Bed bugs re-emerged as a serious pest problem in Michigan and the rest of the US relatively recently. After they suddenly reappeared, the bloodsuckers started spreading like they were making up for lost time! Today, bed bugs are considered one of the worst pest problems facing Michigan’s cities.
One reason why bed bugs were able to spread so quickly is that people don’t understand how they spread. No matter how far they spread, however, it’s not too late for you to keep them away! That’s why we put together this video on how the annoying pests spread, and how you can stop them:
Obviously, there’s a reason why these bugs spread so successfully. They’re very good at sneaking into traveler’s bags and making themselves at home. Whether you brought them inside or a visitor did, it’s all-too-easy to end up with a bed bug infestation, despite your best efforts.
If you’re worried you have an infestation, don’t hesitate to call Griffin Pest Solutions right away. Our experts have the tools, experience, and knowhow to wipe out your pests quickly and effectively. If you’re having troubling sleeping tight, just get in touch right away. We’ll make sure the bed bugs don’t bite.
Animal poison tends to be as provocative as it is scary. Somebody asks us about poison almost every single day. Usually by asking “is that thing poisonous?!” The answer is almost always “no…” almost always. There are several poisonous animals and pests in Michigan. Some of them are even highly poisonous.
We think one of the reasons why animal venom is so feared is because it’s not very understood. Pest venom isn’t a human killing superweapon. In fact, it’s usually not even really meant for use on humans. Instead, poison is a natural part of some animal adaptations. They use it to hunt, defend themselves, and scare away predators. Here are some examples of the most poisonous pests in Michigan, along with what their poison is specifically. Hopefully, understanding poison a little better will help make it a lot less scary.
Black Widows in Michigan
The Northern black widow (Latrodectus variolus) is the only venomous spider native to Michigan (Brown recluse spiders are not native). Like other black widows, it’s also one of the most venomous spiders in the country. Widow venom is fifteen times more toxic than rattlesnake venom, though spiders deliver far less in a given bite. In terms of pure potency, widows are probably the most venomous animal in Michigan.
All Widows possess venom called latrotoxin. Latrotoxins act on presynaptic nerve membranes and can trigger an illness called “latrodectism.” Latrodectism triggers a release of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, norepinephrine, and GABA. Releasing these neurotransmitters triggers pain, followed by muscle cramps, sweating, nausea, and possible vomiting. Severity and length of symptoms depends on the bite location and how much venom the spider transmitted. Northern black widow bites are very rare. Even when they do occur, the spiders rarely administer venom to humans.
Paper Wasps in Michigan
People tend not to think of wasps as “poisonous,” but their venom is why stings hurt! The most venomous wasp in Michigan is also our most common: the European paper wasp (Polistes dominula). As the name implies, the European paper wasp isn’t native to Michigan. Paper wasps first came to America in 1981 and spread quickly by hijacked native wasp’s nests for themselves. Today, paper wasps have established themselves as an invasive species in Michigan. It’s may not be native, but it’s here to stay.
Paper wasp venom is painful because it targets the nervous system on a cellular level. Enzymes and proteins in the venom break down cell membranes when introduced into the bloodstream. When neuron cells break down, they send a signal that they’re damaged–pain–to the brain. Wasp stings also deliver norepinephrine, which stops blood flow to prevent the venom’s potency from deluding in the bloodstream. Finally, they introduce hyaluronidase and MCDP to spread venom further around the site of the sting.
Eastern American and Fowler’s Toads
Believe it or not, Eastern American (A. a. americanus) and Fowler’s (Anaxyrus fowleri) toads are among the most poisonous animals in Michigan. Toad venom is primarily defensive in nature. These toads possess venom-producing “Parotoid Glands” right behind their heads. These glands secrete a chemical steroidal venom called Bufotoxin onto the toad’s body as a predation deterrent. Bufotoxin looks like a milky white liquid film that coats the toad’s skin. If toads look wet, they might be secreting their toxin!
Bufotoxin is more deadly to small predators than it is to people. When ingested, Bufotoxins can trigger serious cardiac, neurological, and gastrointestinal problems. Eventually, Bufotoxin can even target the central nervous system and cause heart attacks or seizure. When merely handled, however, Bufotoxin usually only causes a mild skin rash or allergic reaction. Bufotoxin may also irritate eyes and mucous membranes on contact. Don’t let your pets chase, kill, or eat the little toads in your yard!
