Why Are There Crawling Insects in My House?

Unless uninvited guests arrive carrying a free cake or a large check, you’re probably not a fan. When uninvited visitors have six or more legs and creep across your floor, they’re even less welcome. Nobody wants crawling insects to infest their homes, but how do you keep them out? What causes them in the first place? Why won’t they leave you alone?

First: you keep them from happening by taking preventative measures. Second: the things that cause them are usually easily fixed. Third: they won’t leave you alone because there’s something at your home drawing them in. Today we’ll cover the four most common crawling insect invaders people face. We’ll also arm you with the easy fixes and preventative measures you can take to keep them away.

Ants 

Ants are one of the most commonly-faced crawling pest problems for both home and business owners. There are over seven hundred different known species in the United States. Of those, there are a few ant varieties that are best known for infesting homes. Those include carpenter ants, pavement ants, odorous house ants, and field ants. Ants typically live in large colonies that work together to build and maintain their nests.

How can I keep ants out of my home?

  • Practice regular perimeter maintenance. Ants like to sneak in through small breaches or holes in your home’s perimeter. Make sure to regularly give your home visual inspections and seal any gaps, cracks, tears, or holes you find as you go. 
  • Keep a watch out for scouts. Single ants are scouts. They come up from their nests to look for food, water, or shelter. Get rid of any solo ants you find so they’re unable to share that information with the rest of their colony.

Centipedes

Despite their name’s disturbing implication that centipedes have one hundred legs, the crawling pests usually don’t. Instead, they have one pair of legs per body segment and can have, on average, between fifteen and seventy total pairs. There are many varieties but they all have flat, elongated bodies. They can measure from one-sixth of an inch to six and a half inches in length. Coloring varies but usually stays between shades of brown, red, and orange.

How can I keep centipedes out of my home?

  • Eliminate their food sources. Centipedes mainly consume other insects. If you’re practicing the rest of the prevention tips listed in this post to keep other pests away, you’re doing well. 
  • Reduce and remove clutter. A tidy home is a home that doesn’t have places for insects to hide. That includes but isn’t limited to centipedes.

Cockroaches 

Everybody knows about roaches. They’re one of the hardiest creatures on the planet, able to survive in temperatures at both spectrum extremes. The most common pest cockroaches are the German cockroach and the American cockroach. German cockroaches are brownish-black, measuring between ½ and ⅝ inches. American roaches are darker in color and large, measuring between one and two inches. They’re both active throughout the year, are nocturnal, and are drawn to decaying organic matter.

How can I keep roaches out of my home?

  • Wipe up crumbs and spills as soon as you make them. Cockroaches love organic matter. They especially love decaying organic matter. Don’t leave it out for them to find. Wipe up spills and crumbs as soon as they happen and don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. 
  • Pay special attention to cleanliness. This tip is mentioned more than once, but that’s because it’s important. Insects like cockroaches thrive in unkempt spaces. Take the garbage out regularly, remove grease from the stovetop, and keep your floors clean. These small efforts will go a long way toward preventing roach infestations.

Earwigs

Let’s start out by dispelling a popular earwig myth. No, they won’t actually crawl into your ear while you’re asleep and eat your brain. They won’t even crawl into your ear and take a nap, leaving your brain alone. They won’t go inside your head. What they will do, however, is infest your home. Earwigs are typically a quarter-inch to one inch in length with elongated, flat bodies. Their color can vary between different shades of tan, brown, and red. Their most distinctive physical characteristic are the pincers located on the back of their abdomens.

How can I keep earwigs out of my home?

  • Eliminate the places they like to hide. Earwigs love dead and distressed outdoor spaces. They hide in these spaces and use them as jumping off points for interior infestations. Take away their hiding spots by removing leaf piles, overgrown vegetation, and untended woodpiles. 
  • Make sure your gutters are working properly. Moisture build-up from gutters that are clogged pointing in the wrong direction will draw in earwigs. 
  • Use dehumidifiers. Once more with feeling: earwigs love moisture. Make sure you’re policing the moisture in your home and removing any standing water as you notice it.

If your question is, “Why are there crawling insects in my house?,” the answer is, “Because you’re not keeping them out.” Luckily, with the help of this blog post and other useful tips and tricks, you’ll be able to turn things around. For the rest, you can call the team at Griffin Pest Solutions. We’ll help keep your home safe, secure, and crawling pest free.

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What’s That Roach? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Roach close-up

Did you know that there are four different species of cockroach common in Michigan? Each of these four cockroaches look and act just a little differently. They’re active at slightly different times, want slightly different things, and live in slightly different places. Despite their differences, however, one thing they all have in common is being a pain for homeowners.

