Ants Awareness – Annoying Trail Blazers

Ants top the chart when it comes to being the number one annoying nuisance pest in Michigan and across the entire country for that matter. According to a survey from the National Pest Management Association, more than half of consumers list ants as their top pest concern.

Ants are a persistent bunch and are aggressive foragers when in pursuit of food and water. They typically find their sustenance “oasis” on the exterior of your home along sidewalks, under stones and in landscape beds. However, if the great outdoors can’t offer them what they want ants will blaze a trail for your front, back or side door.

Ant Awareness – which ones are a problem?

The most commonly encountered ant species in Michigan and the ones Griffin Pest Solutions receives the most calls on are the carpenter and pavement ant. Michiganders may also encounter the acrobat, thief, pavement, and odorous house ant trying to set up shop in their yard or home.

While all the above mentioned ants species are annoying with a capitol “A”, the carpenter ant presents a threat to the structural integrity of your home. Carpenter ants excavate wood – they do not eat it – in order to build their nests; this “hollowing” can compromise the structural soundness of the wood.

Where do you find most ants?

On the exterior of your home carpenter ants – which are 1/8 to ½ inch long and black in color – nest in hollow trees and stumps. Indoors you can find them setting up shop in enclosed spaces that are consistently damp or wet.

Carpenter ants are attracted to excessive moisture conditions around windows, doors, showers, bathtubs, dishwashers, leaky pipes and drains, and under leaky roof shingles or roof vents. They have also been found in dry areas such as hollow-core doors and false beams, and foam insulation.

The pavement and other ants we mentioned earlier are typically found in kitchens, pantries, closets and bathrooms. This reinforces the fact that pests, ants included, are attracted to easy access to food and water sources. On the outside these ants are commonly found on driveways, patios, sidewalks along with flower and shrub beds.

What can you do about these ants?

Although ants can be difficult to control once they have entered a home, the following preventative measures will help you keep ants from bugging you:

• Wipe up crumbs and spills immediately
• Store garbage in sealed containers and remove from the home frequently
• Keep food packages closed or sealed and store products in air-tight containers
• Avoid leaving food on counters or pet food bowls on the floor for long periods of time
• Repair holes or gaps in window and door screens
• Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes
• Store firewood away from the house
• Keep tree branches and shrubbery well-trimmed and away from the house
• Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows
• Visit for additional ant awareness tips and info

Now that you’ve got “ant awareness”, you’re next step is “ant protection”.  If you have questions or concerns about ants in and around your home, call or e-mail Griffin Pest Solutions at 888-547-4334 or callcenter@ for more information. You can also get an instant, no obligation estimate online at www.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite when college kids’ return

As parents and siblings look forward to returning college kids across the country, they need to do a little preventive maintenance that wasn’t so common just a few years ago.

A few extra steps to prevent a bed bug infestation will save you time, money, and trauma. College students tend to live a cluttered, communal life-style, giving bed bugs the upper-hand in hiding places and the ability to transfer and spread.
Don’t rely on your students to tell you if they have bed bugs or not, these pests can hide in the bindings of a borrowed text book, a cd-case, in objects that don’t even belong to your student. Just follow these simple tips to prevent bed bugs from taking up residence with your family this summer.

Getting ready for Homecoming
Put all “soft” materials in plastic garbage bags and close/secure tightly. – clothes, bedding, stuffed animals, pillows, anything made of cloth.
Seal backpack in plastic garbage bag. If he/she wants to use items on the way have them take out and wash thoroughly, but keep the backpack in the sealed garbage bag.
Discard used vacuum cleaner bags in an outside dumpster before putting it in any vehicle for transportation.
Put all small items like books, cds, game players, papers, and files in plastic garbage bags and close/secure tightly.

Upon Arrival
Do not bring items into the house all at once! In an orderly fashion –
Open the “soft” plastic garbage bags one at a time and launder, it is the dryer – not the washing – that will kill the insect and eggs – so you must put the contents in the dryer for 30 minutes at the highest setting for the fabric. Do not skip this step.
Inspect bags with items that can’t be easily laundered. You can place them in freezers for at least 5 days – books, papers, cds. Remember to leave them inside the bags.
Electronics are trickier, you need to inspect them carefully before bringing them inside, as bed bugs are small enough to crawl inside many devices. Once inspected, you should wipe them down. If you find they are infested, do not bring them inside. Return them to a sealed bag and contact a professional to see about treatment options.
Continue Inspecting for Several Weeks
Unfortunately, these insects can be elusive and they’re eggs are almost invisible.
Look for small darkish brown/red spots on the edges of bedding, live bugs, or empty bug shells. Some people, though not all, will also begin to show reaction to bites.
Don’t panic, if you end up with bed bugs, and the reality is that bed bugs are going to be a part of our life for a long time to come, there’s help available. Call 888-547-4334, click, or live chat with one of our agents right now. We’re here to help.