Eastern Massasauga Rattle Snake
The Eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) is the only venomous snake in Michigan. Massasauga are capable of injecting a highly toxic venom through their bites. In fact, massasauga venom is considered more potent than most other rattlesnake venom. Like black widow spiders, however, massasaugas generally inject less venom during a bite than most snakes. Venom is a valuable resource for rattlesnakes, and its resource-intensive to reproduce. Consequently, most massasauga bites are “dry bites,” which contain no venom.
Eastern massasauga venom contains a specialized digestive enzyme. When this enzyme enters the bloodstream, it disrupts blood flow and prevents blood clotting. When venom is injected into the smaller prey massasauga feed on, it causes fatal internal bleeding. It can also incapacitate prey and destroy tissue. Massasauga venom is not fatal to humans, but it can be extremely harmful. Fortunately, massasauga bites are rare. Massasaugas are highly cautious, even shy or docile snakes. They would avoid rather avoid or run from a conflict than lash out.
As you can see, venomous pests use their venom for hunting small prey and defending themselves. None of Michigan’s pests are going to go out of their way to poison you; just the opposite, in fact. As always, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of venomous pests, but you shouldn’t have to fear them.
Of course, that’s easier said than done… especially if poisonous pests are around your home. If you’re worried you have a potentially-precarious pest predicament, give Griffin a call right away. We have everything we need to keep you safe from Michigan’s most poisonous pests.
It’s Halloween, and we’re Michigan’s pest control company. You know what that means. Last year, we explored some of the most frightening, upsetting, and down-right ghoulish pests in Michigan. But that’s not spooky enough for this year! After all, who knows if you’ll even ever run into any of those pests. No, this year we wanted to focus on something a little closer to home.
These are four of the most horrifying, sickening, and spooky pest stories ever encountered in Michigan. The type of stuff that makes even our blood, with all its pest-crusading experience, run cold. Oh, and they all happened in the last eight years. Some of them are still happening. Happy Halloween!
Pizza-loving Rats Overrun Redford
Just this April, residents of the Redford township had to deal with a rather specific problem: pizza-loving rats. According to the news report, a veritable rat plague descended on the Detroit suburbs. The townwide infestation grew so out of control that rats seriously damaged people’s homes. And the source of the problem? A nearby Little Caesar’s dumpster that was too small. Security footage revealed the poorly-maintained dumpster had become a rather popular hotspot for furry pizza fans.
At its worst, people actually saw large rats carrying off pizza down the streets in broad daylight! One resident said he saw swarms of rats scatter whenever he started his car in the morning. Apparently, the problem was not new; one resident had a picture of a squirrel eating pizza from 2010! The longer the problem went unaddressed, the worse it became. This rather unappetizing story just goes to show you how pest problems never stay contained. The longer they go on, the more people they’ll affect–until they’re the scourge of an entire town!
Bed bugs Shut Down the Mail
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor hail… but they didn’t account for bed bugs. Detroit has a history of bed bug problems. There were 605 reported bed bug infestations in Michigan’s largest city in 2017. This frightful number gave Detroit the dubious distinction of being the #3 most-infested city in the country. Believe it or not, however, the problem isn’t actually as bad as it has been. Back in 2010 (we know, not long enough ago), Detroit had a bed bug problem of literally disastrous proportions.
So just how disastrous is disastrous? Well, in 2010 entire business buildings had to be evacuated because of how infested they were. If that’s not bad enough for you? How about this: Detroit’s mail service stopped delivering mail to parts of the community. Mail carriers feared the bugs were actually sneaking into the mail in infested buildings and spreading via mail delivery. The fear is warranted: bed bugs love spreading by hitchhiking on unwitting travelers. It’s part of why they’re such a huge issue in major urban centers today.
Michigan’s Monster Spider
In June 2018, workers on a boat in Elkhart (near the Michigan border) discovered their vessel had a stowaway. A… rather large stowaway. Specifically, they found a fishing spider of unusual size. It was six inches long. It was… six inches long. For reference: US dollar bills are about six inches long. An iPhone is only about five inches long. Spiders should not be six inches long. And it was on a boat.
Luckily (for these boating workers, and all of us, really) fishing spiders are harmless. They also don’t usually get that big… though, obviously, it does happen. Fishing spiders live near water so they hunt waterborne insects and sometimes even small fish. We’re… guessing that six-inch spider caught some fish. Fishing spiders catch this prey by feeling for ripples the prey makes along the water. When they sense these ripples, they race across the surface of the water to catch up to their target. Ok, that’s enough. We’re moving away from fishing spiders now. And water. Forever.
Flying Ants Take Over Michigan in a Day
No, that heading is somehow not hyperbole. It just happened, in fact: we wrote about it just last month. For one day, around labor day, flying ants suddenly appear in overwhelming numbers. The frightening flying members of Formcicidae family darken windows, cover cars, and menace unsuspecting pedestrians. It happens like clockwork at almost exactly the same time every year, and with nearly the same ferocity. Even more bizarre, the ants tend to vanish just as quickly as they appeared.
