The Signs of A Mouse in the House

rodents

With the fall season nearly upon us (fall officially arrives on September 22), rodents, particularly mice, become more active in seeking new sources of food, water and shelter in and around your home. Why is there a rodent “surge” this time of year?

Michigan’s dry, hot summer depleted many naturally occurring food and water sources and this causes rodents to explore their surroundings more aggressively in search of these necessities. And like humans, rodents also look for relief from the elements (i.e. heat) and associate cooler locations with water sources.

The house mouse is a curious creature and will readily explore your home using wall voids, utility pipes and wires, and heating and cooling ductwork to move around in search of their next meal. As a result, wall and cabinet voids near kitchen appliances (i.e. refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves, etc.) and pantries are common nesting sites for mice.

And mice are patient invaders that will wait for just the right opportunity – a door left propped open, being a stowaway in a box of off-season clothes brought in from a storage area, an open bag of pet food or a dime-sized opening in the foundation or door frame – to enter your home.

How do you know if you have a mouse problem? Some common signs of a possible rodent infestation include the following:

  • Rodent droppings (usually black in color and ¼ to ½ inch long) and urine (best detected using a black light)
  • Chewed electrical, computer or cable wiring (a major cause of electrical fires)
  • Unexplained chewing or gnaw marks on carpet, upholstery, drapes, furniture and baseboards
  • Chewed on food product packaging in your pantry

In addition to the kitchen, what areas of your home are most vulnerable to attracting an unwanted rodent infestation? Griffin Pest Solutions identified the following “rodent hot spots” in homes:

  • Attached garages and storage areas above these locations where storage boxes, pet food and other items are found
  • Bathroom cabinet voids
  • Utility rooms and areas beneath, and within base voids of furnaces, washers and clothes dryers
  • In wall, ceiling and floor voids
  • In the insulation of attics and in the contents of the attic (i.e. storage boxes)
  • In basements and crawlspaces near utility openings
  • Firewood stacked next to the house and near a door

If you have a problem with or have questions about stinging insects call or e-mail Griffin Pest Solutions at 888/547-4334 or callcenter@https://www.griffinpest.com/

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

As we head toward Labor Day, the unofficial last hooray of the summer, many Michiganders will be heading outdoors for a picnic, camping trip or one more trip to the pool before school goes back into session and the days become shorter and cooler.  Another group of residents will also be making their presence known – stinging insects.

Stinging insect activity typically rises in late summer and early fall and, according to the National Pest Management Association, more than 500,000 people go to the emergency room each year as a result of allergic reactions to being stung.

Stinging insects including yellowjackets, hornets and wasps call a variety of locations in and around a structure home including trees and bushes, building corners and overhangs, gutters, garbage cans, and under patios and decks.

It is also a known fact that certain species of stinging insects, like the honey and bumblebee, are very beneficial to our environment as they pollinate crops and flowers. But how do you know what stinging insect is a friend and which is a foe?

Proper identification of the specie is the first step to determining if they are a threat or not. Stinging insects that pose a threat to humans include the bald-faced hornet, wasps and yellowjackets.

Yellowjackets are the most troublesome stinging insect pest and their top billing on the annoyance chart comes from their close proximity to where people live and play.

Yellowjackets nest in and around homes because they are attracted to many of the foods we enjoy eating outdoors. Depending on the specie present they will build nests in wall voids, attics, crawlspaces and other enclosed cavities while other species will build nests underground.

Their main food source is other insects but they will aggressively forage for foods that are high in sugar content and that are often found on your picnic table or in garbage cans including beer, soda and fruit.

The pest experts at Griffin Pest Solutions recommend the following tips to prevent stinging insects from bothering your family:

  • Remove food and water sources from your yard; trim bushes and trees where stinging insects like to nest.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home or office, looking closely at the eaves, and seal cracks and crevices to keep stinging insects out.
  • Properly seal all garbage cans – stinging insects are attracted to the sugars and residues in leftover food.
  • Keep food covered when you are putting out your summer spread.
  • When gardening, wear neutral earth tones, nothing bright or floral, and avoid wearing scented creams or perfume.
  • If a bee or wasp lands on you, move calmly. Jerky reactions (of course everyone’s natural instinct) are the most likely to get you stung.
  • At that backyard BBQ, keep an eye on your drink.  Stinging insects are attracted to soft drinks and beer. A mouthful of bee or wasp will put a damper on any party!

If you have a problem with or have questions about stinging insects call or e-mail Griffin Pest Solutions at 888/547-4334 or callcenter@https://www.griffinpest.com/.