We know what you’re thinking: who cares? A roach is a roach, right? No matter what species it is, it’s not like you’ll want a cockroach in your home! While you’re certainly right about that, there’s still a good reason to be able to tell different roaches apart. If you know which roach you have, you’ll have a better idea on how to get rid of them. We want to help, which is why we put together this quick reference for which kind of roach you might have. Next time you see a gross bug creeping around, take a look at it and consult this infographic:

So: once you’ve identified your roach, what’s your next step? First, you can take some steps to prevent that specific roach. Once you know what it is, you’ll know what it wants and probably how it got in. Plug up their access point and deprive them of their needs, and you’ll go a long way toward solving your problem.

You could also always tell the experts at Griffin about which roach pests are plaguing you. Once we know which roach you have, then we’ll know exactly how to go about taking care of it. You’ll have helped us do our job, and we’ll be able to protect you all the more effectively! Don’t let your roach problem trouble you anymore. Instead, just give us a call today. No matter which roach you have, we’ll make sure they’re gone and can’t get in again.

Pests to Watch Out for When Traveling

Bed bugs are pests that travel

When you’re planning a vacation, we’re guessing pest control is one of the further things from your mind. If anything, you probably think about things you can do to protect your home while you’re away. You certainly don’t think about whether pest infestations could happen to you while you’re traveling. That doesn’t even sound like it makes sense. How can you have a pest infestation if pests don’t have anywhere to infest?

Unfortunately, however, pest infestations can happen to you, even while you’re on vacation. Even worse, these pest infestations never stay a vacation problem. Instead, you’ll probably bring them home with you like a bad souvenir. In fact, some pests spread primarily via travelers. Here are four pests you need to look out for while traveling, and how to keep them from following you back home.

Bed bugs

The number one way bed bugs move into new homes is after travelers inadvertently transport them there. Bed bugs hitch rides with travelers by hiding in suitcases, luggage bags, clothing, purses and more. After sneaking inside these hiding places, the bugs remain perfectly still for extended periods of time. The bed bugs are so small, hidden, and still that travelers don’t often notice them. After taking their bags back home, the bed bugs emerge and seek more permanent residence.

Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs don’t exclusively infest “dirty” places. Unfortunately, they’re quite capable of living anywhere from a relative’s house to a car to a five star hotel. Bed bugs don’t “mean” to hitchhike with travelers; they’re simply drawn to dark, warm, hidden places. When you travel, you should always keep a close eye on all the bags you’re carrying with you. Keep them elevated, closed, and sealed whenever you aren’t using them. When you get home, consider throwing your traveling items into the dryer for 20 minutes at a high temperature.

Despite being larger and easier to spot than bed bugs, cockroaches often end up hitchhiking in very similar ways

Cockroaches

Despite being larger and easier to spot than bed bugs, cockroaches often end up hitchhiking in very similar ways. Cockroaches are naturally attracted to dark, warm, moist, and secluded areas. They’ll also sneak into food boxes or even toiletries. Like bed bugs, they will stay perfectly still after they find a good hiding place. Roaches can survive for an extended period of time without food or water. They’re also great climbers and can cling to surprisingly sheer surfaces.

Roaches can work their way into nearly any open container you leave out for them. Food packages, suitcases, clothing bags, purses, and even computer bags are all fair game. A roach can survive a surprisingly long trip until you take it back home. To avoid this, keep all travel bags closed, sealed, and elevated whenever you’re not using them. Don’t transport food with you–especially not without a proper container. If you keep your bags locked down, roaches won’t be able to come home with you.

Lice

Lice get into people’s hair after climbing into it from clothing items like hats, scarves, coats, and sweaters. They use their hook-like feet to latch onto hidden parts of clothing or other pieces of fabric until they have an opportunity to transfer. Unlike roaches or bed bugs, lices usually travel along with travelers directly on travelers. Lice can’t survive without a human host, and they can’t live for long on fabric. If you find lice near you, they’re feeding on someone close by.

Before lice climb onto you, they generally hide on clothing items where they can transfer to hosts. Hats, scarves, hoodies, and any other clothing that goes on your head is particularly vulnerable. Try to be particularly cautious about what you wear when you’re traveling. Refrain from sharing clothing items or trying on pieces of clothing you didn’t bring with you. Keep all of your clothing in sealed, closed bags when you’re not wearing it.

