file a Schedule C (or C-EZ) with your 1040 to calculate and report net profit, and a Schedule SE to cover the self-employment taxes you’ll also owe.

Filing for refunds

Even if you aren’t required to file a return, you still may want to. If you don’t owe tax at the end of the year, but had taxes withheld from paychecks or other payments—filing a return may allow you to obtain a tax refund. You may also be eligible for certain refundable tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which could generate a refund for you. The only way to get your tax refund is to file a tax return.

What if I don’t have any taxable income?

If you do not have any form of taxable income on your tax return, the IRS E-file system will reject the submission because it will read it as an empty tax return. Some people are not required to file returns when this occurs, yet choose to so that they have a filed tax return on record for personal and/or legal reasons.

For more information or to determine if you are required to file a return, please reference the IRS Form 1040 Instructions. If you still want/need to file a federal tax return you should go into the Income section of the program and make a $1 entry for Interest Income.

  • Income
  • Interest and Dividend Income
  • Interest or Dividend Income
  • Interest Income Form 1099-INT > enter your name in the Payer’s Name box and enter $1 in the Interest Income box 1 entry space.

This will have no bearing on the return however it will allow the IRS computer to read an entry on one of the required lines and therefore be able to process the return for you.

If the only income that you had was from Social Security benefits, most likely these benefits are not considered taxable income.

The Pro’s And Con’s Of Self Managing Your Vacation Rental Cleaning


Perhaps you have the management side of things nailed down and you’re in need for a dependable cleaner. staff are detail orientated and know what needs to be done to create a lasting impression on your guest. Cleanliness is the number one reason a vacation rental can receive a bad review. With cleaning service you never have that worry.


The environment of your vacation rental, the health of our team, your family and vacation renters is always top-of-mind. do not use any products that leave heavy scents, toxic film or harm the environment. Your vacation rental is left sparkling clean, every detail given the attention it needs and the scent of nothing left behind.


approach each of premium vacation rentals with an eye to detail using a check-list and final inspection at completion. With the boom in vacation rentals in area there are many pop-up cleaning teams who rush to get to the next rental. take the time needed to ensure everything is attended to.


Half used soap bar or worse can see a bad review coming. These are the details take care of. Inventory and reporting is as important as ensuring each turnover is handled with care.


Spotless. Shine. Sheen. Sparkle. These four words are only achieved with polish. Not a swipe with a rag, not a brush over with a duster, a true polish. give it the muscle a good clean needs.

Ways to Effectively Improve Your Airbnb Cleaning

Becoming a vacation rental host on a site like Airbnb is a great way to supplement your income and connect with travelers from around the globe. However, vacation rental hosts are held to very high standards of service and quality.  This pressure can be felt from their guests and the companies they use to rent out their properties.

According to Airbnb, cleanliness is one of the major standards hosts are required to meet.  Also, hosts who consistently receive low cleanliness scores may be subject to penalties. But meticulously changing linens, wiping counters, scrubbing bathroom tiles, and sweeping floors between every guest booking can be both mentally and physically draining. 

Hire a professional Airbnb cleaning company between guest bookings

Guests on Airbnb will hold hosts to the same high standards of cleanliness as full-service hotels.  They don’t want to trade down. Meeting these rigorous hospitality standards can be incredibly difficult because you don’t have access to the same full-time housekeeping crews that hotels do.

cleaning crew should take care of a number of services, including:

Making the beds.

Cleaning and putting away the dishes.

Sweeping and mopping floors.

Vacuuming carpets and rugs.

Cleaning toilets, bathtubs, and showers.

Taking out the trash.

Wiping countertops, door handles, and light switches.

Checking for damages and reporting low inventory.

Schedule periodic DEEP cleanings.

Although cleaning your vacation rental between guest check-outs will keep your property looking fresh and tidy most of the time, it’s important to schedule periodic deep cleanings of your unit, too. This type of deep cleaning isn’t required all the time but is necessary several times per year.

Why you need more than cleaning on vacation rental turnover days.

there’s nothing more important than having dependable, top notch cleaners doing their thing every turnover day. Professional turnover cleaning is a marvel of skill and efficiency that never ceases to amaze.

Because there’s a pretty big gap between what cleaners can and will do on a turnover day, and what needs to be done to truly and thoroughly prepare a vacation home between departing and arriving rental guests.

