How do You Get Bed Bugs? The Story of the White Chair.

One of the most common questions we get asked is: Where do bed bugs come from? Unfortunately, one of our customers found out the hard way. She didn’t know what bed bugs looked like or how to check for bed bugs until they were suddenly everywhere.

The truth is, we don’t always recognize the early signs of bed bugs. This story illustrates how quickly they can become a problem and how difficult it can be to get rid of bed bugs once they’ve infiltrated your world. Take heed!

What Causes Bed Bugs?

A dear friend of ours, Carol, tripped over a childproof gate at the bottom of her stairs and broke her ankle. She ended up in a large hospital for three days. During her stay, Carol was put in a patient room with a sofa and a stuffed, white chair for visitors.

On the first day of Carol’s stay, her whole family visited her: her husband, her son, her two daughters, daughter and sons-in-law and multiple grandchildren. Several family members took turns sitting in the white chair. One of her sons-in-law thought he felt something biting him and mentioned at the nurse’s station. The nurse did a quick inspection but didn’t see anything.

That afternoon, Carol’s friends from church showed up with the usual assortment of balloons and flowers. One of the church deacons sat in the white chair but didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

The next morning, the gardening club ladies showed up. The woman in the white chair noticed something biting them and mentioned this to Carol. Carol, remembering her son-in-law complaining the night before, called the nurse.  

A new nurse inspected the chair and saw a small dark red insect along the seam. This nurse had been trained in the identification of bed bugs and in the hospital’s bed bug action plan. He immediately reported the sighting and began the process to correct the situation.

Carol and her clan were moved to a different room. The room with the white chair was quarantined and treated for bed bugs.

How Bed Bugs Spread

The story is far from over. During the treatment, 20 adults and a handful bed bug babies emerged from the folds of the white chair. At least 4 people had sat directly in the white chair which also probably contained microscopic beg bug eggs.

 -The son-in-law had left to go back to work at his financial planning firm, a large office building downtown, with 11 floors.

 -An adult granddaughter took the train back to Chicago where she attends college. She lives in a dorm on campus with 3 other girls.

 -Carol’s other grandchildren attend daycare and middle school.

 -The deacon didn’t go directly home, he visited another parishioner in the same hospital.

-The gardening club ladies? After visiting with Carol, some of them returned home, while others went out to lunch and then window shopping at the mall.

A home mattress with bed bugs

How to Tell if You Have Bed Bugs

The long and short of this story: getting bed bugs is as easy as catching a cold. Bed bugs are really a communicable disease and are treated so by public health departments.

Because of bed bugs’ size, you won’t always see them. If that first nurse had identified the source of the son-in-law’s bite, the spread could have been stopped sooner.

Know the signs of bed bugs. If you suspect that you have bed bugs in your home or workplace, contact Griffin Pest Solutions today. The sooner you address the problem, the faster we can stop the spread!

Termite Prevention Tips For Homeowners

Termites

While termites are most associated with warm, humid climates like Florida, Louisiana and Texas, the eastern subterranean termite is a serious wood-damaging pest in Michigan. These destructive insects are much more common than most people realize. To keep your home or business safe, learn to identify and prevent termites.

Protecting your home from termites in Michigan is no easy task. They are an aggressive, relentless pest that feeds around-the-clock. They often go undetected since enter through the soil beneath your home. A colony of 60,000 termites can eat the equivalent of 2 ft. length of a 2” x 4” piece of lumber in a year’s time if left to their own destructive ways!

What to Do if You Have Termites

If you suspect that termites have targeted your home for their next dinner buffet, Griffin Pest Solutions and the EPA recommend you contact a pest management professional for a thorough inspection and review of treatment options.

Termite damage to window sill.

DIY termite prevention can end up backfiring and may lead to unwanted headaches, hassles and cost a significant amount of money to correct. If you discover termite wood damage or see termites, a pest control tech can eradicate the colony quickly and permanently.

If you don’t have termites, consider yourself fortunate and keep them the away with our prevention tips.

How to Prevent Termites

Prevention is the best method of pest control. To keep termites from ever becoming an issue, take precautions in these three areas.

Reduce soil to wood contact.