Ants very frequently end up where they live after hitching a ride on unsuspecting traveler’s food

Ants

It seems like ants have a nearly-supernatural ability to find food. You leave out any food for any period of time and it seems like ants are all over it. Unfortunately, this counts double when traveling. Ants very frequently end up where they live after hitching a ride on unsuspecting traveler’s food. Like bed bugs, ants weren’t even trying to hitch a ride. They just wanted the food you happened to be carrying with you!

No matter where you travel, you should assume ants are living–and looking for food–nearby! If you leave out food, ants will feed on it. When you put that food away, you may end up transporting them with you. Keep a close eye on all the food you bring with you while traveling. Keep it in sealed, airtight bags whenever you’re not eating it. Clean up crumbs and other food debris whenever you make it. Throw out food wrappers and other garbage as soon as you’re finished with them.

Traveling makes everyone a little more vulnerable to pests, just like it makes everyone more likely to catch a cold. Just like you can bolster your immune system, however, you can take precautions to prevent pests from traveling with you. Practice the pest control tips we’ve shared while traveling, and you can have a pest-free vacation.

If you end up with a pest infestation after your vacation–or any other time for that matter–call Griffin any time. We’ll figure out where your pests came from, wipe them out, and make sure they can’t bother you again. Have a great trip, and stay safe!  

What are the Cockroaches in my House?

Cockroache in the house

There are five species of cockroach in Michigan. Four of those species frequently infest Michigan homes and businesses. Despite their obvious similarities, there are distinct differences between each species of common Michigan roach. They look different, behave differently, and even eat different things. Most importantly, they come into your home in different ways.

Fighting roach infestations effectively means getting to know your enemy. Next time you have a roach problem, try to figure out which roach is troubling you, specifically. Once you know what you’re up against, you’ll know what your next move should be. Here are the four roaches you may have to deal with in Michigan, and what to do about them.

German cockroaches

what is a german cockroach

German cockroaches are the smallest, most common, and most important cockroaches in Michigan. They only measure around ½ an inch long, though long antennae may make them look larger. German cockroaches are tan or brown, except for two darker stripes running down their pronotal shields (backs). German roaches are considered the worst roach pest in Michigan for several reasons. They’re even more apt to attempting to get indoors than other roaches, and they also spread various diseases.

German cockroaches are common throughout Michigan, from Marquette to Detroit. They’re particularly common in urban and suburban areas, where they can access food easily. German roaches are particularly attracted to moist, warm environments. Like other roaches, German cockroaches are opportunistic foragers who feed on all kinds of detritus. Organizing and cleaning roach-vulnerable areas is the best way to keep German cockroaches away. Vacuum and clean your basement once a week, and make sure food doesn’t build up on eating surfaces.

American cockroaches

American cockroaches are the biggest cockroach found in Michigan

American cockroaches are the biggest cockroach found in Michigan. They measure around 1 ½ to 2 inches long, and they have slightly broader bodies than other roaches. Both male and female American roaches have prominent wings, but they don’t use them very often. Compared to German roaches, American roaches are more reddish-brown or than tan or dark and wider in shape. Like German roaches, American roaches may look larger than they are because of their long antennae.

American cockroaches are also frequently encountered throughout Michigan. They’re most common around food storage, making them a constant pest for restaurants, grocery stores, and other food-prepping businesses. American roaches often end up in homes after people inadvertently transport them inside on food boxes. Depriving these roaches of food sources is the best way to get them out of your home. Keep your pantry clean and crumb free, wipe up after meals, and keep food in airtight plastic containers.

Oriental cockroaches

Oriental cockroaches are often called “water bugs” because they love dark, damp, and cool areas near water sources

Oriental cockroaches are often called “water bugs” because they love dark, damp, and cool areas near water sources. These roaches measure about an inch long, and look slightly rounder than American or German roaches. They may look somewhat “pill-shaped.” They’re much darker than other common roaches, and appear very dark brown or nearly black. They may also look somewhat greasy or shiny. Both male and female Oriental roaches have wings, but they can’t use them.

Oriental cockroaches are a significant hygiene concern. They feed on all kinds of decaying organic matter, garbage, decomposing plant and animal matter, and waster. Their diets and affinity for humidity means they usually live in filthy areas. They’re frequently encountered in cesspits, sewers, trash dumps, or cisterns. Inside, they congregate toward humid areas such as basements and bathrooms, and they track their germs in with them. The best way to control for Oriental roaches is to control the humidity in your home carefully.