Closing that gap can mean the difference between an outstanding guest experience and one that does not encourage booking again next year

Just a few examples:

Fish skin stuck on the grill. It’s not what your arriving guest wants to find when he opens that grill lid for the first time. But most cleaning services do not clean grills. And if they do, it’s just a quick scraping of the cooking grates. But what about all that grease and debris gathered in the bottom of the grill? You know, the kind of accumulation that by mid-summer can cause a nasty grill fire. And who checked to see if there’s enough propane on hand?

Kitchen not just clean, but well organized, with unnecessary clutter eliminated. Are the skillets neatly nested, all in one easily accessible cabinet? Are pans and their covers anywhere in the same vicinity? How many random plastic storage containers and plastic Red Sox cups does one kitchen need? These things can get out of control over the course of a rental season. The cleaning people won’t deal with it, but somebody needs to.

Safety first. Ask your insurance agent about having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Who’s responsible for testing them every once in a while? And when’s the last time anyone checked to see if your fire extinguisher is properly charged? Or whether your dryer vent is clogged with sand and debris, causing poor dryer performance, overheating and possibly, a fire. Can’t expect the cleaning service to deal with these items.

TV and wifi. Probably one of the very first things your arriving guest will want to do is log on using your wifi network and password. Sure would be good if they connected flawlessly. Who checked to see if that’s going to happen? And what if the last guest group had kids watching a movie using your DVD player? New guests arrive, click on the TV to catch the Sox game and get “No Signal” because nobody reset the “Source” to the correct HDMI setting for watching broadcast TV.

Will your cleaners check to be sure the lawn has been mowed on schedule and that weeds aren’t taking over your gardens? Will they make sure the trash and recycling containers have enough space left to get the arriving guests to the next pick-up day?


cleaning crews follow a six-page “deep clean checklist” for every property It covers every interior and exterior area of each property, including:


Dining room


Living areas



Laundry closet/room


Any “outside living areas”: decks, patios, etc.

Allow enough time

How long does it take you to do a normal clean on your property after a guest leaves? Two hours? Allow for 2-3 times more time for a thorough deep clean. For one of standard two-bedroom condominiums, professional cleaning crews allow up to 6-8 hours for a deep clean. And one of large 6-bedroom homes can take more than one day for a top-to-bottom scrub.

Leave no stone unturned (and no shelf uncleaned)

Now’s the time to clean everything! Start from the top and work down. Here are just a few things to think about during a deep clean that can get overlooked during a standard guest-departure clean:


Remove and dust art/knickknacks, fake plants, etc. from above cabinets and clean above cabinets.

Clean all major appliances (refrigerator, stove, microwave, etc.) inside, out, top, sides and underneath as accessible. And don’t forget those small appliances: coffee maker, blender, toaster, toaster ovens, juicers, waffle irons, griddle, mixers, coffee grinder, can openers, etc.

Empty contents of all drawers and clean inside.

Inspect all cookware, dishes, glasses, silverware, utensils, etc. for cleanliness. Wash any that are dirty. Replace any cookware that is un-useable. Throw away broken glass/plates.

This is also the time to take a thorough inventory of all kitchen items and bring everything back to its property quantities. If your property can accommodate, eight guests, then make sure you’re back to having 12 (1.5 times the sleeping capacity to allow for loss/damage) matching dinner plates, salad plates, bowels, water glasses, wine glasses, full silverware settings for 12, and more.


Vacuum and clean bathroom ceiling vent using hand vacuum.

Dust vanity light fixtures – remove globe/glasses to clean.

Clean all mirrors and windows

Stick (use chopstick or toothpick) clean all corners of sink/faucets/countertops.

Stick (chopstick or toothpick) clean all corners of toilet; remove and wash all toilet attachments and fasteners.

Vacation Rental & STR Cleaning Guidance for Preventing 2019 Novel Coronavirus / COVID-19

What You Can Do To Keep your Guests and Partners Safe

Vacation Rentals (VHRs / STRs) welcome guests from all over the world and from all parts of the USA. Besides luggage and travel items, guests bring with them a cornucopia of colds, flus, and other “germs”. It is incredibly important to protect ourselves, our staff, and future guests from any little germs waiting for a new “home”.