This is where termites enter your home or building. Block them from ever coming in with these tips:

  • Maintain a 12-inch vertical barrier of smooth concrete, sand, or other non-cellulose material between the soil surface and substructure wood crawl spaces.
  • Identify and correct stucco siding or untreated wood that comes into contact with the ground.
  • Use synthetic wood and non-cellulose building materials for fences, decks or other structures.
  • Paint or treat existing wooden structures with anti-termite products.
  • Remove untreated fence posts, tree stumps and buried scrap wood near structures.
  • Keep wood piles 8” off the ground and away from your home.
  • Repair foundation cracks and seal openings on exterior walls and soffits to deny termites easy access.
  • Keep landscape shrubs trimmed and not touching exterior walls.
A leaky outdoor faucet.

Avoid moisture.

Termites thrive in warm, wet conditions. In most cases they will gravitate towards wood that is already soft or rotted. Maintain a cool, dry environment by following these steps:

  • Keep basement and crawlspace areas well ventilated and dry.
  • Don’t overwater your lawn or sprinkle stucco or wood siding.
  • Keep your gutters and downspouts clear of wet leaves so moisture does not build up.
  • Repair leaky pipes, faucets and air conditioners.
  • Make sure water doesn’t pool inside or outside after rainstorms.

Regular termite inspection.

Knowing the signs of termites and watching for them regularly can reduce your chances of a serious infestation. Here’s how:

Termite mud tunnels in a home.
  • Regularly inspect porches and exterior structural or foundation wood for signs of termites.
  • Look for mud tubes along walls, floorboards and in basements.
  • Examine used lumber carefully before bringing it home.
  • Watch for peeling paint or walls that look water damaged.
  • Apply a termite prevention treatment.
  • Consult a pest control expert.

Your Michigan Termite Control Experts

If you have questions about termites call or contact Griffin today. We are your local experts at treating termites in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. Don’t take chances with termite colonies in your home. We’ll put a stop to all infestations before they can do serious damage to your property.

Beetles in Michigan

Michigan is home to 100s of varieties of beetles. Most of them are harmless, some are invasive, and many can be a nuisance. Beetle larvae – or grubs – are voracious eaters that destroy plants and lawns at the root. Wood burrowing larvae can damage and kill trees.

A beetle is an insect with six legs, a head, an abdomen and a thorax. What distinguishes beetles are two sets of wings – a hard protective outer pair called elytra and a soft inner pair. We cover some of the more popular beetles in Michigan and answer where beetles come from, whether they’re harmful and how to keep them away.

Stag Beetles

Stag beetles in Michigan are easily identified by the large pinchers or mandibles on the male members of the species. Theses mandibles are used in battles over food and mates. Despite their imposing appearance, stag beetles aren’t normally aggressive towards humans.

Stag beetle larvae

Stags are a black beetle with long shiny bodies. The females are smaller than the males. Stag beetle larvae are smooth white grubs with orange heads and legs. The larvae spend 3-5 years underground before becoming adults. Adult beetles hatch in early summer and usually die by September.

Stag beetles live in forests and wooded areas. Stag beetle larvae feed on dead and decaying wood. Adult stag beetles can’t eat solid food beyond tree sap and soft fruit and rely on built up fat reserves from when they were larvae. These beetles are a vital part of woodland habitats for their role in consuming dead and decaying trees.

Carpet Beetles

Close up of a black and orange carpet beetle.

Carpet beetles are small oval shaped beetles with dark brown, orange and black mottling. They are named for their penchant for eating carpet as well as other textiles like wool, leather, felt and feathers. The larvae are the actual destructors; adult carpet beetles only eat flower pollen,

Carpet beetle larvae are small grubs covered in long orange hair. These small worms have a big appetite and leave behind shed skins and fabric holes as they grow.

Carpet beetles are sometimes confused with bed bugs. Both are small and prefer quiet areas like bedrooms, but carpet beetles don’t bite humans. Bed bugs lack wings and are usually a flat tan or brown color without mottling.

The best way to prevent carpet beetles is by vacuuming. Adult beetles will lay eggs in your carpet or in quiet corners. Vacuuming regularly usually catches the tiny eggs that you would never notice otherwise. If you encounter a carpet beetle infestation and see damaged textiles, Griffin Pest Solutions’ highly trained specialists can help.