Cockroaches cause allergies

In a survey of allergists from across the United, 97% of respondents said they believe a pest-free* home is an important step in preventing asthma and allergy symptoms.

The survey, conducted jointly by the National Pest Management Association and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, revealed that aside from dust mites, cockroaches are the most problematic household pest for patients suffering from asthma or allergies. Rounding out the top three allergy-inflaming pests are rodents and stinging insects.

First reported back in the 1940s, cockroach allergies are most common urban areas. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates 23% to 60% of urban residents with asthma are sensitive to the cockroach allergen.

Cockroaches are one of the oldest and most adaptable pests Griffin Pest Services is called up to eliminate from homes. In Michigan customers are likely to encounter one of five species – German, Oriental, American, Brown-banded and Wood cockroach.

These disease carrying pests can be found both inside (German, Brown-banded) and outside (American, Oriental, Wood) structures and thrive when they have access to food, water and a dark, out-of-the-way harborage location.

A cockroach’s food tastes can be described accurately in one word – all-encompassing. Cockroaches eat just about anything including decaying matter such as food, garbage, feces and the like. They also enjoy strength in numbers; did you know a female German cockroach can produce over 30,000 little cockroaches in one year.

The allergens these filthy pests leave behind in homes linger in the air or settle in house dust. They become airborne when the air is stirred up by movement like children playing or running through the house.

Diagnosing to determine if a person with persistent asthma is allergic to cockroach can only be made by a skin test. A doctor will scratch or prick the skin with cockroach extract and if redness, an itchy rash or swelling appear then it is likely the person is allergic to cockroaches.

Griffin Pest Solutions has years of experience effectively eliminating cockroaches from homes and businesses. Based on our work in the trenches, we offer you the following Eight Simple Steps to Keeping Cockroaches out of your kitchen cupboards, laundry room, basement or pantry:

1. Cockroaches can sneak in with paper products, packaging and used appliances. Inspect bags or boxes of groceries brought into the home; remove clutter to make cleaning easier and to get rid of hiding places for cockroaches.
2. Regularly vacuum or sweep areas that might attract cockroaches.
3. Seal cracks and openings around or inside cabinets, caulk cracks along floors, add screens to floor drains, and paint cracks in cabinets to seal them.
4. Store food in sealed containers. Never leave food, crumbs or trash uncovered anywhere.
5. Clean up any food debris or spills right away; do not leave uneaten pet food to sit out overnight.
6. Dry up wet areas and repair leaky faucets or drains that create moisture.
7. Use trash cans with tight fitting lids. Avoid placing trash under the sink. Empty trash cans often. Put garbage in closed plastic bags.
8. If you live in an apartment or condominium, ask your neighbors to do what you are doing to their living areas to help keep cockroaches out.
If you have questions or concerns about pest allergens in your home and Griffin’s new Asthma and Allergy service, call or e-mail Griffin Pest Solutions at 888/547-4334 or callcenter@ for more information and a free estimate.

Michigan’s Beneficial Bat Population Threatened By Disease

Bat population under threat:

Bats are often a misunderstood and unappreciated animal. Their prowess at feeding on night flying insects – particularly mosquitoes – is a great benefit to Michigan homeowners looking to keep their backyards free of pesky mosquitoes and other pests including beetles, wasps and moths.

Michigan’s bat population, however, is being threatened by a disease that could cause widespread death among the state’s most commonly found specie – the little brown bat.

First identified in New York State in 2006, white-nose syndrome impacts bats while they hibernate. The condition causes skin lesions to develop that lead bats to use vital fat reserves during the winter thus draining them of these required resources.

The disease causes bats to wake up every three or four days versus the normal 10 to 20 day interval, and arise hungry and dehydrated at a time when there is little food to consume. This causes damage to the bat’s connective tissues, muscles and skin, and leads to their demise.

White-nose syndrome has been identified in 27 states – including neighboring Minnesota – and several Canadian provinces, and has led to significant deaths among bat populations. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the disease has killed 5.7 million bats in the U.S. and Canada.

Researchers at Eastern Michigan University recently estimated that some 300,000 bats hibernate underground in caves and mines within the state – prime breeding grounds for this cold-loving fungus.

What is the potential impact of white-nose syndrome on Michigan homeowners and farmers? While the disease is not threatening to humans, the end-result is that a naturally occurring and highly effective pest management process is being placed at risk of being greatly diminished.

Without a healthy bat population, crops are placed at risk from invasive insects such as the gypsy moth and backyard populaces of mosquitoes can roam unabated. And when you consider bats are capable of consuming as many as 600 mosquitoes in one hour, their absence could be felt on decks and patios from Kalamazoo to Saginaw.