How to Disinfect a Vacation Home Rental from Corona virus

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, remote controls, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, between each reservation. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, body fluids and/or secretions or excretions on them.

Read label of cleaning products and follow recommendations provided on product labels. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves or aprons and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Use a diluted bleach solution or a household disinfectant with a label that says “EPA-approved.” To make a bleach solution at home: add 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 quart (4 cups) of water.  For a larger supply, add ¼ cup of bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of water.

Wash laundry and disinfect cleaning items thoroughly.

Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, body fluids and/or secretions or excretions on them.

Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items. Wash your hands immediately after removing your gloves.

Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, wash and dry with the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.

Why You Absolutely Should Get Your Dermatologist Involved

What makes a good dermatologist?

Dermatologists treat not only the skin, but also the nails and hair. They diagnose diseases, perform surgery and prescribe and administer treatments. Some dermatologists also perform cosmetic work, including botox injections, skin peels or dermabrasion. Dermatologists need special abilities to work closely with other people, master rigorous studies and pursue a demanding career.

Personal Abilities

Dermatologists need the ability to work well in close contact with others and to communicate well when advising and counseling patients. They need emotional stability and the desire to help others. Superior stamina and good health are necessary to withstand the rigors of medical training and to work many hours in a medical practice. They need good eyesight and manual dexterity to perform many hands-on procedures, including biopsies, skin surgery and the application of topical agents.

Academic Abilities

Prospective dermatologists need strong academic ability in math and English. They must have the ability to master difficult science classes, including chemistry, physics, biology, pathology, anatomy and microbiology. They also need good study habits and strong problem-solving skills.

Education and Training

Dermatologists must complete a four-year bachelor degree followed by four years of medical school. They need a year of residency in a specialty such as family practice or general surgery, plus a three-year accredited residency in dermatology. Similar to all physicians, they also must pass the medical licensing exams required by their state. Following their residency, they can pursue board certification from the American Board of Dermatology by passing an exam and fulfilling work requirements. The dermatology board also requires follow-up examinations every 10 years to stay certified.

What do dermatologists do?

All the dermatologists have specialization in-:

  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Physics
  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology.

They are the experts as well as trusted persons who have the ability to manage all the worst problems of any type of patient such as hair, skin, and nail-related.

They also have specialization-:

  • To prevent you from early signs of skin cancer
  • to improve your skin’s appearance and give you too soft skin by treating discolorations, aging effects, and certain other skin problems.

Specialties and Experience

No doctor can understand the problem or situation if he does not have enough knowledge and experience in the field. And the treatment of the problem completely depends on the understanding of doctor about the problem. If a doctor cannot understand the problem, the treatment for that problem will be difficult for him. So a dermatologist should have the required specialties and experience to treat his patients.

Impressive Credentials

A dermatologist should always have the impressive credentials and relevant education system to be a competent doctor. He must have a degree in medicine and then he should have specialized courses of the dermatology for better understanding. The more knowledge he has about his field the more effectively he would be able to treat his patients. Doctors who have impressive grades throughout their education system has better placement for residency and then ultimately becomes the more competent doctor at the end.

Qualities Patients Are Looking for In a Dermatologist

Acquiring a formal education in dermatology is an essential first step in your career, but it doesn’t automatically guarantee that you’ll be a successful practitioner. Sure—you know how to diagnose and treat a wide variety of skin conditions and diseases, but that skill loses its value without patients. Without patients seeking your advice as a medical professional, you can’t build a lively practice, grow your experience in a subspecialty of dermatology, or inspire people to take an interest in their health.

Creating happy, healthy patients that respect your opinion as a skin expert and eagerly refer their friends and family to you requires an ability to cultivate interpersonal skills. Many factors influence one’s ability to provide the best care possible. However, in general, a successful dermatologist strives to display these five qualities as often as possible:

Strong Communication Skills

First, you need to cultivate strong communication skills. Understanding your patients and addressing their needs is vital to building a lifelong career as a dermatologist.

A dermatologist with strong communication skills will:

  • Practice active listening.
  • Treat the patient as a partner in creating and implementing a treatment plan.
  • Avoid overly technical terms or phrases that may confuse patients.
  • Maintain an approachable and easy-to-talk-to relationship with patients.
  • Use a warm, conversational tone when addressing patients.

