Where Do Mosquitoes Go in Winter?

People like to venture to warmer climes during the winter. Snowbird grandparents flee to Arizona or Florida. Lucky vacationers take planes to anywhere they can find that isn’t covered in snow and ice. College kids escape abroad for their winter breaks. The only downside these individuals can find in traveling to warmer places is that warm weather means mosquitoes. During the winter, at least, they can avoid that particular creature. Right? 

Wrong! It’s a popular misconception that mosquitoes die off in the winter. That’s not quite what happens to them. If you’ve ever wondered where mosquitoes actually go when the snow starts to fall, you’re in the right place.

So: where do mosquitoes go in winter?

The answer to this question is different depending on the gender of the mosquito. Male mosquitoes don’t make it past autumn’s leaf fall. Their life span is, on average, no longer than ten days. Females, on the other hand, can survive the winter. 

They’re able to do this by going dormant – a state similar to hibernation. They’ll find a safe place like a hollow log, animal burrow, or out-of-the-way corner of someone’s home. Females can remain in this state throughout the winter, for up to six months. Now that you know where mosquitoes are during the winter, you’re probably wondering: what happens when they wake up again?

Is there anything I can do to prevent spring infestations?

In the spring, there aren’t any male mosquitoes around. Unfortunately, however the female mosquitoes waking up usually have eggs to deposit. This makes spring the most dangerous time for people who are wary of mosquito infestations. The females need blood to help their eggs develop, so when the weather warms they wake up and are out seeking blood. How do you prevent them from harassing you and your home? 

  • Use mosquito repellent outdoors. This won’t prevent infestations. It will, however, help you avoid aggressive biting from female mosquitoes during spring months. 
  • Use candles when you’re going to be outdoors. Mosquitoes are repelled by certain oils used in outdoor candles. Citronella, clove, cedarwood, lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass are all valid options. 
  • Remove any standing water from your property. This won’t keep them from biting, but it can help keep them from lingering. Mosquitoes need still, standing water to lay their eggs. Don’t let puddles develop on your property and they won’t have anywhere to infest.
  • Clean up random debris. Mosquitoes love standing water, yes, but it’s not the only place they’re willing to lay eggs. They can also make do with especially damp soil or debris with existing decay. This can include piles of leaves, mulch, or decaying woodpiles. Keep your outdoor space clean and free of decay to prevent mosquitoes from calling it their home.

It doesn’t matter the time of year – if you have a mosquito problem, Griffin Pest can help. Give us a call. Our experts can help diagnose and solve your pest problems, mosquito-based or otherwise. Not only can we remove existing infestations, but we can also teach you to better prevent future ones as well.

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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!

Michigan’s Most Common Summer Pests

Mosquito swarm

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

mosquitoes in summerMosquitoes 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!

Ticks

ticks in summerSeveral 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.

Silverfish

silverfish in summerUnlike 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

house flies in summerHouse 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 hours after 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.

Outdoor Bug Safety Tips

What do mosquitoes look like in Kalamazoo |  Griffin Pest Solutions

It’s finally summer, and you’re going to want to spend some time outside. Unfortunately, if you actually want to enjoy your time outside, you’ll have to do something about bugs. Whether you’re camping, hiking, or just lounging around the beach, bugs are a serious concern in the summer. Luckily, all it takes to enjoy a bug-free day outside is a little preparation and common sense. That’s where we come in.

These are our top four outdoor bug safety tips for summer. Next time you’re planning a nice day outdoors, review these important safety tips. Imagine: you’ll never have to itch another bug bite again! Follow these tips, and the dream could come true this summer.
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Use bug spray appropriately

Use bug spray appropriatelyYes, there are right and wrong ways to use bug spray. Applying bug spray effectively is easily the most effective way to keep bugs away while you’re outdoors this summer. Here are the bug spray “dos” and “don’ts” you should know.

