Keeping Pests Out of a Restaurant

Dead cockroach on a restaurant linen

A pest infestation is pretty much every restaurant owner’s worst nightmare, and it’s not hard to understand why. Running a restaurant is an unbelievable amount of work. It combines all the trials and tribulations of running a business, and adds food preparation and customer service besides. Imagine losing all that blood, sweat, and tears because of a bug!

Unfortunately, pest infestations are one nightmare that’s all-too-real. All kinds of pests are especially attracted to restaurants. They’ll do whatever it takes to get at the food and shelter waiting for them inside. Keeping them out is just one more important job a restaurant has to do. Luckily, it’s not as hard as you’d think–and certainly not as hard as many other aspects of restaurant management. By keeping these four tips in mind, you’ll go a long way toward keeping your restaurant pest-free*:

Watch the Garbage

manage your restaurant's garbage carefullyGarbage management is probably the single most important way restaurants can prevent pest infestations. Restaurants have more garbage to worry about than just about anywhere else. Not only do you have your kitchen’s garbage, but you have to manage your customer’s, as well. When food spoils, the smell and liquids it produces attract pests like nothing else. Flies, moths, roaches, and even rodents all flock to the smells of rotting food.

Making sure pests can’t smell rotting or spoiled food is your top priority. Pay careful attention to where all your garbage ends up. All solid garbage (food, containers, etc.) should go into sealable, airtight plastic bags. Throw these bags out at least once a day, and ideally twice. Be especially careful with liquid waste, such as grease. Never pour grease into drains or let it collect in the garbage. Rinse out all garbage bins and dumpsters at least once a month.

Clean the Drains

Clean your restaurant's drains regularlyIt’s all-too-easy to depend on your drains, especially in the hectic restaurant world. You just pour the whatever-it-is down the drain and move on to your next task. The whatever-it-is is gone, and you can keep working! It’s perfect, right? Unfortunately, that’s not really how it works. The stuff you pour down the drain often stays in the drain, where it can rot, congeal, or build up. Before long, you could have a nasty clog–or worse.

All the gunk that builds up in your drain does just cause clogs, either. It can also provide a suitable and consistent source of food for pests. Drain flies and all kinds of other frustrating pests are attracted to drain gunk of all kinds. Some types of drain fly even lay eggs inside or near drains, which makes them a long-term problem. You should have your drains professionally cleaned once a season, or whenever you notice a problem.

Mind the Gaps

Make sure your restaurant's entrances seal properlyUnfortunately, this is another situation where restaurants are at a disadvantage. Think about how many doors and windows your restaurant has. There’s the front entrance for sure, a back entrance, probably a supply entrance, any emergency exits, and more. Pests can use these entrances, too. Then there are the restaurant-specific access points to worry about. Pests can come down ventilation just as easily as smoke and food smells can escape.

Try to figure out where pests could get in. Start by examining thresholds. Make sure all your doors seal properly and snugly. Replace any damaged sealant or weatherstripping immediately. Look for cracks and gaps near window and door frames, and feel for drafts. Remember: some bugs only need the tiniest gap to get in, so you have to be thorough. Check the perimeter from the outside and the inside. Use caulk to fill in gaps. Make sure all your vent systems have appropriate grating and screens.

Clean Spills

Keep an eye out for hidden spills or leaks in your restaurantThis probably seems obvious to you, but spills can be tricky. We’re not just talking about the ones out on the dining floor. We’re talking about the spills that can go overlooked. The tiny leaks in the employee bathroom. The condensation pooling in the corner of the freezer or outside by the HVAC. The grease ring around the floor drain in the kitchen. Pests don’t need much moisture to survive, and they’ll use whatever you give them.

Liquid spills are a particularly big deal for pests, because many bugs lay eggs in liquid. If you think a fly infestation is tough to deal with now, try a multi-generation infestation. To prevent a nightmare like that, you have to become a spill-eliminating machine. Figure out where moisture tends to build up and dry it out as frequently and completely as possible. Keep an especially close eye on customer’s sugary drinks.

 

Running any business is tough work, but running a restaurant is a whole new level. If you’ve made it this far, there’s no way a few pests are going to be your downfall. As long as you and your team follow these tips and work together, you’ll keep the pests at bay.