June Bugs

June bugs encompass a variety of beetles that relate back to the Egyptian scarab. These large beetles in Michigan are popular around decks and patio lights. No one knows for certain why June bugs are so attracted to light.

Close up of a brown June bug.

June bugs or June beetles get their name from the time of year they normally appear. Like stag beetles, June bugs spend several years as grubs before they become adults. As the ground thaws after winter, the grubs pupate into their adult form and emerge as the shiny beetles you see around your home.

June bugs are mostly harmless. They aren’t aggressive and don’t bite humans. The main issue is with the larvae. June beetle grubs eat plant roots and grass while underground. If you have a grub infestation, it could cause brown patches in your lawn or garden.

Invasive Beetles in Michigan

Close up of Asian long-horned beetle

Michigan has two invasive beetle species : the Asian long-horned beetle and the Japanese beetle.

  • Asian long-horned beetles are large black beetles with speckled markings and long antennae. Their larvae live in tress and create feeding tunnels. Eventually these tunnels can cause branches to break or even kill the infested tree. The best method for dealing with Asian long horns is, unfortunately, to remove the affected trees.
Close up of a shiny green Japanese beetle
  • Japanese Beetles are shiny green metallic beetles with white hairs on their abdomen. These insects feed on flowers, fruits, vegetables, beans and corn. They can strip plants of their leaves and damage crops. The grubs can damage lawn and turf via underground roots. You can use pesticides as well as several natural methods to get rid of Japanese beetles in your garden.

Michigan’s Strangest Beetle

Close up of a black and red blister beetle

The blister beetle may be the oddest beetle we have in Michigan. While these garden dwellers help by reducing the grasshopper population, they also drip a toxic yellow ooze. This irritant is toxic to humans and will cause skin to blister.

Blister beetles are long and narrow with a slim neck. Their soft bodies range in color from black to gray with yellow or red stripes. If you come in contact with a blister beetle, you may not react right away. Welts typically appear 24-48 hours after contact. They are mostly harmless but can cause a painful burning sensation. To treat beetle blisters, keep the affected areas clean and use a topical steroid if needed.

Keeping Michigan Beetles Under Control

Griffin pest solutions quickly addresses insect infestations of all kinds including beetles. If you are concerned about beetles or grubs around your Michigan home, call or contact us today. We’re happy to help you stay bug-free this summer.

What is a silverfish? [Video]

Silverfish pest close-up

Silverfish are small wingless insects that move quickly with fish-like motion. They are nocturnal and prefer dark humid places, like your basement. You’ve probably been startled by them. But what are they and where do silverfish come from? Watch our video.

No need to fear silverfish bites – beyond their freaky appearance, they are harmless to human beings. We’ll clue you in on these terrestrial shrimps of the cellar world and tell you how to get rid of silverfish. The main problem is their destructive capabilities, and we’ll tell you what silverfish eat in your home.

What Do Silverfish Look Like?

Glad you asked. The video below highlights the characteristics of silverfish along with some nice (safe) close-up footage. Generally, silverfish are about 1 inch long with gray or silver scales along their bodies. They have long V-shaped antennae sticking out from their head and three spiky bristles off their tail.

Silverfish are quite common pests. It’s even possible that they hitchhiked into your home on items that you brought in. More often, they squeeze into your basement through small cracks and gaps in your foundation or around windows.

What Silverfish Eat

Silverfish aren’t picky eaters. They will feast upon any starch protein or sugar they can find and the definition of each gets stretched.

Silverfish commonly will eat paper and cardboard found in your basement. They also like the glue that holds these items together. Other things silverfish eat include textiles like linen and cotton, cereal grains, wallpaper or even carpet.

Baby silverfish are tiny versions of the adult form except for the scales. Babies molt several times before they develop their scales. They eat the same starchy diet that adults do and are nocturnal feeders, like the adults.

How to Prevent Silverfish in Your Home

The way to keep silverfish out of your home is to create an environment they don’t like. This means keeping your basement clean and dry. Run a dehumidifier and fix any leaky pipes that are causing moisture. Seal gaps and cracks in your foundation and around windows where silverfish may squeeze in. Don’t attract silverfish and don’t let them in.