Maintaining a non-judgemental, open relationship with patients encourages them to feel safe and willing to share honest information with you that could impact their treatment plan.

Caring Personality

A caring personality makes an enormous impact on patients. Patients often feel anxious or insecure about seeking medical treatment, so finding a dermatologist who sees patients as a whole person (and not just another name on their schedule) is a big deal to most people.

Working in the medical field is rewarding but also highly stressful. Having a healthy self-care routine reduces your stress level and allows you to approach patients with compassion and genuine concern for their health—which is why you entered this field in the first place, right?

A patient that feels valued and genuinely supported by their doctor is more likely to stick to a treatment plan, make follow-up visits, and have a positive experience that they will then share with others. 


Doctors are busy. However, doctors who make themselves readily-accessible have much happier patients than those who don’t. The location of your practice and the nature of the work you do will impact how accessible you are to your clients. For example, if you practice cosmetic dermatology in the heart of New York City, it’s going to be extremely difficult to get an appointment with you on relatively short notice.

If this kind of environment works for you, that’s great! If not, you need to determine the values and goals that are most important in your dermatology career and make a move to a more supportive environment that allows you to be more accessible to your patients. 

Provides Thorough Visits

Some people talk in length, explaining symptoms and concerns. However, for the most part, patients want to share their concerns without merely feeling like a to-do list item their doctor can’t wait to check off his/her list for the day.

Doing your best not to rush patients through their visit goes a long way. A patient doesn’t know what is essential and what isn’t when describing their symptoms—which is why they came to see you. Pay attention to details, even if they don’t impact the diagnosis or treatment plan.

As a dermatologist, you will examine moles, acne spots, wounds, and much more. You need a vast medical knowledge to answer questions, make accurate diagnoses, and formulate treatment plans. However, your time and attentiveness are just as valuable to your patients as your expertise.

Genuine Medical Care

Don’t worry—your schooling wasn’t a waste of time! Patients do care that you have a degree and were thoroughly trained to be a dermatologist. They want to know you are an expert on skincare and disease. 

Your patients feel most supported if their doctor:

Advocates for their needs.

Takes their concerns seriously.

Informs them of a variety of treatment options and work with them to choose the right one.

As a dermatologist, your medical knowledge is vital. However, providing genuine care and concern for your patients alongside that knowledge makes your work more meaningful.

Pros And Cons Of Hiring Auto Repair Help

What are the most common auto repairs?

Knowing the facts regarding car repairs can be important, especially when considering the cost of your own repairs. If you’re like us, we’re curious about what problems are most common, and how much those common repairs normally cost. Let’s take a look at the top 10 most common repairs.

Oil/oil filter change

Changing the oil filter tops off the list of most common vehicle repairs of 2017. The reason is simple: you’re supposed to change your oil frequently! According to YourMechanic, an industry leader in automotive maintenance and repair estimates, you should be replacing your vehicle’s oil and oil filter about every 7,500 miles. Doing so ensures the mechanisms under the hood continue to function smoothly and properly. Moreover, changing your car’s oil and oil filter will help keep engine components cool, promote better fuel efficiency, and improve your car’s longevity.

Wiper blades replacement

Mechanics’ consensus around wiper blades is that they should be replaced every six months for safety reasons. What happens over the course of a year is that—due to snow, ice, rain, and even sun—the rubber compound that makes up the blade cracks and breaks, causing impaired visibility in the windshield with more and more wiper use. Replacing the blades allows for a cleaner and more comprehensive “wipe” of debris, rain, and snow when you drive, promoting enhanced windshield visibility and therefore safety.

The Loose Fuel Cap

Now, this may feel silly. A loose fuel cap isn’t even a guaranteed problem, so why is it on the list? Because almost half the time a check engine light comes on, it is only a loose fuel cap. This is even more true in new cars. If you are uncertain of where the fuel cap is or how to tell if it is tight enough, then you may want to double-check with a mechanic. This can add a bit of expense, but it will be a lot less than an actual problem. If there is an actual problem, checking early may prevent it from being too big of an issue. Preventative measures are always good.

Replacing Air Filters

On a more serious note, air filters can be a simple but hazardous repair case. The air filter keeps your engine running with a balanced air to fuel ratio. Without this, your engine can misfire. This can damage all sorts of areas in your car, turning a single moment into a chain reaction of damage. Regular checks on your air filter can help to spot when it needs a replacement. Contaminated air filters can be a moderate expense, but ignoring them can be a major one.