Setting the Record Straight on Preventing Mosquito Bites

From the concerns over the threat of mosquito borne diseases at the Summer Olympics in Rio to the first confirmed Zika virus transmissions in the United States, the news about mosquitoes has left Michigan homeowners with questions and concerns.

Griffin Pest Solutions wants to help answer your questions about mosquitoes: the potential threats they pose and what steps you can take to prevent mosquito bites as you enjoy the great outdoors this summer.

Q: Why are mosquitoes considered a dangerous pest?
A: There are more than 60 species of mosquitoes are found across Michigan and many are known to be vectors (carriers or transporters) of important diseases such as West Nile virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and St. Louis Encephalitis.

According to researchers at Michigan State University, neither of the mosquito species that carries the Zika virus is found in Michigan. The Asian Tiger mosquito, the main vector of Zika, will not establish in Michigan until our climate warms dramatically because it cannot tolerate even mild winter conditions. Therefore, the chance of contracting Zika via local transmission by mosquitoes in Michigan is extremely low to non-existent.

However, the Kent County Health Department recently confirmed that mosquitoes caught in traps near Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids tested positive for the West Nile Virus but cautioned that no humans have tested positive for the disease.

Q: Where are mosquitoes found?
A: Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a ½ inch of standing water. This reinforces the importance of regularly checking your property for containers that could be collecting water and providing a place for mosquitoes to breed.

Q: Are mosquitoes more prevalent during a specific season?
A: Mosquitoes are considered one of summer’s most active pests, but they also can thrive in the fall and remain active as long as the temperature is above 60 degrees.

Tips to Help Prevent Mosquito Bites

• Eliminate or reduce mosquito-breeding sites around the home. This includes birdbaths, flowerpots, grill covers, children’s toys and sandboxes, baby pools, unopened swimming pools, tires and other objects where water collects.
• Remove unneeded vegetation or trash from around any source of standing water that cannot be changed, dumped or removed.
• Screen windows, doors, and other openings with fine mesh, sealing around all screen edges and keeping doors and windows shut to prevent entry. Use mesh that is 18×18 strands per inch, or finer.
• Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
• When outdoors, wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes.
• Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus on exposed skin whenever outdoors.

If you have a problem with or have questions about mosquitoes call or e-mail Griffin Pest Solutions at 888/547-4334 or callcenter@https://www.griffinpest.com/.

Protecting Your Pet From Fleas and Ticks

fleas

With summer in full swing, everyone wants to spend as much time outdoors as they can and that includes family pets. However, there are threats to pets lurking in the great outdoors that Michigan homeowners need to be aware of.

Like people, pets are also at risk for the serious health complications that can arise from tick and flea bites, and Griffin Pest Solutions reminds pet owners to take the necessary precautions to protect Fido and Tinkerbell this summer.

Fleas are a common pet pest that can cause serious health complications. The itchy red bumps left by fleas can lead to excessive scratching, anemia, dermatitis and tapeworms. Fleas can be found indoors and outdoors and frequent areas where pets and other animals frequent in search of their next meal. Like most insect pests they require moisture to survive and prefer humid climates outdoors.

Once inside a home, fleas can become a problem and huge nuisance since they easily reproduce in bedding, carpets or furniture. And even though fleas are wingless they are prodigious jumpers and have been known to jump up to 6 inches. Fleas will jump on people’s shoes and clothing looking for a new food source if their preferred feeding source can’t be easily located.

Ticks are closely related to insects and spiders, and there are over 20 known tick species in Michigan (the American Dog Tick is the most commonly encountered tick in Michigan). In most cases, ticks feed on wildlife but pets (and people) can be bitten when they venture into popular tick areas including grassy shorelines, wooded areas, or fields near wooded areas. Ticks are rarely encountered indoors unless brought inside on the clothing of people or on the body of a pet.

Pets sickened with Lyme disease may suffer from fever, decreased appetite, painful joints, limping and lethargy, and in severe cases, kidney disease can also occur.

Good landscape management practices by homeowners including clearing leaf litter, keeping grass cut or creating wood chip/stone barriers between lawns and adjacent woodlands that are inhabited by wildlife may prove helpful in keeping ticks in check.

Griffin Pest Solutions recommends homeowners follow these tips to protect their pets from ticks and fleas this summer:

 Check pets frequently for ticks and fleas – be aware of excessive scratching and licking.

 Avoid walking dogs in tall grass, where fleas and ticks often hide.

 Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.

 Frequently wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys.

 Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture frequently.

 For on-animal prevention and treatment options, please consult with your veterinarian.

If you have a problem with or have questions about fleas and ticks call or e-mail Griffin Pest Solutions at 888/547-4334 or callcenter@https://www.griffinpest.com/.

Celebrate a Pest-Free Fourth of July

crawling insects

Can your Fourth of July be Pest-Free?  Your Fourth of July agenda usually includes picnics, cookouts, fireworks and good times with family and friends. It can also include an “explosion” of unwanted pests that want to spoil your good times.

When people gather for their holiday celebrations it is given there will be abundance of food and beverages available. However, your guests aren’t the only ones angling to fill up their plates! Pests are drawn to the sweet, sugary desserts, fruit and soft drinks that are a staple of holiday functions, as well as the greasy leftovers that can be found on grills, serving trays and garbage cans filled with post-party trash.

Griffin Pest Solutions wants you, your family and friends to have a safe, enjoyable Fourth of July and offers the following tips to keep annoying pests from spoiling your holiday fun.

  • Flies – Flies are a common interloper to almost any backyard cookout or picnic. Keep these filthy insects from spoiling your picnic by covering your food with foil or tight sealing lids or set up the buffet inside a screened in porch or tent. Also, remember to clean up food and beverage spills since they are a major attractant to flies.
  • Ants – Like flies, ants are drawn to food, and food spills and leftovers. Ants thrive on sweet, sugary substances like spilled soft drinks. Cleaning up spilled food and drinks, and rinsing out cans and bottles before they go into the recycle bin or garbage can will deny ants their sought after prize.
  • Stinging Insects – Nothing can ruin a party like getting stung by a bee or yellow jacket. Griffin Pest Solutions recommends homeowners inspect their property before the party for any signs of nests in trees or under awnings and the eaves of your home. Also, cover food and beverage cans/bottled since many stinging insects are attracted to sugary substances and no one wants to swallow a bee that flew into your beverage!
  • Mosquitoes – These nuisance pests are regular holiday party crashers and eliminating standing water and keeping vegetation trimmed in your yard are ways to prevent mosquitoes from nesting. Using insect repellent or yard sprays containing DEET or eucalyptus oil, lighting citronella candles or turning on a ceiling or box fan to literally blow mosquitoes away from your deck or patio (mosquitoes are not good flyers) are ways to toss these uninvited guests out.

If you have a problem with or questions about spring pests call or e-mail Griffin Pest Solutions at 888/547-4334 or callcenter@https://www.griffinpest.com/

Have a happy and safe, pest-free, Fourth of July!

April is National Pest Management Month

pest identification

Celebrate National Pest Management Month With Eight Great Pest Prevention Tips for Your Home

April is National Pest Management Month and Griffin Pest Solutions is joining fellow pest management professionals across the country in celebrating the valuable role the industry plays in protecting the public’s health, food supply and property from pests.

The dangers and annoyances pests bring to our everyday lives cannot be easily dismissed. The list of potential threats pest pose to property, food and people is very real. For example, did you know?

 Rodents can spoil food with their droppings and urine, and their chewing on electrical wires is a leading cause of house fires.
 Cockroaches contribute to asthma and allergies in children and adults.
 Bed bugs invade hotel rooms, dormitories, office buildings, apartment building and homes.
 Termites literally eat the wood – as much as a cup every two hours – in a structure without you ever hearing or seeing them.

That is why Griffin Pest Solutions’ highly-trained technicians work each and every day to help protect both our commercial and residential customers from these sometimes harmful but always annoying pests.

Spring marks a particularly busy time as pests emerge, looking for sources of food, water and shelter.  And, sometimes the simplest home improvements can be all that’s needed to help ward off infestations.  To assist homeowners in pest-proofing their home this spring, Griffin Pest Solutions offers the following

Tips:

1. Eliminate sources of standing water around the house, including birdbaths and in clogged gutters to help reduce biting mosquito populations.

2. Seal any cracks on the outside of the home with a silicone-based caulk, including entry points for utilities and pipes.

3. Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows.

4. Keep tree branches and shrubbery well-trimmed and away from the house. Overhanging branches can act as highways into the home.

5. Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles.

6. Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.

7. Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.

8. Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.

If you have a problem with or questions about household pests call or e-mail Griffin Pest Solutions at 888/547-4334 or callcenter@https://www.griffinpest.com/.

For more information on National Pest Management Month, visit http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/press-releases/april-designated-as-national-pest-management-month/