You can learn more about how to keep silverfish out of your basement and what silverfish are.

Get Rid of Silverfish in Michigan

If you’re concerned about a silverfish infestation in your home, call or contact Griffin for real solutions to your pest problems. They may be harmless but that doesn’t mean you want them in your home!

Do Cockroaches Bite? (and other pressing roach questions now that you’ve seen one).

Does Washing Bedding and Clothing in High Heat Kill Bed Bugs; Griffin Pest Solutions

There are cockroaches in Michigan. If you’ve spotted one in your home or your workplace – or anywhere – you probably have one pressing question above all others: Do cockroaches bite?

Yes, they do.

And it’s gross and horrible like you’d expect. But they don’t bite often or in the way you’d expect.

The fact is cockroaches rarely bite humans. You’re much more likely to be stung by a bee or bit by a spider than a cockroach. That doesn’t make getting cockroaches out of your home or office any less urgent. It just means you won’t have red cockroach bite marks on your skin in addition to the constant fear of a small brown oval scuttling across your kitchen floor. We present the sometimes disturbing answers to your questions about nature’s perfect survivor – the cockroach.

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches are omnivores in the truest sense of the word. They eat nearly anything from fruits to rancid meat to book bindings and wallpaper. They are scavengers and opportunists who will raid any food supply the can get their grubby mandibles on.

With so little discretion for what they ingest, cockroaches rarely bother with potentially dangerous food sources such as humans. Why risk biting you when they can simply dive through your garbage? The fact that they can survive a month or more without food also means there’s no need for them to panic if they go a day or two without dinner leftovers.

Why Do Cockroaches Bite?

A cockroach on an apple with a bite out of it.

Most documented cockroach bite cases (and there aren’t that many) involve a large infestation of cockroaches with little to eat. Early accounts of this come from sailors on long sea voyages where they had to wear gloves and protective gear to fend off hungry roaches trying to get at their fingernails and eyelashes.

Other occurrences of cockroaches biting humans usually happen at night while the person is asleep. Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures that prefer quiet. If no other food sources are available, they may scavenge over your hands and face for traces of whatever you last ate. Even in these cases, the roaches are likely more interested in the food particles under your fingernails than your flesh. More terrifying than being bitten is the possibility of waking up to roaches using your face as a drive thru window.

What Does A Cockroach Bite Look Like?

Cockroach bites don’t look much different than other insect bites. They appear as raised red dots along your skin. They are slightly bigger than bed bug bites and may itch in the same way. A tell-tale difference is that bed bug bites appear in clusters; cockroach bites will usually appear independently.

Cockroaches don’t transmit disease through their bites, but you do want to keep them clean. Like any animal or insect bite, if a cockroach bite becomes infected, it could become a health risk.

Do Cockroaches Carry Disease?

Roaches don’t carry specific diseases like a tick might carry Lyme disease. Instead, they are a health risk due to their behavior. Roaches often eat feces or rancid food found in sewers and dumpsters. They pick up harmful bacteria and germs and then spread them wherever they go.

If cockroaches contaminate your food with germs they’ve picked up, it could result in diarrhea, dysentery, cholera and other maladies. All the more incentive to keep a clean kitchen with food safely stored from prying insects.

Do Cockroaches Fly?

A cockroach flying mid air.

The bad news is cockroaches do fly. The good news is that they usually don’t like to. It seems that, despite having large prominent wings, most cockroaches are clumsy fliers and prefer to crawl. Makes sense when you realize that on land cockroaches are quite fast. They can run over 3miles/hour. That’s equivalent to 100 miles/hour for a human when you account for size!

Some species of cockroach are more adept at flying than others. In warmer weather (over 85º) flying cockroaches will use their wings to glide as a means of conserving energy. They might glide down to your countertop if you left a midnight snack out for them.

What Do Baby Cockroaches Look Like?

Some cockroaches can get quite large and you may wonder if you’ve seen a baby or a full-grown adult.

A baby cockroach nymph

Baby cockroaches, also called nymphs, look like their adult counterparts. The three main differences are their:

  • Size (about ¼ inch)
  • Color
  • Lack of wings.