Oxygen Sensor Replacements

Replacing an oxygen sensor is an extremely common repair in older cars. Your oxygen sensor is a vital component of your exhaust system which detects uncombusted oxygen in your exhaust. As your car ages, your oxygen sensor becomes worn, and is often due for replacement after 100,000 to 150,000 kilometers of use. A moderately expensive repair, oxygen sensors average around $250 to be replaced.

Catalytic Converter Replacements

As another component of your exhaust system, your catalytic converter neutralize hazardous compounds in your exhaust such as carbon monoxide. As a result, they also increase gas mileage and performance. Catalytic converters are designed to last the entire lifetime of your car, however, unattended repair issues in other components of the exhaust system can cause wear and breakdown to the catalytic converter. New catalytic converters runs consumers $1,150 on average (yikes). While aftermarket catalytic converters are a cost-saving option, most owners rely on original manufacturers to receive standardized and trustworthy parts.

Ignition Coil and Spark Plug Replacements (Both Together)

Ignition coils and spark plugs are another repair that is common on older cars. Your spark plugs send sparks to your ignition chamber, which allow the fuel to ignite and drive your engine. Failing spark plugs can have several distinct signs, which can help you diagnose this problem. The average costs for both of these repairs together is $390.17, but can cause much more expensive damage if not treated properly. Like with all problems, we recommend to have a licensed mechanic inspect your car at the first sign of trouble – it could save you thousands!

Brake work

We all know why brake work is important, especially because one quarter of all Canadian car accidents are caused by a failure to stop. Repairs can take the form of replacing brake pads, which naturally wear down as you use them, and aren’t too costly to fix. This type of repair may also cover brake lines, disc, drum and rotor repair.

Tire repairs and changes

Without good, inflated tires, you loose speed, control, and fuel efficiency, hence the need to get them patched if there’s a leak (for example, if you run over a nail), or replaced if they’re too worn. Better to replace them than risk a blowout on the road, which could lead to a major accident. It’s so important that an auto mechanic, you’ll be trained to notice tire issues when a customer comes in for other matters, to address the problem before it starts.

Battery Replacement

The battery is often what people consider when they think of major routine expenses for your car. It shouldn’t be frequent, but dealing with battery repair will often come in a car’s lifetime and it isn’t the cheapest fix. While batteries cannot last forever, there are a few ways you can keep it healthy as long as you can. When you can’t control all the ways your car may break down, it is nice to take a few measures to help prevent other damages.

Antifreeze/engine coolant flush (radiator flush)

Antifreeze, also known as engine coolant, is a liquid located in the coolant reservoir under your car’s hood. Its function is to prevent the engine’s cooling system from freezing or overheating, depending on the climate, making it a vital component in your car’s health. While there’s no universal mileage threshold for antifreeze replacement, you can expect to flush and replace your engine coolant every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. This is because engine coolant, as with all other liquids/fluids your car needs to run smoothly, deteriorates over time. In this case, coolant can gradually become more acidic and lose some of its rust-inhibiting properties, causing corrosion from within. Corrosion can be detrimental to your car’s radiator, water pump, thermostat, and other components of the cooling system. For that reason, don’t overlook the coolant/antifreeze and have your mechanic check its health when you go in for scheduled maintenance.

Choosing The Right Means For Ants Control

How to get rid of ants in your house

With the weather warming up, and many of us meeting family and friends for socially distanced picnics, we’re more likely to begin seeing some rather unwelcome visitors in our homes. You can’t have a picnic without ants, and whether you accidentally transport them back from your picnic, or they find their own way into your home, the tiny little pests can be tricky to get rid of.

They most likely have come into your home in search of some sweet food to take back to their queen and the larvae in their nest. Even if you just see the one, lone ant, it’s best to take action immediately. Ants are very good at communicating and so if one of them finds a source of food, they’ll likely be back with more than a few friends in tow.

Prevention is key

The best way to ensure an ant-free home is to prevent your home from becoming attractive to them in the first place. To do this, make sure floors, kitchen surfaces, tables and chairs are free from any stickiness and spills.