Brown-banded cockroaches

At ½ an inch long, Brown-banded cockroaches are nearly as small as German cockroaches

At ½ an inch long, Brown-banded cockroaches are nearly as small as German cockroaches, but they look quite different. Living up to their name, Brown-banded roaches have distinctive light brown bands across their backs. They’re also lighter brown or tan than the other roaches listed here, including the German roach. Brown-banded cockroaches have small, fully-functional wings and fly more frequently than most species. In addition to flying, these roaches are also generally more active than the others listed here.

Brown-banded cockroaches also differ from the other species listed here in their preferred habitat. Where most roaches prefer humid locations, brown-banded roaches want to stay dry. They tend to like living in cabinets, pantries, closets, and furniture where they can stay hidden, warm, and dry. Their ability to fly means you may find them higher up than most roaches. Controlling brown-banded roaches means keeping tight control over their food sources. Keep dry goods in airtight containers and clean regularly.

Each of these roaches are different, but they’re all bad news. You don’t want any roach infestations in your home. By figuring out which roaches you have, you can take the right steps to drive them out for good.

If you ever need some help in identifying or controlling your roaches, let Griffin know any time. We’re more than ready to wipe out your roach infestation, no matter which variety you have.

Rainy Day Pests to Watch Out For

Rainy day pests to look out for

Rain is a welcome change of pace in spring time, especially since it helps push away the winter grey. As you might expect of any meteorological change, however, rain can also be disruptive. Spring is a already a transitional time of year. Flora and fauna are struggling to adapt to the changing season. When rain disrupts this process, it can create some awkward circumstances.

The most unwelcome of these awkward circumstances would have to be the pests. When rain disrupts their behavior, all kinds of pests may end up in places where they wouldn’t normally be. Places like your home. Here’s what to expect from pests after a long rain, why, and how to react.

Cockroaches

cockroachCockroaches need moisture and humidity to stay alive, so they’re naturally attracted to moist and humid places. The problem is, the moist and humid places where they naturally congregate also tend to be vulnerable to flooding. Millions of cockroaches live in sewers, gutters, or drain pipes. When we get heavy rainfall in the spring, these places flood. Flooding forces cockroaches out of their homes and into new places – like your home!

After periods of heavy rain, it’s common to find cockroaches in your kitchen, bathroom, or basement. These roaches are probably flooding refugees that snuck up your drains or through cracks in sills or frames. Once inside, roaches look for food, shelter, and moisture. They love to squeeze under tight hiding places like boxes and furniture, where they can hide until night time. Unfortunately, once cockroaches get inside, they’re in no hurry to leave. They’ll stick around as long as they have access to food and shelter.

Snakes

snakeSnakes tend to come out after rain for several reasons. First, most snakes naturally live close to water. When rainfall floods the banks of rivers and streams, the snakes are forced to seek higher (and drier) ground. Snakes also have to come out after rain to warm back up. As cold-blooded reptiles, snakes rely on sunlight to keep their internal body temperatures up. After days of clouds and rain, snakes get desperate to get warm.

Particularly severe rainy conditions may even force snakes into your home. As dry shelter becomes less and less available, snakes have to get creative if they want to survive. They’ll twist and contort themselves to fit through small cracks and crevices to enter basements and attics. They may even follow other pest-refugees while they’re hunting and stumble into your home inadvertently. Unlike cockroaches, snakes don’t typically stick around after the rain stops, but you might find them in your yard nearby.  

Spiders

spiderFor most pests, heavy rainfall is a nuisance. While it can be a nuisance for spiders, too, it can also be an opportunity. The busiest insect hunters in the world aren’t about to stop their grind for a little rain. After all, the itsy bitsy spider wins out in the end, even in the nursery rhyme. They go where their prey goes, no matter what. That means, when it rains, they’ll follow their prey into your home.

Spiders want to build their webs wherever they think they can catch prey. They’ll find the places where other pests get into your home – window sills, baseboard cracks, etc. – and set up shop there. Often times, spiders already living nearby during rain will move inside to follow prospective prey. Other times, their homes will get wiped out by flooding, just like their prey. Either way, expect to see more spider activity when it rains.

Termites

TermitesEveryone knows termites eat wood. What fewer people know is, ironically, termites are more attracted to moisture than they are to wood. When you think about it, it makes sense: eating wood has to be thirsty work. Termites need moisture to survive, just like everything else. If they get too dried out while they’re munching away at wood, they’ll die. Termites prefer to strike at wet food, so they can keep hydrated while they work.

Obviously, all wood is wet when it’s getting rained on. During rainy periods, termites may seize the opportunity to attack wood sources that are normally dry. The wetter the wood, the easier it is for termites to chew through it. Rain is a great deal for termites–as long as they can survive it. Just like other pests, termites can easily drown in flooding. They may also target wood that lets them avoid this danger.

