What are House Centipedes? [VIDEO]

House centipede running across hardwood floor in someone's home

House centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata) are rather unique centipedes. For one thing, they don’t really look like what you picture when you think of a centipede. They look… creepier. More importantly, unlike almost all other centipedes, they can live in your house (hence the name). If you see a centipede in your house, it’s almost certainly a house centipede.

Like most pests, the scariest things about these centipedes are the things you don’t know. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, they look like your worst nightmare. They’re all legs, fangs, and antennae, and they’re fast. Learning about centipedes probably won’t mean you’re not afraid of them at all, but it’ll certainly help. At the very least, you’ll know what that freaky thing you saw darting around your bathroom was. Here’s what you should know about the house centipedes in Michigan:

Now that you know what these frightening pests are and what they want, you can do something about them. Take away a house centipede’s sources of food, shelter, and moisture, and you’ll take away their reason for entering your home.

If you want some help removing centipedes from your home, get in touch with Griffin Pest Solutions. We’re always ready to help remove creepy crawlies and keep them from getting in again. Never worry about house centipedes again; just give us a call instead!

Winter Invaders to Watch Out For

Mouse in snow

You could call this time of year in Michigan “the dead of winter.” It certainly often feels that way, especially on one of its many dark, dreary days. Despite how it may look and feel outside, however, not everything really is dead. As you probably know, pests are nothing if not tenacious.

No matter how cold or dead the winter, pests will muddle on long enough to bother you. It would almost be inspirational, if it weren’t so annoying. Here are four pests that are probably trying to warm themselves up inside your home right now.

stink bugs

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are infuriatingly common in Michigan. Part of the reason why they’ve managed to stick around is that they’re good at staying warm during winter. They do that by sneaking into people’s homes for shelter starting in early fall. Stink bugs congregate around windows and other warm places all fall. While they’re gathered, they find cracks and gaps around frames and siding. They use these gaps to work their way inside.

Inside, stink bugs enter a hibernation-like state called diapause for extended periods of time. While in diapause, the bugs remain completely immobile and don’t need food or water. In order to remain safe while in diapause, the bugs seek out hiding places. The stink bugs in your home may be in your walls, around your rafters, or in other secluded areas. They won’t hurt your home while they’re around, but they may produce their distinctive stink.

cluster flies

Cluster Flies

Cluster flies look a lot like common house flies, but they’re bigger, rounder, and slower. They may make a buzzing noise when they fly around. The name “cluster flies” refers to the flies’ tendency to cluster together in large numbers. Starting in late summer and early fall, they gather in groups to stay warm. As the temperature drops, they make their way into cracks and gaps around siding and awnings. Eventually, these cracks may lead them all the way inside.

Like stink bugs, cluster flies may enter prolonged periods of diapause after entering your home. These flies usually enter your home from high up, so they’re common in attics and rafters. You may find them around window or door frames, or near vents and utility lines. Cluster flies wake up during warm days to move around. They can’t hurt you or damage your property, though they may attract other pests like spiders. Cluster flies usually leave your home in spring.

rodents

Rodents

Rats and mice cannot hibernate. To survive winter, they need to find a warm place where they can access food and water. Rodents are very sensitive to temperature and pressure changes in the atmosphere. They begin infiltrating homes as soon as they sense fall approaching. Rats and mice squeeze through small gaps around window and door frames, utility lines, foundation, and siding. They find these gaps by using their acute senses to find drafts and follow the smell of food.

Rodents can’t fly like stink bugs or flies, so they usually end up in your basement. They’re attracted to any source of moisture or food. Rats and mice grind their teeth by chewing on a wide variety of soft materials. They can ruin boxes and fabric, damage furniture, or even cut electrical wires and start fires. Both rats and mice may reproduce indoors if given the chance. If you have a rodent infestation, you should deal with it fast!

boxelder bugs

Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bug behavior is quite similar to stink bugs’. Starting in fall, they begin to gather around warm places. They’re particularly attracted to homes with southern and eastern exposure, for the sunlight. As they congregate, they may naturally slip into gaps and cracks around windows and doors. When winter comes, they will move further through the cracks to stay warm, eventually ending up inside. Boxelder bugs have very flat bodies that enable them to squeeze through tiny areas.

Boxelder bugs remain generally inactive during winter. They don’t reproduce inside and they won’t live long enough to survive winter. Boxelder bugs may emerge from their hiding places to sun themselves during warm days. When that happens, you may find them near windows or other warm areas. Boxelder bugs aren’t dangerous, but they may secrete a liquid that could stain surfaces when threatened or crushed. You may encounter more boxelders in early spring, as they begin to leave your home.


The reason why pests want to get inside your home over winter is so they can stay warm. The colder (and longer) the winter, the more desperate these four pests become. Believe it or not, however, you can turn that to your advantage.

Pests don’t have time to waste trying to break into a fortress this winter. If you can pestproof your place, you can keep pests away all season long. We want to help. If you have a pest problem this winter, give Griffin a call any time. We’re always happy to drive pests out of your home, no matter the time of year!