Of course, as with everything else in nature, there’s an explanation. In this case, the explanation is breeding (nature has… patterns). Flying ants are the reproductive caste of ant colonies. They swarm so they can seek mates and spread out to form new colonies. Around labor day happens to be the time of year when many ants happen to swarm at once. It also always happens on a clear, sunny day when it’s not too windy. The ants seem to disappear because, for the most part, they die! Flying ants basically only live to reproduce. Again, patterns in nature.
Did you notice any other patterns in these stories? Other than the fact that they all made your skin crawl, we mean. No matter how horrifying or inexplicable the pest story may seem, there’s always an explanation. That’s how pest infestations work: there’s always a reason they happen, and there’s always a way to stop them.
If you need help stopping a pest infestation, give Griffin a call. Our experts are ready to exorcize even the most horrifying, incomprehensible, evil pest infestations. Yes, even if they somehow involve giant fishing spiders. We’ll do it! Just… try not to get giant fishing spiders. For us.
Fall is prime pest season. All kinds of pests know winter is coming, and they’re scrambling to sneak into a warm place. Basements are a pest’s favorite hiding place. They’re dark, damp, temperature-controlled, and secluded. You’ll deal with more pests in fall than you do during other seasons. You’ll find more pests in your basement than you will in the rest of your home. You… probably see where this is going.
It’s unavoidable: all kinds of pests are going to try to get into your basement this fall. They’ll sneak, squeeze, and scramble in from any tiny opening they get as if their lives depend on it. Just because you can’t stop them from trying doesn’t mean you have to let them succeed, however. If you take action now, even the most audacious autumn pests won’t be able to bug you this fall. Here’s what you’re up against, and how to come out on top.
Silverfish are small, wingless insects with silver-grey, segmented bodies and bristled tails. They require highly humid environments to survive, so they’re a common basement-dweller all year long. During fall, they’re particularly attracted to your basement as a source of warmth. Silverfish prefer environments that are 70 to 80℉. They feed on starchy materials like wood, paper, glue, and linen. The silverfish in your basement probably huddle beneath a food source in a particularly damp, warm area.
If silverfish can’t access moisture, they’ll dry out and die. Try to figure out where the high humidity in your basement comes from. Look for drafts coming from windows, door frames, hatches, or vents. Make sure your sump pump works properly and doesn’t leak. While you’re at it, look for plumbing leaks and other sources of stray humidity, too. Controlling humidity won’t just help with silverfish; it’ll help repeal all kinds of other pests, too. Pests like…
Like silverfish, roaches are very attracted to humidity. They’ll often seek out kitchens, bathrooms, or basements in order to access the moisture they need to survive. The most problematic roach in Michigan–the German cockroach–also highly prefers warm temperatures. Like rodents (we’ll get to them), they’re very good at following the warmth back to its source. Once inside, roaches tend to hide near food sources during the day and come out to forage at night.
Unlike silverfish, roaches don’t stick to one area in your basement. Instead, they’ll migrate throughout your home. Since they’ll go anywhere, you’ll have to check everywhere. Look for plumbing leaks under sinks, against basement walls, and near utility lines. Roaches love hiding near leaks and food, so depriving them of cover helps, too. Elevate boxes and other storage materials and keep them in dedicated, organized spaces. The clearer and cleaner the floor, the fewer places roaches will have to hide.
Michigan’s many spider species have similar habits: they follow the food. The best way for spiders to feed in fall is by following their prey into overwintering locations. Whether you have orb-weaving or hunting spiders, chances are they’re in your home chasing prey. Michigan’s spiders can’t survive winter without taking drastic steps, so infiltrating your home kills two birds with one stone. Spiders are highly proficient climbers, so they can find access points from any angle or elevation.
Spiders generally build their nests near bug “highways” in your home, where they’re most likely to catch prey. In fact, by tracking down webs you can track down these “bug highways” and do something about them. Look for access points such as small cracks and crevices near the cobwebs in your home. Patching these gaps denies pests a way in and spiders a food source at the same time. Keeping your basement clean and cobweb-free will help disrupt spider hunting, too.
Rats and mice are the fall pest to watch for. Rodents are extremely attuned to changes in temperature and air pressure. As soon as they feel summer temperatures changing, they start preparing for winter. They have to: rodents and mice need to spend winter in warm places in order to survive. As such, rats and mice spend pretty much all fall looking for ways into warm structures. Unfortunately, they’re… very good at it.