As cockroach nymphs grow, they go through several stages of molting. During each stage, they shed their exoskeleton in favor of a new, larger, one. Babies start out dark in color and become more reddish brown with each molt. They will eventually grow wings by adulthood.

Other Fun (and not so fun) Cockroach Facts

  • Cockroaches can live without their head for up to a week.
  • Female cockroaches lay their eggs in ootheca or egg sacs which can hold around 40 eggs.
  • Cockroaches have been around since the dinosaurs.
  • Cockroaches die on their backs because their thin legs can no longer support their heavy body mass.
  • Some cultures boil cockroaches and use the tea for medicinal purposes.

The Fact is, You Don’t Want Cockroaches in Your Michigan Home

Roaches may be fascinating but that doesn’t mean you want them in your home or business. If you’ve spotted a roach, it usually means there are others nearby. While they may not bite, they can cause health problems. Call or contact Griffin Pest Solutions for fast help when cockroaches show up hungry at your door.

Pest Control in the time of the Coronavirus

Where do rats live; Griffin Pest Solutions

The coronavirus changed just about everything very quickly, and Griffin’s pest control is no exception. In order to keep our employees and clients safe, we’ve had to carefully re-assess how we conduct our treatments. These are the measures we’ve adopted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus while we continue to tackle Michigan’s pest problems:

Coordinating from Home

As of the shelter in place order, all of our in-person team meetings have been indefinitely suspended. All personnel who can work from home are doing so, including the technicians who come to your home. Any technician who comes to your home is responsibly social distancing whenever they aren’t on the job.

When you call or contact Griffin for pest control help, our call center team receives the call from home. We coordinate to ensure we send a single nearby technician in a clean, disinfected truck. After the treatment, you will have the option to sign contracts, pay, and receive follow-up information electronically. We can coordinate the whole process effectively without putting our employees–or you–at risk.

On-site social distancing

Our commitment to responsible social distancing extends to our conduct on the job, as well. All technicians will wear extra protective clothing, including CDC-approved face masks and gloves, at all times. We avoid coming within six feet of you whenever possible. You can even ask us to call when we arrive and conduct our service without meeting you in person.

Whenever a technician has to touch something on your property, we will disinfect it immediately when we’re finished. We’ve also issued all technicians hand sanitizer, which they will apply before, during, and after treatments. Thanks to these precautions and treatment streamlining, we may never need to approach you while conducting service.

Outdoor-only Treatment

Griffin has altered our pest control treatments to emphasize outdoor-only treatment whenever possible. More details for what this means for your particular treatments are available on our service pages. Don’t worry: we’re still administering the same holistic, integrated pest control process we’ve proven so effective. We’re just only administering it to the areas outside your home or business.

For most pests, conducting exterior-only pest control actually won’t affect the efficacy of the treatment in the slightest. We can still find and seal off access points, eliminate attractants, and introduce effective repellents, baits, traps, and other methods of controlling and preventing pest access. If we ever determine that we do need to enter your property in order to provide effective pest control, we’ll explain why and ask permission first. Technicians will take your safety very seriously when we’re inside your home or business.

On-site Disinfection and service

Griffin hasn’t just altered our existing services in response to the coronavirus; we’ve actually developed some new ones, too. Griffin’s new DSV Disinfection and Sanitation service was developed in order to help protect our clients from the coronavirus. During this service, our technicians will use an EPA-approved Disinfect, Sanitize, Virucide solution to effectively kill the COVID-19-causing virus on all at-risk surfaces.

DSV Disinfection and Sanitation works as either a means of treating known infected areas or an effective precautionary measure. Technicians administer the DSV solution very carefully, while maintaining social distancing and wearing appropriate safety gear. Even if you don’t opt for the DSV treatment, Griffin’s technicians will still disinfect areas of your property we come into contact with during other treatments.

 

Griffin Pest Solutions is taking the coronavirus and shelter in place order very seriously. Your health and safety is our top priority. If you have a pest problem, we want you to know you can call on us for help without anxiety–no ifs, ants, or bugs! We’re doing whatever we can to make sure that’s the case.

If you have more questions about our temporary exterior-only approach to pest control, our new DSV service, or how we’re committed to keeping you safe during our pest treatments, please call or contact us right away. We’re always ready to help–and from a safe distance.