When applying bug spray, DO:

  • Make sure the bug spray you’re using is EPA tested and approved.
  • Carefully read and follow the directions listed on your specific bug spray.
  • Apply the spray as directed by the spray’s instructions.
  • (Generally) mist the spray over your body and clothing from a distance.
  • Make sure to hit exposed parts of your body, such as your arms, legs, and neck.
  • Re-apply the spray exactly as often as the instructions direct you to.
  • Wash off the spray as soon as you’re no longer outside.

DO NOT:

  • Apply the spray to your face, mouth, eyes, hands, ears, or mouth.
  • Apply the spray to wounds or broken skin.
  • Ingest or breathe in the spray.
  • Apply the spray to areas of your body that will be covered by clothing, such as your chest or stomach.
  • Attempt to use the spray to kill bugs that come near you.

Cover vulnerable areas

cover vulnerable areasMosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects naturally target some parts of the human body more than others. In some cases, it’s because these areas are the most accessible or the easiest to sneak to. In other cases, it’s because skin is thin on certain parts of the body, so it’s easier to sting through.

The ankles, lower legs, back of the knees, armpits, neck, and ears ears are particularly vulnerable to bug bites. It’s a good idea to cover these areas with clothing while outside, even if you’re regularly applying bug spray. Wear high socks, long pants, long sleeves, and hat when you’re spending time in heavily bug-infested places.

Avoid bug hot spots

Avoid bug hot spotsNo matter where you’re going, there are ways you can stay out of the most bug-infested areas. Ticks use tall grass and other low-to-mid height plant life to hunt or “quest.” They climb to the top of the grass and wait for unsuspecting prey to wander by. Staying out of tall grass or heavy vegetation will help you avoid the worst tick risks while outside.

Mosquitoes live in shady, dark areas near water. Avoid spending too much time in heavily forested areas or near pools of stagnant water like bogs. In general, try to stay out of (or at least don’t linger in) overgrown areas. Stay out in the open, preferably on high ground with well-kept landscaping.

Don’t attract bugs to you

don't attract bugs to youAll kinds of stuff can attract different kinds of bugs. Some of it is obvious: sugary foods attract ants, wasps, and other carb consumers. Light sources draw in moths. Flies will flock to garbage and rotting food. Some of it is less-than-obvious, however. Water and especially beer attract mosquitoes, gnats, and fruit flies, especially if you leave it out.

Any experienced camper knows you have to think about how to protect food and supplies from wildlife. Think of this the same way, but with bugs instead of bears. Take some time to consider how you’re transporting and storing the stuff you bring outside with you. Make sure liquids are sealed up properly when you’re not drinking them. Store food in airtight, covered containers that don’t let the smell escape. Move garbage away from where you’re staying.

 

All four of these tips have something in common: they’re very simple! Protecting yourself against summer bugs isn’t complicated, even if you’re deep in their territory. Always keep bugs in mind when you’re outside, and you won’t have to think about them about when you’re itching bites later.

That covers the outdoors, but what about inside? Well, Griffin has your back there, too. If you have a bug infestation problem in your home, give us a call any time. We have the tools and experience to take care of any pest infestation, so you can get back to enjoying your summer.

Everything You Need to Know About Mosquitoes This Summer

What you should know about mosquitoes this summer

Mosquitoes are a fact of life in Michigan during the summer time. If you live in Michigan during the summer, you are going to contend with mosquitoes at some point. There’s just no getting around that.

You can’t avoid mosquitoes, but you can protect yourself against them. The best way to do that is to understand how they work. We’re here to help with that. Here are our answers to the mosquito questions our customers ask us the most. If you want to make it through summer even relatively unscathed, here’s what you should know:
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When does mosquito season start?

When does mosquito season start?The primary factor that determines when mosquitoes reach peak activity is the outdoor air temperature. Air temperatures consistently around 50°F or higher are ideal for Michigan 60-odd mosquito species. When it gets warm enough, mosquitoes either awaken from hibernation or hatch from their eggs.

Usually, mosquitoes start emerging in Michigan around mid-May. On years when we experienced an early or abnormally warm spring, however, mosquitoes have emerged earlier than usual. Mosquitoes also reproduce throughout their season, so the earlier they get started, the more mosquitoes we have to worry about. As you’re no doubt aware, mosquito season is well underway in Michigan this year.