 

We know this is probably kind of a bummer. You were just looking forward to being done with winter, and now you have all this to worry about? Maybe April really is the cruelest month! Well, the good new is you don’t have to deal with it alone.

Give Griffin Pest Solutions a call any time you’re worried about a pest infestation. We can make sure your home stay pest-proof this spring and beyond. Rain or shine, Griffin has your back.

Late Summer Pest Infestations

The Pests of Late Summer

When you think about late summer bugs, chances are you picture them outside. When it’s hot and humid out, like it tends to be during Midwest summers, pests like rodents, centipedes, and spiders don’t have much reason to get into your home.

As soon as summer starts to end, however, pests start looking for a place to wait out the winter– a place like your home! Late summer tends to be the worst time of year for pest infestations for that exact reason. Here are a few of the sneaky snowbirds you can expect in the next couple weeks, and what you can do about them.

 

Rodents

rats are active in late summer and early fall

Michigan’s rodents start preparing for winter early. They get aggressive in the pursuit of food, they start stockpiling resources, they dig burrows for themselves, and–of course–they sneak into homes. The earlier a rodent can find a warm, dry, dark place to nest over the winter, the better. As soon as the sun starts setting earlier, expect rodents to be hard at work preparing for cold.

Rodents will infiltrate a home by any means necessary, and they have plenty of means. First, they’ll look for cracks, gaps, and holes like openings in window sills, door frames, floorboards, or utility lines. Next, they’ll try burrowing to get at the foundations or insulation in the basement. More than anything, rodents target places where they can get food. Regular vacuuming and cleaning up after meals becomes even more important in the fall. You don’t want to advertise that your home is open for rodent business!

 

Spiders

the brown recluse spider may be active in late summer and early fall

Spiders begin mating around early September every year, which is one of the few things that will prompt them to leave their webs and get moving. Spiderlings in egg sacs stay warm during the winter. Adult spiders need to survive long enough to lay eggs, which means they need to find shelter. Between the need for shelter, the need to find mates, and the fact that a lot of their prey is fleeing indoors, homes start to look really appealing to spiders this time of year.

Spiders get into homes the same way other pests tend to: by finding their way through the cracks. Spiders are excellent climbers, so don’t think any crack or gap is too high or inaccessible for them. The best way to prevent spiders is to prevent other pest infestations. If spiders can’t hunt prey, they won’t want to hang around. Clearing away clutter will also help keep spiders from taking up residence.

 

Cockroaches

cockroaches tend to be active in the late summer and early fall

Cockroaches don’t hibernate, nor can they survive freezing temperatures for long. Both the common species of cockroach (American and German) highly prefer warm temperatures. American roaches seem to feel that 70 degrees is juuust right. Unfortunately, it gets worse. Like spiders, cockroaches tend to mate while sheltering indoors. They’re even known to settle in with their families after the egg sacs hatch. Any roaches that get into your home in late summer could be the first members of a multi-generational infestation.

Cockroaches want to live in confined, warm, dark, and humid places where they feel comfortable and safe. That means your basement, attic, and crawlspaces are prime real estate–especially if they’re messy or cluttered. It’s a good idea to organize and tidy up your basements and attics every late summer. Clear out anything you don’t need, organize boxes, and repair sources of undue moisture like humidity and plumbing leaks.

 

Stink Bugs

brown marmorated stink bugs tend to be especially active in late summer and early fall

Just because they’re a relatively new nuisance to Michigan doesn’t mean the Brown Marmorated stink bug hasn’t acclimated to their new home just fine. Unlike many pests that inflict themselves on Michigan households during late summer, stink bugs actually hibernate during the winter. They’re not mating and laying eggs in your home; they’re just sleeping. Even hibernating stink bugs can’t survive the cold, however, so before they hibernate they have to seek out shelter. They’ll even let themselves out in the spring!

Stink bugs frequently get into houses by squeezing under worn-out weather stripping, damaged screens, or gaps in window and door frames. Like spiders, stink bugs are very good climbers, so they’ve been known to use chimneys and air vents as access points, as well. Replacing chimney and vent screens will go a long way toward securing your home, especially if you replace worn weather stripping and window frames at the same time.

 

You’ve still got a little warm summer weather left, so now’s the perfect time to get proactive! Some simple preventative maintenance now could save you a big headache come winter.

Want some help making sure you’re totally pest-proofed for fall? Give Griffin a call today! Together, we’ll make sure your home keeps you warm and leaves pests cold.