Why Are There So Many Mosquitoes in Michigan?

Mosquitoes need water to reproduce and grow.

Michigan natural topography is perfect for mosquitoes in several ways. First, the bloodsuckers need water to reproduce and grow. They’re most attracted to standing water found in wetlands. Next, mosquitoes prefer heavily forested areas. Finally, they love humid environments. Michigan’s wetlands, forests, and humid summers make it a mosquito paradise.

Just because there are mosquitoes all over Michigan doesn’t mean they have to be all over you, however. No matter how nasty the mosquito season gets this summer, you can take steps to keep yourself safe from them. All it takes is understanding what they want and how you can keep them from getting it. We can help with that. Here’s what you should know about Michigan’s many mosquitoes, and how to keep them away:

When are mosquitoes most active?

Everybody knows summer is mosquito season, but just how bad that season will be is actually determined in spring. Mosquito population rises and falls based on humidity, temperature, and rainfall. The easier it is for the pests to access standing water, the more frequently they’ll reproduce and lay eggs. The more it rains, the more rainwater collects in the form of puddles, run-off, and other standing water. Mosquitoes lay eggs wherever puddles are available, and the mosquito population explodes.

Like most insects, mosquitoes are also cold-blooded, meaning they rely on external heat to keep them warm. Developing mosquito such as eggs and larvae are particularly sensitive to external temperature. Mosquito larvae can’t grow until the air temperature is at least 44°F. The higher the air temperature, the faster mosquitoes grow. The faster they grow, the faster they can mate… and produce more mosquitoes. Warm, rainy springs mean huge mosquito populations come summer time.

Why are there so many mosquitoes around me?

Why are so many mosquitoes around me?

When we say standing water, you probably picture puddles, brackish ponds, and swamps. Those all certainly count, but they aren’t the only water sources that attract droves of the bloodsucking pests. Mosquitoes only need a tiny amount of moisture to survive, thrive, and reproduce. Mosquitoes are attracted to any environment where the ground remains wet for long periods of time. If those environments happen to be shady, warm, and near food, they’re even better.

If you feel like there are too many mosquitoes near your home, it’s probably because they’re reproducing nearby. They prefer to live outside, but they can and will reproduce anywhere with standing water. The more water and warmth they have, the faster they’ll hatch, grow, reproduce, and lay more eggs. A mosquito can also re-use the same sources of water over and over. If you have a hidden puddle in your home, they’ll use it to multiply all season long.

Are mosquitoes dangerous?

Yes, unfortunately, mosquitoes can be dangerous. Mosquitoes are infamous for biting people and sucking their blood. The bloodsuckers are one of the most medically important–and problematic–carriers and spreaders of dangerous diseases worldwide. They can carry and transmit Malaria, Zika virus, the West Nile virus, and other dangerous diseases via their bites. Some mosquitoes in Michigan are confirmed to carry the West Nile virus. Mosquito-driven outbreaks of the West Nile virus have occurred in Michigan every summer since 2002.

West Nile virus is actually an infection carried in the blood of birds. Mosquitoes of the Culex genus pick up by feeding on an infected bird. Then, when they feed on people, they pass the virus on via their saliva. About one in 150 people infected with the West Nile virus experience severe symptoms. It’s most dangerous to people over 50 years old or with pre-existing medical conditions. 80% of people infected by the West Nile virus display no symptoms at all.

How can I keep mosquitoes away from my home?

How can I keep mosquitoes away from my home?

Now that you know what mosquitoes want, you should have a good idea of how to prevent them. Keeping mosquitoes away from your home is about controlling their access to moisture. Start inside. Look of any hidden plumbing leaks, or sources of excess condensation or runoff. Make sure your basement, attic, and lower levels are dry. Consider investing in a dehumidifier. Try to find and patch up drafts, as they can leak hot air inside and generate humidity.

It’s trickier to prevent mosquitoes outside, because they require so little moisture. Start by testing your drainage system. Make sure your gutters successfully catch water and it off of your roof. Clear your downspouts and test them to ensure they’re directing water away successfully. You should also test your sump pump. After you’ve tested your drainage system, check your whole lot for moisture. Fix wet or sunken spots you encounter proactively. If you have water features, try to make sure the water stays circulating

 

Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to avoid mosquitoes in Michigan altogether, especially during the summer. They can breed anywhere there’s water and eat anywhere there are people or animals. By understanding what mosquitoes want, however, you can at least keep them from breeding in your home.