Pest Horror Stories of Michigan

Fishing Spider

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

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

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.

4 Fall Projects for Keeping Boxelder Bugs Away

Swarm of boxelder bugs on wood

Fall is prime time for boxelder bugs, as they try to sneak into your home to escape the winter. Every year, they show up in literal droves, congregating on warm surfaces and sneaking through tiny gaps. Unfortunately, their prevalence, tiny size, and flat bodies make boxelders a particularly common indoor infiltrator. Fortunately, they’re not nearly as difficult to keep out if you know how.

Boxelders use the same old tricks to get inside homes every year. They rely on worn-out defenses, tiny gaps, and neglected weatherproofing. If you can brush up on your home’s anti-pest defenses this fall, you’ll deprive boxelders of these tired tricks. Here are four easy projects that will seriously help keep boxelders–and other pests!–away this fall.

Install Door Sweeps

A door sweep is a long strip of rubber or plastic that’s attached to a thin metal plank. Door sweeps essentially block the small gap between a door and its threshold without impeding the door’s function. When you shut the door, the long strip pushes into the threshold gap. As you open the door, you push the strip away from the gap. Installing door sweeps helps keep doors energy efficient. They also help with pests like boxelders.

Boxelder bugs are surprisingly flat insects. They can fit through or (in this case) under smaller gaps than you’d expect. Often, boxelders squeeze beneath the threshold of exterior doors to get into your home. Installing door sweeps on exterior doors is a particularly easy way to prevent that. All you have to do is measure the width of each door and buy sweeps in corresponding sizes. Installing your sweeps is easy too; all you’ll need is a drill and the sweep’s instructions.

Weatherstripping

Replace Weatherstripping

Weatherstripping is material (rubber, plastic, vinyl, tape, etc.) used to seal gaps between windows or doors and their frames. All of your home’s window and door frames probably have it, even if you don’t know it’s there. Weatherstripping compresses when the window or door closes, sealing off the gap between the moving parts and the frames. If it’s working correctly, weatherstripping completely seals the window or door when closed, leaving no gap whatsoever.

Over time, weatherstripping naturally wears away. Weather and cold beat it down, and opening and shutting doors can damage it. When weatherstripping wears out, it can no longer create a perfect seal around windows or doors. Boxelders can use openings between weatherstripping and frames to get inside. Check on the weatherstripping around your doors and windows. If it comes off easily or looks worn, replace it. Sealing your window and door frames is one of the best ways you can keep all pests out.

Seal Off Utility Lines

By utility lines, we mean plumbing pipes, gas lines, electrical wiring–any infrastructure that enters your home from outside. There are small openings all around your home where these important utility lines enter it. Unfortunately, sometimes those openings aren’t small enough. Often, pests like boxelder bugs will follow a pipe or electrical wire straight through these small gaps. From there, they could end up in the walls, the insulation, or even in your basement or attic.

It’s a good idea to know where all of your utilities enter your home. Look for plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling, and gas lines both inside and outside. If the gap between a pipe or wire and the wall looks too wide, it is. Remember: boxelders can fit through the tiniest gaps you can see. Use some heavy-duty caulk to seal up gaps around your utility lines. Rodents and other pests love following pipes inside, too, so you’ll be pest-proofing for more than just boxelders.

Garage door seal

Replace the Garage Door Seal

A garage door seal is basically weatherstripping for your garage door. The seals are long strips of (usually) rubber that fit across the entire underside of the door. When you close the garage door, they compress into the ground, forming a complete seal between the door and ground. There are also seals on the sides and top of most garage doors. When it’s working correctly, garage door seals prevent pests from sliding beneath the door and into your garage.

Garage door seals wear out about as quickly as other weatherstripping, and for the same reasons. Luckily, they’re also about as easy to replace. If you have your garage door’s instruction manual, look up info on the seal inside of it. If you don’t, just measure the length and width of your door. You can install garage door seals yourself, or have a professional garage door installer put it on for you.

It’s tough to keep from seeing boxelder bugs this fall. If there’s an acer tree near your property, it’s hard not to see them everywhere. Just because they’re everywhere doesn’t mean they have to be in your home, however. By performing a little maintenance like the projects listed here, you can keep boxelders out this fall and beyond.

If it turns out you need a little help keeping boxelders at bay this fall, give Griffin a call. We can make sure boxelders–or any other pests, for that matter–don’t bug you this fall.

The Pests in Your Basement this Fall

Seal openings in your home to keep pests out.

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

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…

cockroaches in your basement this fall

Roaches

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.

Spiders

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.

mice and rats in your basement this fall

Rodents

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.

The 4 Worst Pest Infestations You Can Have

Wasps nest

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…

Termites

termites inflict billions of dollars of damage in structural damage in the US every yearThere’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!

Wasps

Wasps are dangerous and frustrating when they build wasp nests near people's homesNo 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.

Pantry pests

pantry moths lay eggs that hatch into larvae inside pantry food like pasta and cerealThere 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.

Bed bugs

few pests are as upsetting as bed bugsSure, 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!