If ever things are getting out of hand and you need a little help, you can always call Griffin. We’re always ready to help you reclaim your business as effectively and discretely as possible. Keep fighting the good fight!

Rainy Day Pests to Watch Out For

Rainy day pests to look out for

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

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

Cockroaches

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

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

Snakes

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

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

Spiders

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

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

Termites

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

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

 

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

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

The Most Common Pest Problems in Michigan

The Most Common Pest Infestations in Michigan

Every human-populated region on earth deals with its own host of pest problems, and Michigan is no exception. Many of the same features that make Michigan so great–our forests, our interconnected metro areas, our proximity to water–also bring pests from far and wide. Some of these pests comprise a serious, long-lasting threat to the health of the local ecosystem. Some are just out to ruin your day.

We’ve talked at length about the first variety before, so now we’re covering the problems a bit closer to home. These are the four varieties of pest that you’re most likely to encounter in your home. Chances are, you’ve dealt with at least one of these ne’er-do-wells before–even if you didn’t realize it. Here are the Michigan pest “usual suspects”, and how to keep them from bothering you.

Stink bugs

stink bugThe brown marmorated stink bug is Michigan’s newest nemesis, but it’s more-than made up for lost time. The stinky pests are mostly a problem for farmers, since they’re notorious for eating crops. They really only bother households during the fall and spring, when they’re either looking to get warm or trying to get back outside. Even if they infest homes, they don’t reproduce indoors, inflict property damage, or eat human food or fabrics. If you’ve never had them before, you’d be forgiven for thinking stink bugs don’t sound like “pests” at all!

Then you remember what they’re called. When crushed, threatened, or congregated, stink bugs secrete a gross-smelling liquid from specialized glands. The more of it there is, the stronger the smell. Stink bugs often congregate around sunny perches by the hundreds. The best way to deal with stink bugs is by vacuuming them up and throwing out the vacuum bag. Afterward, wipe down surfaces stink bugs walked over to remove the scent and pheromones they may have left behind.

Rodents

rodentsAdmittedly, mice and rats aren’t just the among the most common of pests in Michigan. Anywhere people live, chances are mice and rats are scampering around trying to live alongside them. They’ve been at it long enough, in fact, that rodents have evolved into the ultimate human-home infiltrators. Mice and rats use their sense of smell and amazing ability to sense minute air currents to find ways into homes. They don’t need to find much either; mice and rats can squeeze through unbelievably tiny openings.

Mice and rats may live in your home all year, but they’re particularly prevalent in early to mid fall. As soon as they sense the season begin to change, they’ll start looking for a warm shelter. Rodents use small openings around foundations, utility lines, or window and door frames to get into homes. Finding cracks and gaps like these and sealing them up is the best way to prevent future rodent problems today.

Carpenter ants

carpenter antsDespite being equally prevalent, carpenter ants are often mistaken for their cousins the sugar, pavement, or field ants. Unfortunately, though carpenter ants may look like their less-distressing cousins, they don’t behave like them at all. Most ants may be content to pursue your home’s food, but carpenter ants have another prize in mind: your home itself. Specifically, the wood your home is made of. Carpenter ants are second only to termites in terms of their wood-destroying, property-damaging potential.

Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat the wood they destroy. Instead, they simply tunnel through it to build their ever-expanding colonies. The ants infest wood that’s moist and easy to bore through, so the best way to prevent them is moisture control. Ensure your plumbing isn’t leaking and your attic, basement, and crawl spaces aren’t too humid. Dispose of any water-damaged wood as soon as you find it, so that carpenter ants won’t.

Bed bugs

bed bugsAs we’ve explained before, everyone’s least-favorite bedfellows have had quite the renaissance in recent years. After developing resistances to the chemicals used to kill them, bed bugs began repopulating at a startling rate. Even worse, the bed bugs’ natural inclination to hide in cramped, dark, and warm places means they are nature’s ultimate hitchhiker. Before we knew what hit us, Americans had transported bed bugs all over the country by plane, train, and automobile. Unfortunately, Michigan wasn’t spared even a little.