Spills should be immediately cleaned up, and not left to become sticky ant-attraciting messes, while any opened food and drink should ideally be sealed in a container or kept in the fridge. It’s also best to make sure any food crumbs are swept up from under kitchen appliances and units and if you have a pet not even their leftovers are safe from the ants

Arm yourself

While there are plenty of sprays, powders and other options available on the market for getting rid of ants, you can quite easily make your own solution with just soap and water. Fill a spray bottle with the soapy water and put your detective skills to use to track down the ants as they make their trail to and from your home.

Cupboards, Pantries and Ants

If you’re looking for a house guaranteed to be ant-proof, you’ll have to move to Antarctica. It’s one of the few spots on the planet that is too inhospitable for ants. That doesn’t mean you have to share quarters with roaming columns of foraging insects, though. Ants are pretty predictable, and you can keep them out of your cupboards and pantry if you adopt a few ant-busting habits.

Ants send out scouts to look for food. When they find a good source of nourishment, they return to the nest to tell their friends, who then follow the scout ant’s pheromone trail right to your doorstep — or cupboard. That thick column of ants snaking its way from the soda cracker box to your back door started with a single ant scout who — hot on the trail of a dropped cracker crumb — found your stash of cookies, cat food, jelly donuts or cereal and reported his findings to headquarters.

Long before he told his buddies, though, there were a few things you could have done to avoid problems with ants in the first place:

Keep things clean — A little spilled soda or dab of peanut butter may seem harmless, but if an ant stumbles on it and thinks it has potential, that dribble could result in an ant infestation. Clean up spills as soon as they occur. This will help keep ants outdoors where they belong. It will reduce the chance of your countertops and other surfaces becoming a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria, too.

Seal cracks — That mismatched seam at the back of your cupboard might look like a minor structural flaw to you, but to an ant, it’s like a superhighway leading right to the best grocery store in town. Take the time to identify and seal cracks and holes in your cupboards and along your baseboards, windows and doors. Consider making a project of it and also checking your home’s foundation, attic, crawlspace and the areas where water pipes and electrical wires enter the house. Cracks should be sealed and rechecked periodically for suspicious droppings or mud spatters that could mean you have problems with mice, rats, wasps, bees, ants or termites. Use caulk to seal large cracks, and fill tiny cracks with petroleum jelly.

Use bait — Ant baits are an ingenious way to eliminate ant colonies on your property. Here’s how it works: Ants eat the slow-acting poisoned bait and introduce it to the colony. The queen dies, and the nest soon disperses. One nice thing about being proactive about putting down bait traps is that you can eliminate ant troubles long before they become problems.

Use home remedies — If you like the DIY approach to keeping ants out of your cupboards, try sprinkling cinnamon or cayenne pepper on your cabinet shelves. Ants avoid both of these strong-smelling spices. They also steer clear of bay leaf.

Employ deterrents — If you know ants are getting in through a specific location but have been unsuccessful in your efforts to block their access, try putting down diatomaceous earth. These microscopic shells are like razorblades to ants, so they won’t cross them. You can also track ants back to their nest and try soaking them out with a water hose. Just insert the hose into the nest as far as it will go, and turn on the water. A few treatments should flood the nest and convince the ants to move to a new location. Make certain you aren’t dealing with fire ants before you try this, though

How Do I Get Rid of Ants

When you see one or two ants in your home then you probably have many more. Ants never travel alone, they are part of a large colony that is made up of hundreds of thousands of ants. When you see a few ants they are usually out looking for food and they may have found it in your home. Easily accessible items of food are an attractant to ants and will encourage them to build a colony inside, under or around your home

What Is An Ant’s Lifestyle?

Ants live in colonies and have a large social network. Ants are an important part of the ecosystem in their natural environment, as scavengers and predators and they add important nutrients to the soil through recycling. Unfortunately they are not so welcome in gardens and homes across the country and can become problematic. Ant colonies are an active super cell that can grow to an extremely large size in a short amount of time.