Why are mosquitoes so bad in the summer?

Heat affects how quickly mosquitoes grow at every stage of their life cycle. External temperatures determine the incubation period of mosquito eggs. The hotter it is outside, the faster mosquito eggs hatch. Hot weather allows mosquitoes to remain active longer, so they eat more and grow faster.

Mosquitoes that grow faster reach reproductive maturity faster and lay eggs faster… you see where this is going. Michigan’s summers tend to be humid as well as hot, which is even better for mosquitoes. Michigan’s mosquitoes rely on humidity to stay hydrated while they hunt. They also lay their eggs in sources of standing water. Mosquitoes populations are always highest during summer, but they’re particularly huge during wet summers. Expect more mosquito activity than usual the day after a rainstorm.

Where are mosquitoes most active?

Where are mosquitoes most active?Although they can live just about anywhere, mosquitoes prefer to live near water. Mosquitoes require a water source to reproduce and lay their eggs. Most mosquitoes prefer stagnant, standing sources of water like swamps or bogs. They’re not picky, however, and they don’t need much water either. Virtually any quantity of stagnant water is sufficient for a mosquito to lay eggs in.

Mosquitoes also prefer living in dark, damp areas. Like any living thing, mosquitoes can become dehydrated and die. Though they thrive in heat, sunlight overheat and dehydrate too quickly. Living in dark, damp areas allows mosquitoes to stay active longer and reproduce more frequently. The ideal mosquito hot spot is a still pool of water located in a relatively heavily-forested area. If you live near water and/or sources of thick vegetation, expect a heavy mosquito presence near your home.

When are mosquitoes most active?

Mosquitoes are active all the time, but they’re most active at dawn, dusk, or nighttime. Mosquitoes don’t hunt quite as aggressively during the middle of the day because they don’t want to dry out in the hot summer sun. When the sun isn’t beating down at full strength, mosquitoes feel much more comfortable. They’ll stay out hunting longer and range much further from their usual, dark and humid haunts.

Keep in mind, however: mosquitoes are always active somewhere, even if you can’t see them out in the open. If mosquitoes can keep cool and hydrated enough to manage it, they’ll happily hunt and swarm all day. If you’ll be near a shady forest, lake, or swamp, prepare for mosquitoes no matter what time it is.

How do I keep mosquitoes away from my home?

How do I keep mosquitoes away from my home?Mosquitoes can hunt anywhere, but they only live where they have a reliable source of water. If you can keep them from getting that water, you won’t have to deal with mosquitoes reproducing and laying eggs near your home.

Look for and clean up any sources of stagnant, standing water both inside and outside your home. Outside your home, fix leaking faucets, hoses, and other plumbing fixtures. Look for places where puddles may naturally form on your lawn after rain or while you’re sprinkling. Remember: mosquitoes don’t need much water at all. Even tiny puddles left behind in drainage ditches, planters, storm drains, or plant baskets provide more than enough. Inside, make sure your sump pump works, fix plumbing leaks, and consider investing in a dehumidifier.

How do I keep mosquitoes away while I’m outside?

Apply bug spray whenever you’re going to spend time outside, especially in areas where mosquitoes may be prevalent. Apply the spray as often as its label specifies to any uncovered areas of your body except your face. If you’re going to spend time in an area where mosquitoes will be prevalent, wear long clothing. Cover vulnerable areas such as your armpits, knees, elbows, and ankles as much as possible.

Avoid spending an extended period of time outdoors after dark, especially in mosquito-prone areas. If you’re camping or participating in a similar outdoor activity, bring appropriate mosquito barriers. Make sure you have enough bug spray at all times, and continue to apply it regularly. Sleep and, if possible, eat under a mosquito net. Keep your campsite clean and clutter-free, and make sure there’s no standing water nearby.

 

If the mosquitoes around your home have become intolerable, don’t hesitate to give Griffin a call. We’ll help keep the bloodsuckers away so you don’t have to be afraid to walk outside your own home.