Contrary to name and reputation, bed bugs don’t just infest beds. Instead, they gravitate toward any location that’s dark, sheltered, cramped, warm, and near food. It just so happens that beds tend to satisfy those requirements–you’re the food! Find bed bugs by looking for bloody or dark patches on sheets and linens. Prevent them by changing and washing your sheets frequently, and by thoroughly inspecting luggage you bring into your home.

We realize it can’t be comforting knowing that your home state plays host to such a rogue’s gallery. That’s why we’ve decided to end on a bit of good news. Griffin Pest Control has been fighting these common pests right here in Michigan since 1929. As you might suspect, all that practice has made us pretty darn good at it.

Next time you need help clearing out an infestation, or making sure you never get one, give Griffin a call today. We’ve helped thousands of Michigan residents before, and we’re always happy to help you too.

Top 5 Pest Prevention Resolutions for 2018

With each new year comes new responsibilities, new goals, new experiences, and – of course – new resolutions. Our business is pest control so it’s safe to say that our top resolutions all have to do with pest control as well. At Griffin, our goals for 2018 include: 1. Continuing to provide consistent and high quality pest control services to everyone in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. 2. Writing a new year’s anthem akin to “Who Let The Dogs Out”, but about bed bugs. We’re… more committed to the first goal, though.

As for you, whatever your resolutions may be, we recommend adding these five to the list. Focusing on them will help you keep your 2018 as pest free, bug free, and stress free as possible.

 

Be more vigilant about cleaning up food waste

Do you know the number one reason pests enter homes? To find something to eat. They don’t care whether it’s soda in a recycling bin, a box of crackers in the pantry, or crumbs on a kitchen counter. Say it with us now: I promise to keep my kitchen cleaner in the new year, both for my own benefit, and to keep pests from making a home in it.

Stay on top of sealing cracks and crevices

It’s really easy not to keep up with the status of things we don’t regularly look at. Case in point: the seals around doors and windows in your home. Cracks that look small to you can be the perfect size for pests to use to get into your home. Promise yourself to take notice of and reseal any cracks with caulk to pest-proof your home in 2018.

Keep your yard clean

Keeping pests out of your home is as simple as giving them nothing to eat and nowhere to hide. Do you know where pests like to hide? Dirt, trees, piles of leaves, neglected kiddy pools, garden hoses, gutters… and pretty much around all other yard clutter.

A cluttered and messy yard is a yard that’s begging for pests. Paying more attention to the cleanliness and organization of your home’s front and back yards can make a big difference in pest prevention through the new year.

Move your firewood away from the house 

We get it. You’ve read our other blogs. You know there are pesky pests that love to use wood piles as a jumping off point to get inside homes. You’ve probably looked outside and told yourself, “I should move that firewood.”

Well, now’s the time to do it! Keep it at least ten feet from your home so it isn’t a staging ground for future pest infestations. You’ll be happier for it.

Replace cardboard storage containers with plastic ones

Cardboard boxes are easy to come by and easy to use, but it’s not well suited for long term storage. Pests like mice and many varieties of insect love cardboard, because they can chew it up and steal pieces to make nests.

Keeping things stored in cardboard long term is never a great idea. Let this year be the year you finally move all things stored in cardboard in to sturdier, less bite-able plastic containers.

 

Happy New Year from everyone at Griffin Pest. Remember – these resolutions will help you better keep pests out but when disaster strikes despite your best efforts, you can always call us to take care of the problem.

What Are Those Bugs in Your Basement?

Bugs in your basement

Bugs LOVE a basement. They’re dark, quiet, warm, and usually pretty humid to boot. If you have a bug infestation in your home, chances are they’re hanging out downstairs. Basements are a little spooky even under better circumstances, so we’re guessing you’re not terribly pleased to hear this.

There’s more bad news. Some bugs like basements more than others. The ones that really like basements are some of the freakiest-looking bugs around. Before you burn your house down, however, consider: these bugs are mostly terrifying because you don’t understand them. They aren’t the most dangerous pests in Michigan, or the scariest, or even the most stubborn. They’re just the freakiest ones that are here. This is everything you need to know about the monsters in your basement. The more you know, the less afraid you’ll be (we hope).