If you’re having trouble keeping mosquitoes away, don’t worry! Just call Griffin Pest Solutions anytime. Our experts can wipe out your pests and help keep them away for good. Don’t ruin your summer by worrying about mosquito bites. Just get educated, get help, and get back out into the sun!

Where Are All These Flies Coming From?

A cluster of fruit flies on a surface - Keep flies away from your home with Griffin Pest Solutions

It’s getting to be that time of year again. Just when it was finally getting nice out again, they return: the flies. Thousands of them. Hundreds of thousands of them. It seems like they’re everywhere, especially around your home. And all of a sudden!

What are these flies? Where are they coming from? Why now? Most importantly, what can you do about them? Don’t worry: we’re here to answer all your fly questions. Hopefully, we can help make your spring fly-free in the process.

What are the flies in my home?

There are several different common varieties of fly that commonly enter people’s homes. Each type of fly wants different things and behaves in different ways:

  • House flies are amongst the most common insect pests infesting houses in Michigan. They’re ⅛ to ¼ inches long, dark grey, broad flies with dark stripes and dark red eyes. They live in garbage, particularly moist or rotting organic material.
  • Fruit flies and specifically the common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster are very common house infesters. These flies are only 3 to 4 mm long, tan or clear-colored flies with bright red eyes. Fruit flies live in fermenting liquids, especially sugary liquids.
  • Blowflies are particularly common in spring and summer. They’re round, metallic green, blue, or copper-colored and only around ¼ to ½ inches long.
  • Phorid flies look similar to a fruit fly. Both are very small (1/16 to ⅛ inches long), tan-colored, and have red eyes. Phorid flies are attracted to light, garbage, and humidity.

If you’re dealing with a fly problem this spring, chances are these are your culprits.

What do flies want?

What do they want?

As you probably noticed, each of the flies we’ve listed has a few things in common. The big one? Garbage. Virtually every fly loves living around, reproducing in, and feeding on garbage. Even more specifically, they love moist, rotting, or fermenting organic material. They’re attracting to any garbage that rots, breaks down, or starts to smell.

Flies can live off of and produce eggs in a very thin film of moisture. Even runoff from plumbing leaks or condensation from drafts is enough. If you have flies in your home, then they’re probably using rotting material or humidity nearby as a nest. Most flies reproduce indoors constantly and frequently whenever they can.

Where did they come from?

Unfortunately, most of the flies in your home were probably born there. They lay eggs in thin films of moisture near food sources. When the eggs hatch, offspring feed and grow rapidly until they’re fully grown. Then, the fully-grown adults reproduce, and the cycle begins again.

Before they can start reproducing, however, the first generation has to get inside your home somehow. That can happen a couple of ways. First, the pests are very good at sensing temperature changes and smelling out rotting food. They’ll follow the smell of rotting food to drafts, then use small cracks to wiggle inside.

Why are flies here now?

Why are they here now?

The speed of a flies’ life cycles is determined mostly by temperature. During warm seasons, most fly species complete their life cycles extremely quickly. Houseflies, for instance, may complete their life cycle from egg to adult in seven to ten days. The longer and warmer the summer, the more the pests will grow, mate, and spread.

Files have incredible reproductive capabilities: a single fruit fly, for instance, could lay up to 500 eggs. They seem especially prevalent in spring and summer because warm outdoor temperatures allow them to reproduce even more frequently. It’s not just you; they really are pretty much everywhere.

What can I do about them?

If you can keep pests from accessing moisture, you can keep them from reproducing in your home. Flies usually find moisture around garbage or another source of food. Keep garbage cans sealed whenever you aren’t using them. Take out all your garbage every night before bed. Rinse out and dry containers before disposing of them.

Pay close attention to possible plumbing leaks and other sources of runoff. Check under sinks in the kitchen and bathroom, especially around garbage. Consider investing in dehumidifiers for particularly humid areas of your home. Clean up and prevent any other sources of excess moisture, too. No matter how small it may seem, flies can and will use it.

 

Once established, flies can be annoyingly difficult to get rid of. It’s quite hard to find fly eggs, and once they hatch you’ll have a new generation to deal with. It’s much easier to avoid letting pests reproduce in your home in the first place. By following these tips, you can do just that.

Of course, maybe you already have flies in your home. In that case, we recommend giving Griffin Pest Control a call right away. Our experts can find and wipe out your fly infestation, no matter how hidden or entrenched. Don’t let flies ruin the nice weather for you; call today!