Michigan’s Summer Bug Blues

If summer ever feels too good to be true, then consider summer bugs the catch. All kinds of bugs naturally grow and thrive in the heat and abundance. Add Michigan’s seasonal humidity to that mix, and you have a pest paradise. Paradise for these pests, specifically.

These are four of the pests that Michigan will have the most trouble with this summer. Here’s why these pests love summer, what they’re up to, and how to keep them away from you.

Mosquitoes

mosquitoesWhen you think “summer bugs,” you almost certainly think of mosquitoes first and foremost. It’s not hard to understand why. There are over fifty mosquito species in Michigan, and they’re more-or-less all very active in summer. Lucky us. Some mosquito species start reproducing in spring. They lay eggs in puddles and other sources of “spring water” left behind by melting snow and rainfall. In general, the more standing water they have access to, the greater the mosquito population will be in summer.

Unfortunately, many mosquito species don’t stop reproducing in summer. Mosquito larvae grow faster in hot weather, so they’ll mature quickly, reproduce, and begin the cycle yet again. Mosquitoes thrive during hot, humid, and wet summers. You can’t really keep mosquitoes from thriving, but you can keep them away from you. Clean up sources of standing water near or inside your home. Make sure your window screens and frames seat properly. Address sources of excess humidity such as plumbing leaks or drafts.

Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetlesJapanese beetles are an invasive species that can inflict serious damage on lawns, turf, and ornamental plants. Their grubs feed on the roots of grass, and adults eat foliage. Both grub and adult feeding habits may interfere with your plant’s ability to withstand the hot weather of summer. Larval Japanese beetles hibernate underground during winter. During spring, they begin eating roots until they store enough energy to pupate. By late June or early July pupation completes and the beetles emerge from the ground as adults.

Adult Japanese beetles are a particular problem for a couple reasons. First, they often skeletonize the foliage of the plants they feed on. Next, they produce a pheromone that attracts other beetles to plants. They also tend to reproduce and lay eggs near where they eat. That means if you have beetles this year, you’ll probably have them next year, too. If you see beetles on your plants this summer, spray them with soapy water to scare them off. The soap will also counteract the pheromone, so new beetles won’t replace the ones you sprayed away.

Wasps

waspsWasp queens become active in late spring, when temperatures rise to a consistently hospitable temperature. During early-to-mid summer, wasps largely remain near their nests. Workers leave to hunt for food every day to bring food back to support wasp larvae. Wasps are highly defensive of their nests while larvae develop inside them. The majority of wasp stings in mid summer occur when people accidentally disturb a nest.

By late summer, wasp queens will finish laying eggs, and the colony’s behavior will change. The year’s final brood grow into the next generation of wasp kings and queens. Once they leave the nest, the workers no longer have to worry about feeding and fostering young. Instead, they range further and spend their time hunting and eating. They tend to sting more people during this stage, especially if people startle them near their food. If you you have a wasp’s nest on your property, have a professional remove it as soon as possible.

Flies

House fliesSeveral types of common flies thrive and proliferate in summer. These flies are sometimes called “filth flies,” because they’re attracted to rotting garbage and waste. Filth flies like the house fly seem so abundant in summer because they spend the whole season reproducing. These flies complete their entire life cycle in only seven to 14 days. A single summer season may see literally hundreds of generations of filth flies born.

Fly infestations begin when flies find a place to lay their eggs indoors. House flies lay batches of 75 to 100 eggs at a time. Flies look for secluded, dirty places to lay their eggs. Usually, they find garbage, either in the dumpster or in cans. They may also infest clogged garbage disposals. Make sure your garbage is as sanitary and inaccessible as possible. Keep all garbage in sealable plastic bags, preferably inside sealed bins. Take garbage out to your dumpster frequently. Don’t let garbage pile up, either inside or in your dumpster.

 

No matter how inescapable they seem, you shouldn’t have to suffer bugs like these this summer. Following these steps will help you protect yourself from summer bugs, no matter how many assail you.

If you do end up with a summer bug infestation, however, remember that you always have help in Griffin Pest Solutions. No matter how entrenched or expansive the bug invasion, we’ll wipe it out quickly and effectively. We want to help you enjoy a bug-free summer!