Rodents can actually track warm drafts or food smells around a home’s perimeter until they find small openings. Rodents primarily find openings near utility lines, window and door frames, and vents. Check around these areas and seal them off with caulk or steel wool as necessary. Replace old weatherstripping and worn vent covers. Finally, vacuum, mop, and sweep your home diligently all fall and winter. It’s difficult to keep rodents from smelling your food, but you can keep them from getting it.
Even in the midst of pest season, it’s important to remember: keeping your basement pest-free is never impossible. It might seem like there’s “always another way in,” but there’s not. If you keep following pest control tips like these, you can make your basement a pest-free zone.
If you ever need help removing your current pests or keeping future ones out, give Griffin a call. We’ll help make sure you can enjoy your fall to the fullest–without worrying about pests in your basement.
All pest infestations are bad. If you have pests, you should get rid of them as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Period. Just because all pest infestations are bad, however, does not mean all pest infestations are equally bad. There are some pests that are inconvenient, while there are others that are… far, far worse. Maybe not “pack your bags and move away” worse, but… close…
These are four of those kinds of infestation. We’re not talking most damaging or most immediately destructive, though there’s some overlap. We’re simply talking about the pests you least want in your home. These are the pests that will keep you up at night–sometimes literally! Give Griffin a call right away if you think you have…
There’s one, very clear reason why you never want termites: they’re the most destructive wood pest in the US. Termite colonies eat and bore through wood, creating cavities that compromise wood’s structural integrity. Every year, termites cause billions of dollars of structural damage. Sometimes, termites can inflict wood damage so significant that it can seriously compromise a home’s safety. Unfortunately, termite infestations are common all over Michigan’s lower peninsula, even in cities.
Termites infest homes by working their way into wood from the outside in. They’ll start by accessing moist, damaged, or low-lying wood. As the colony expands, they’ll chew their way deeper into a home’s structure, damaging it as they go. Termites often access wood by building “mud tubes” between wood and the ground. Look for these mud tubes to find where termites may have accessed your home. Deprive termites easy access to wood as much as possible. Termite-proofing your home will always pay off in the long run!
No common neighborhood pest inspires terror quite like the wasp. It’s not difficult to understand why. Virtually everyone has a wasp sting horror story. The insects are notoriously territorial, aggressive, and unafraid to sting. Wasps are at their most frustrating and dangerous when they build nests near homes. When a wasp nest is right outside your door, it’s all-too-easy to seem threatening to its defenders. Wasps are especially prone to attack people during and after breeding season.
Wasps choose where they build their nests for several reasons. First, they look for places where their nest will be safe from threats. They often build into existing shelters or cover, such as eaves, gutters, house corners, or chimneys. Wasps build nests out of wood fiber, which they collect from damaged wood. If there’s easily accessible weathered wood near your home, wasps could use it to build their nests. Finally, wasps like living near other insects, so they always have a good source of food.
There are several kinds of pest that love to infest pantries. The worst thing about these pests is that, contrary to popular belief, they’re not just eating your food. They’re often also laying eggs in it. Yeah, that’s no good. Moths, beetles, and weevils all lay eggs directly inside stored food products. These offspring are often the pests doing most of the actual eating. In fact, most adult pantry moths can’t eat at all!
Pantry pests are attracted to easily accessible food, especially when it’s stored in dark, quiet places. They infest a wide variety of dry products, including bread, cereals, pasta, flour, nuts, dry fruits, and more. Basically, if you keep it in your pantry, they want it. Some pantry pests make their way into your home from outside, but more often, you’ll accidentally bring them in yourself! Pantry pests hide in or latch onto other food containers. When you place those containers in your pantry, you inadvertently give pests access to all your other food.
Sure, bed bugs aren’t as damaging or dangerous as any of the other pests on this list. But what if you had to choose one of these four infestations? We’re betting you’d choose any of the aforementioned pests before you subjected yourself to bed bugs. We don’t blame you! Bed bugs are probably the most upsetting common pest infestation in the US. And they are common, too–even here in Michigan.
Like with pantry pests, most bed bug infestations begin when a homeowner inadvertently brings them inside themselves. Bed bugs infiltrate homes by sneaking in on packages and bags. They hide out in dark, inaccessible areas and wait until night to move. Once they’ve found a more permanent hiding place near a food source (that’s you!), they start reproducing. There are all kinds of ways to keep bed bugs out, but they all come down to diligence. Keep a close eye on what you’re bringing indoors, especially if you’ve been traveling.