Aside from the annoying itch their bites cause, mosquitoes can spread dangerous diseases including West Nile virus, encephalitis, dengue fever and other mosquito-borne diseases. In 2013, Michigan had 36 reported cases of West Nile virus and two deaths.

With no known effective treatment for white-nose syndrome, state wildlife officials are left to block off caves and abandoned mines to prevent the disease from spreading.

What can homeowners and farmers do to encourage a viable bat presence in their backyards and fields? One solution is to provide bats with a suitable home to nest in – a home you won’t find listed in the real estate section of the paper but one you can build in your workshop.

Griffin Pest Solutions consulted with the experts at This Old House for a step-by-step guide to building the perfect bat house to place on the edges of your property and help keep mosquito and other destructive pests in check.

Bats are very particular about where they’ll live, and their houses have to be constructed in a specific way that encourages them to nest.

The inside of this house is painted black to keep it dark and warm, and the outside is a color that makes it blend in with the surroundings. The space where they go inside the house and roost is only about ¾ inch thick (with a small gap for air circulation). Still, dozens of bats will be able to live in this box and raise their pups.

To view the complete instructions for the 11-step plan to building a bat house, visit the This Old House website at,,20165965,00.html. The following is a quick overview of the tools and materials needed, and the steps involved.

Tools Needed

• Measuring tape
• Straight edge
• Combination square
• Spring clamps
• Safety glasses
• Jigsaw
• French curve and circle templates
• Drill with ¼ inch drill bit
• Caulking gun and caulk
• Paint brush and paint

Materials List

• 2’ x 4’ section of ½-inch exterior-grade plywood
• One 6’ 1 x 2
• ½-inch deer netting
• Exterior latex paint (black and another dark color)
• Low-VOC adhesive caulk
• 1-inch deck screws
• ⅜-inch staples
• 3½-inch deck screws

The 11 Steps to Building A Bat House

Step 1 – Measure and cut plywood
Step 2 – Draw the bat design
Step 3 – Drill holes for the Jigsaw
Step 4 – Cut Out the Bat
Step 5 – Making the Sides
Step 6 – Attach the Sides
Step 7 – Paint the Parts
Step 8 – Attach the Netting
Step 9 – Attach the Front Piece
Step 10 – Put on the Bat Cutout
Step 11 – Hang it Up

Why we’re singing a different tune with some birds


In recent years, there have been a number of bird species, native to the European continent that have begun to flock towards North America. Over 200 native European birds have now been found in North America. The European Starling is one among many of these species. The European Starling is classified under the myna and starling family (Sturnidae). A full grown Starling can measure as long as eight or nine inches, with a total wing span anywhere between 12 and 16 inches. The appearance of the European Starling is subject to change, based on whether it is breeding season or not. One of the most fascinating traits of the European Starling is its uncanny ability to mimic sounds. It has even been known to successfully imitate human sounds.

The Starling is typically native to the European continent, but has also been found nesting in parts of Northwest Asia, and even North Africa, during winter season. Starlings are highly adaptable birds and have been known to thrive in a variety of habitats. However, they are most commonly observed in agricultural regions, large grassland territories and even urban spaces.


One of the key traits of Starlings is that they often migrate and travel in giant flocks. As a result, they consume large quantities of plant matter and small insects like invertebrates in the region where they flock. They are known to travel long distances in such large flocks between their nesting sites and feeding areas. As a consequence of this, they are widely acknowledged as the cause for the spread of invasive plants through massive seed dispersal. Since Starlings travel in large flocks, they have also been known to completely displace other birds in the area, forcing such species to evacuate their nests and native areas. They are generally considered to be extremely aggressive and competitive, attacking birds and nests in order to destroy eggs and lay claim to nesting areas.

Significance to Humans and Pets


The European Starling species is one of the few bird species that are known to have caused significant human fatalities. The year of 1960 saw a large group of Starlings collide with an aircraft causing its engine to malfunction, and the plane to eventually crash. Since the 1960, there have been a number of aviation incidents caused by the massive migration of Starlings. BSC- USA reports indicate that Starlings have caused damages in excess of $6 million, as well as 219 human fatalities since the year 1988. Starlings pose a serious problem to aviation authorities, forcing a number of flights to be abandoned or canceled.

Urban Spaces
Since Starlings travel in such huge numbers, when they invade human spaces they can cause severe inconvenience to homeowners and residents. They tend to nest in dark, enclosed spaces like attics. The droppings of these birds is corrosive in nature, and has been known to cause significant damage to buildings and homes, in the same way that termites do.


Also, when Starlings travel to agricultural regions, they are known to completely destroy crops and food such as grapes. The presence of Starlings poses a clear and present threat to vineyards and small farms. Many farmers and wine-makers make a living of the crops and grapes they grow, and Starling invasions significantly affect their livelihoods, as well as the food economy.