An ant colony has its own infrastructure including a queen, the worker ants and the soldier ants. The queen is in control of the colony and lays all of the eggs. The worker ants take care of the eggs as well as the cleaning and maintenance of the nest. They also do all of the foraging for food. It is the job of the soldier ants to protect the colony. Worker ants travel some fairly long distances from the nest when they are foraging. As they travel from the nest they leave chemical secretions along the pathways that they travel. These pheromones are a communication tool and they use it to communicate food sources. Once a food source has been discovered, a large number of worker ants will start to multiply

Adult ants feed on liquids that are transported to the nest internally in other ants. Once worker ants find a food source, they consume it and return to the nest to regurgitate it. This food is shared or stored and any solid food materials collected by workers are fed to the growing and developing larvae. Every different ant species eats a different type of food. Some eat other insects or feed on meat or fat. Some prefer sweet foods like nectar or fruit and others eat just about anything they can find. When you know what kind of ant infestation you are dealing with, one very efficient way of achieving ant control is to remove a known food source

How Do I Know If I Have An Ant Problem?

Ants leave small signs everywhere that they are present. The most notable signs are the small mounds around their entrance holes. You may also notice small piles of material that is gritty and is found around window frames, trim and doors. This material includes wood fragments, fibres, dust and faecal pellets that are produced by ants.


Okay, we have done all the “normal” things, the non-toxic things, to try to deter them–cinnamon, cayenne, also spraying with a water/rubbing alcohol solution. Everything clean. But they seem to be desperate–in cupboards swarming over a skillet that might have a trace of oil left on it, crawling into a crock full of wooden spoons, etc, next to the stove, in the bathroom sink and bathtub, etc etc.

The ant invasion happens every year about this time and won’t let up until the first rain. We gave up on the non-toxic approach two years ago and pay the pest guy $100 to do his annual spray. We have seen almost no ants since but neighbors and family have them this year in the same numbers as always

I think they have become more persistent and much more numerous as well (they are everywhere). Last year was a nightmare for me – I literally had swaths up and down my bathroom walls including in the shower. And this year, for the first time in 10 years, we got them at the office too. I too gave up on the “natural” approaches – they work for occasional light invasions but not what we are seeing now. Terro seems to work for me. Vinegar as well, to wipe out the pheromone trails they leave for the others. And this year, I too did the annual perimeter spray and am keeping my fingers crossed that it holds up. Might do another spray this weekend for good measure.

I don’t know if this is true but someone years ago said that these are non native ants, something like ARgentinian ants, that are particularly aggressive and probably imported on plants of some sort. Does anyone know if that’s true? They do seem like a different type, but then again, maybe they are just more aggressive b/c of the drought. They do seem much more prolific though. Everywhere you look outside, there are lines of them.

Yes, these are Argentinian Ants. They were actually “accidentally” imported about 100 years ago from the cargo ships that used to deliver lumber here on the Central Coast. (As an aside, Carpinteria got its name because it was a hub of the lumber industry). Anyway, the reason these pesky brown ants are so successful is because they are the ONLY species of ant, that when they encounter a rival nest, they JOIN forces, instead of battling it out, as other species do. Other bad news about them, is they spread diseases in your garden as well. They are like the equivalent of plague rats to our trees and plants, so you really need to keep them under control outside as well. I’ve found for indoors, Terro traps work well, and for spot cleaning and deterrence, Shaklee “Basic H”, which is non-toxic. It comes in a concentrate and is a great all-around cleaning product as well.

How to get rid of ants from your home – tips to stop them in their tracks

With all great things that come with warmer weather, there’s one thing that isn’t so wonderful during the season – ants. We’ve all woken up one morning to be confronted with an infestation of the tiny creatures taking over the kitchen floor

Arm yourself

Grab yourself a spray bottle of soapy water and track down those ants in their trail. Soapy water will kill the ants, whilst destroying their chemical trail – preventing more ants from following their lead into your home.

Defend your home with barriers

Placing barriers around ant access points will stop them from making an entrance – and you’d be surprised at what can act as a barrier. Some items include: a line of chalk, cinnamon, black pepper, baby powder and Vaseline.

Warn them off with a scent

Ants hate strong smells, so using strong scents around your house will stop ants from making themselves a guest in your home again. Spray a white vinegar and water solution or lemon juice on counter tops, clean floors and window sills to stop the ants from crawling all over these surfaces.

Do your chores

If you’ve left food crumbs on the kitchen floor for a timely period, essentially you’re sending out the ants an invitation to a party in your kitchen. Sweeping or vacuuming the kitchen area daily will stop the pests from wanting to enter your home.