Carpenter Ants Come Marching In This Spring

The carpenter ants come marching in this spring

Carpenter ants get away with a lot, even for a pest. Whereas the termite inspires fear and indignation, most of the public doesn’t even consider the insidious carpenter ant. If someone had a termite infestation, they’d no doubt want it handled right away. Yet, despite the fact that carpenter ants destroy wood too, many infestations go unrecognized, much less treated!

We will not have it. We’ve warned you about the carpenter ant before, but now that spring is springing (kinda), the threat is real. This spring, thousands of carpenter ants are marching on your castle, and it’s up to you to stop them. That’s why we’ve put together this anti-invasion battle plan. Here’s everything you need to know to rout the rascally ruffians ready to rampage through your residency this spring.

What are they?

what are carpenter ants?Carpenter ants look like their sugar or pavement ant cousins, except bigger and darker. They’re typically brown or black and about ½ an inch long, though they could be red-and-black and even larger. Like most ants, carpenter ants are eusocial and live in a colony where members have specialized roles and characteristics. Unlike most ants, carpenter ants build their colonies by burrowing into moist wooden structures. Carpenter ant colonies could eventually inflict significant enough damage to compromise the structural integrity of the wood they inhabit.

There are three castes of carpenter ant: workers, drones, and queens. Worker carpenter ants build and expand the colony by cutting into and excavating wood to make “galleries” through it. Drones and queens are larger than workers, and have functional wings during mating season. Queens lay eggs to populate their colonies, and swarmers leave the colony to form new satellite colonies. Drones and queens only swarm in mating season, which typically occurs in early spring.

Why are they here?

why are carpenter ants here?Carpenter ants re-emerge from winter dormancy to replenish their energy and mate. Drones and queens emerge first in late winter or early spring. The more numerous drones swarm in large groups while seeking queens during mating season. You may notice these swarms around your home as early as mid-March. After mating, carpenter ant queens look for likely places to establish new nests. If they find a good place inside your home, they’ll lay 15-20 fertilized eggs there. These eggs will hatch into workers, which will begin to build a new colony.

Finding carpenter ants indoors doesn’t automatically mean you have an infestation. Sometimes queens or swarmers make their way indoors automatically, without intending to establish a nest there. Pay attention to how early you find carpenter ants indoors, as well as what caste those ants belong to. If you find numerous swarmers that seem to be trapped inside your home, it’s probably because they emerged from an indoor nest.

What do they want?

carpenter ants bore through woodUnlike many varieties of ant, carpenter ants are not primarily motivated to infest homes by the food inside. Carpenter ants feed on protein and sugar, primarily by foraging for aphids, live and dead insects, and honeydew. Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants do not eat wood; they simply excavate it to build their colonies. Instead of food, carpenter ants are primarily motivated by moisture. They need water to survive, just like everything else, and excavating wood is thirsty work.

Carpenter ants tend to seek out and infest moist, wet, or decaying wood. Building into wet wood allows worker ants to stay hydrated while they work. It’s also easier to break down and transport wood when it’s already wet and piliable. Rotten wood is especially easy to burrow through, making it a favorite of carpenter ants. Queens tend to build nests into existing wood damage, as it provides shelter for eggs and a convenient starting point for newly-hatched workers.

How can I keep them out?

how can you keep carpenter ants out of your home?Preventing carpenter ants is all about wood management. Start in your yard. Look for any wood carpenter ants could conceivably build into. Remove stumps, dying bushes and shrubs, dead bark, and any other rotting wood. Keep firewood elevated off the ground or store it indoors. Walk the perimeter of your home looking removing and replacing rotting or cracked siding. Cover wood that directly contacts soil with hard plastic covers.

Inside, focus on moisture control. Identify and repair any plumbing leaks, especially if they could be leaking onto wooden structures. Monitor indoor humidity levels, particularly in at-risk areas like the basement, attic, or crawl spaces. Check for drafts around walls, doors, and windows. Make sure windows and pipes don’t “sweat” during particularly humid or cool days. Finally, replace any damaged wooden furniture or structures, especially if they’re showing signs of internal rot. If your basement is quite humid, consider moving any wooden items upstairs until you can install a dehumidifier.

 

You could probably use a little good news after all this bad news. We’ve got some… kind of: compared to termites, carpenter ants work slowly. The first year they establish a nest, the colony grows slowly and the damage it inflicts is minimal. After a year, however, the colony keeps growing at a consistently faster pace.

Obviously, that means it’s very important to find and snuff out carpenter ant infestations quickly. Luckily, you don’t have to do that alone. Your kingdom always has an ally in Griffin Pest Control. Give us a call with your carpenter ant problem anytime. We’re always ready to answer the call to arms.