Starlings also carry dangerous viruses and bacteria, like Salmonella. As a result, the waste material they leave behind when they evacuate agricultural regions can have huge health-related effects. They have been known to contaminate water supply for livestock, as well as ruin soil fertility.

Schools new headlice policy isn’t what you remember from your dear old golden school days

girl getting head lice inspectionWhy are head lice treated the way they are in schools?

The typical way to treat a child that is suffering from head lice was to immediately diagnose the problem and send the child back home to be treated by the parents and medical specialists. The problem is very easily treatable and there are a number of short procedures, gels and medications that can be used to rid individuals of the condition.

However, the general conception surrounding head lice can be extremely detrimental to the mental health of schoolchildren suffering from the condition. Head lice are considered to be ‘disgusting’ and schoolchildren and parents alike, automatically associate the condition with bad hygiene. However, head lice can be easily transferred from simple household items, and do not in any way display the level of hygiene an individual keeps.

The truth is that having head lice is an extremely common condition. Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that approximately 6 to 12 million schoolchildren between the ages of 3 and 11 suffer from the condition every year. Despite the condition being unpleasant, it is widely understood that head lice do not spread any other disease, posing minimal health concerns.

The reason why head lice have been treated the way they were in schools is because of how easily transferable they are. While it is true that they do not pose a health hazard, schools are ideal places for head lice to travel from scalp to scalp. Schoolchildren often engage in physical activity, share items and generally live in proximity to each other. This makes it increasingly difficult for school authorities to contain a head lice condition when it is diagnosed.

The general policy for schoolchildren suffering from head lice was that they would be sent home until the condition had been treated. However, recently this policy has been changed in response to the fact that many schoolchildren with the condition suffer psychologically from this sort of quarantining.

Why has the policy changed?

The previous policy of ostracizing schoolchildren suffering from head lice has been changed because many schools have realized that children may be suffering from the condition long before it is actually brought to light. Schoolchildren may be suffering from the condition for periods of weeks and months before nurses actually diagnose the condition. This means that by the time authorities have discovered the condition, classmates of the child would have already been exposed themselves.

What are Lice?

Louse is a term used to categorize over 3000 species of tiny insects that typically infect the human scalp when exposed to certain conditions. Lice act on the human scalp by settling and eating away at human skin. Some species of lice also feed on blood. While lice are most commonly observed settling on animals, a special species of lice known as head lice is known to affect only humans. Head lice are dangerous in that they thrive by sucking up blood through the host’s scalp. Head lice multiply by laying tiny eggs at the bottom of a strand of hair known as nits. The onset of head lice is typically known as pediculosis capitis.

While there is generally a taboo around head lice created by schoolchildren and parents, it is important to understand that it is one of the most common diseases that affect children, second only to the common cold. There is a general misconception that having head lice is directly associated with poor hygiene, however, this is not the case. There are a number of ways through which pediculosis capitis can be contracted. Let us take a closer look at the causes of head lice.

What causes head lice?

Perhaps, the most important feature of head lice is the fact that they are wingless insects. This means that they cannot travel from the scalp of one person to another by flying or jumping. There has to be contact between the head of an individual suffering from head lice and another. Head to head contact is one of the most common ways through which head lice are transferred from one person to the next. However, this is not the only way for head lice to travel from person to person.

While these insects need to survive by sucking blood through a human’s scalp, they can live long enough without doing so on any household items. Sharing these items is also a common way to contract a head lice condition. Many schoolchildren have sleepovers during the weekends, where they tend to share the same bed. Head lice can be present on bedding like pillows and bed linen and can travel to different hosts when they come into contact with such items.

Brushes are another household item that is commonly shared between individuals. An individual suffering from head lice will inevitably transfer these insects from their scalps to their brushes over time. When hairbrushes are borrowed, this creates the perfect opportunity for head lice to find new hosts.

Another common way for head lice to infect an individual is through clothing. Schoolchildren often share clothing, increasing the risk of transferring head lice from one host to another. Head lice typically gather on the shoulders or collars of shirts and latch on to human hair when these items of clothing come into contact with the head. Other items that can gather head lice are towels, headphones, hats, hair bands and upholstery on furniture.

Are head lice dangerous?

Extensive research has been undertaken into the dangers of having head lice, and is typically understood that, while the condition is one that can spread extremely quickly, head lice themselves do not pose much of a health threat. The most common symptoms associated with head lice infestation is that of itching and scratching. This is a common symptom that comes about through the host’s allergic reaction to the saliva of head lice that is secreted when they begin sucking blood from the scalp.

Apart from the itching, there is a likelihood of redness and some swelling developing on the scalp. When head lice lay eggs, these eggs are white and are often mistaken for dandruff. However, dandruff does not attach itself to the base of hair strands. A common way to determine if an individual is suffering from nits is to run a brush through the affected area and see if the white particles are moved easily.