Probably the worst thing about pest infestations is what they can do to you. No one wants to feel like they’re uncomfortable or unhappy in their own home. Pest infestations never go away on their own and they never stop being annoying. If you’ve got a pest problem, it’s always worth it to seek help fast.
Luckily, you’ve got help right here. Griffin Pest Solutions is always ready to help you reclaim your home. No matter the severity of your infestation, we have everything it takes to wipe it out completely. Don’t let pests take your home from you; call today!
By now, you don’t need us to tell you which pests are the most active this summer. In fact, you probably never want to think about these four pests ever again. For these four particularly prevalent pests, the heat and humidity of Michigan’s summer is paradise. They’ve been growing, breeding, spreading… and probably bothering you like there’s no tomorrow.
No matter how bad the bugs, however, you don’t have to suffer them without recourse. Even at their most populous, there’s always a reason why pests choose a particular place to infest. If you can make sure you don’t provide them with what they want, they’ll leave you alone. Here’s everything you need to know to keep your least favorite nuisances away from you this summer.
Mosquitoes are so prevalent in summer for a couple reasons. First, they either hatch in spring or start reproducing. Either way, it means a lot of mature mosquitoes come early summer. Hot weather also allows mosquitoes to grow through their life cycles faster. They hatch faster, grow faster, and reproduce faster. The hotter and more humid the environment, the more mosquitoes breed. The more mosquitoes breed, the more mosquitoes hunt for blood and bother you.
Mosquitoes need moisture to stay active, breed, and lay eggs. They prefer to live and hunt near sources of standing, stagnant water. You’d be surprised just how many sources of stagnant water mosquitoes can find and use. Any kind of ditch, basin, or bucket can collect water, and mosquitoes only need the tiniest amount. Look for and remove sources of water mosquitoes could use to reproduce or lay eggs, outside and inside. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes!
Several different factors conspired in 2018 to give us the worst tick season in years. Weather from La Niña produced a milder winter and an earlier spring. The mild weather allowed ticks to emerge and lay eggs much sooner than usual. In addition, the white-footed mouse population grew substantially last year. Small rodents like the white-footed mouse are a great food source for ticks. Between the weather and food availability, 2018 is a perfect storm for tick activity.
Ticks hunt by climbing shrubs and grasses. From their perches, the ticks simply wait for their prey to walk by and then grab onto it. The fewer places they have to hunt, the harder it will be for ticks to infest your property. Keep grass, shrubs, and bushes trimmed short during tick season. Take care to wear bug spray, long pants, and long sleeves when you’re in an area where ticks might live. Always check yourself for ticks after spending time outside. Tick-borne diseases are on the rise this year, so keeping yourself safe from ticks is more important than ever.
Unlike the other pests on this list, silverfish aren’t more prevalent during summer because of their natural lifecycle. Silverfish live for two to three years or more and produce more 50 offspring each. They can remain active and reproduce as long as they have access to warmth, darkness, and humidity. They seem more active in summer because heat and humidity let them move around more and stay out longer.
Silverfish are nocturnal and live in dark, humid, and secluded places. Indoors, you’re most likely to find them in places like your basement, attic, closets, or crawl spaces. Often, you’ll find them under furniture, boxes, bags, and other stored materials. They’ll generally stay close to food sources, such as flour, cereal, fabric, paper, clothing, paste, glue, or paper. Controlling your home’s humidity is the best way to keep silverfish out. Find and correct moisture problems like leaking pipes, especially in at-risk areas like your basement. Reducing the number of hiding places silverfish could access and depriving them of food will also help.
House flies become especially prevalent in summer because they begin reproducing in late spring. Mother house flies deposit up to 150 eggs on an appropriate food source, such as garbage. During the heat of summer, these eggs hatch very quickly–sometimes only hoursafter they’re laid! House flies grow faster in hot weather during every other stage of their development, as well. In summer, house flies can complete their entire four-stage life cycle in as few as 7 to 10 days.
If you seem to have a house fly problem, it’s probably because they are laying eggs in your home. House flies lay eggs on food sources, which is usually garbage. House flies can only eat liquids, but they can liquefy various food items such as sugars and starches. Keep all your garbage in sealed plastic bags. Rinse out any liquid containers before you throw them out. Take garbage out to your outdoor dumpster frequently, and make sure it doesn’t spill.
Hopefully, these tips prove that no summer infestation is too intense to beat. Know your enemy and follow these strategies, and you can enjoy a pest-free summer. That pest-free summer can be this summer. Don’t give up!
If you need a little help driving out your pests once and for all, give Griffin a call any time. We’ve dealt with these all-too-common pests for plenty of summers before, and we’re happy to deal with them again.