Earwigs

earwigWe’ll grant you: earwigs look like they crawled directly out of a nightmare. They’re about two inches long, with dark brown, reddish bodies, creepy light orange extremities… and GIANT PINCERS ON THEIR BACKSIDES. Earwigs are actually harmless to humans (and definitely don’t crawl into people’s ears) but… yeah, we get why you’d want to give them a wide berth. These insects love basements because they’re attracted to darkness and humidity. They feed on decaying plant material and sometimes hunt other insects.

Earwigs can’t fly or climb very well, so if they entered your home, they did it from the ground level. They usually find cracks near window wells and frames, or cracks in the foundation of the home. Earwigs often end up behind wallpaper or crammed into basement insulation after they sneak through low gaps. If you have earwigs in your home, it’s probably because your basement has a humidity problem. Consider investing in a dehumidifier and look for leaks.  

Silverfish

silverfishSilverfish are those tiny, silver-grey insects that really look more like shrimp than fish or bugs. Their long, thin bodies wiggle back and forth when they crawl, making it look like they’re swimming. “Silver” because of the color. “Fish” because of what they look like. Like earwigs, silverfish love moisture. They’re also attracted to warm and dark places where they can move around without being bothered. Silverfish are nocturnal, so chances are you’ll only see them at night.

Silverfish eat the starch naturally found in materials like paper, cotton, glue, carpeting, and other common household materials. They may also destroy clothing. Silverfish make use of their tiny size and thinness to get into homes. Usually, they sneak through narrow gaps in baseboards or flooring. They may even live inside walls if they can find a wide enough pathway. Humidity control is important for controlling silverfish, as is temperature control. Silverfish need temperatures of over 60℉ to breed.

Pillbugs

pillbugPillbugs are very small, black bugs that are about as wide as they are long. Their backs are made up of seven overlapping, segmented plates that look hard and shiny, like a beetle’s shell. Pillbugs roll into a ball to protect themselves when threatened. These “bugs” (they’re actually related to crabs!) are a common sight in gardens. They consume decaying vegetable matter beneath the top layer of soil. Most pillbugs live bury themselves several inches under soil, because they’re very temperature sensitive.

Pillbugs can’t climb sheer surfaces, so they only enter basements via the ground level of the home. Usually, they’ll find gaps under the soil, around baseboards, foundations, or siding. Once inside, pillbugs generally cover themselves by hiding under furniture, boxes, or other clutter. Pillbugs can only survive in a basement if they have a source of moisture. Check for plumbing leaks, condensation, or puddling, especially around corners and the bottom of the wall.

House Centipedes

house centipedeIf basement pests are monsters, then you probably think of this guy as the “big bad”. House centipedes are inch long, tan-yellow bugs with very long longs. Those legs enable the bug to move very quickly, often in a rapid, darting motion. House centipedes are nocturnal predators that use their speed and venom-injecting claws to hunt other insects. These centipedes are capable of using these claws to “sting” humans too. The venom injected isn’t serious, but it hurts like a bee sting would.

House centipedes commonly follow their prey into homes through gaps near windows or cracks in the flooring or siding. Once they’re inside, they spend their days hiding and their nights hunting. Like most of the pests on this list, house centipedes love moist environments. Check for leaks and puddles in your basement, and consider a dehumidifier. Patching gaps may help with the humidity problem and deprive bugs of their access points at the same time.

 

We hope this blog helps you feel less afraid of venturing into the dark abyss that is your basement at night. Even if it doesn’t, however, at least now you can take action? Remember: your basement is your turf, not those bug’s. Even if house centipedes are just about the scariest things ever.

If you ever decide you need a little help with your basement monster slaying, feel free to call Griffin Pest Control anytime. We’re always happy to lend you our sword.

The Season of the Rodent

Rats and mice are very active this time of year.

Autumn can be one of the nicest times of the year. The leaves change color. The temperature is perfect. Even the sky just looks bluer. Everyone knows Winter is Coming, but at least fall makes for a nice consolation. At least, it should. Unfortunately, “everyone” knows Winter is Coming. Everyone includes rodents.

When the temperature drops, rodents start trying to get into your place like their lives depend on it. Nothing ruins the last nice weeks we have left like a rat infestation. You should be enjoying the all-too-fleeting pleasures of autumn while you can–not stressing out about the rats in your basement. Here are four good ways you can ensure unwelcome guests stay out of your home this fall.

Seal Doors and Windows

seal doors and windows this fall to keep rodents outMost of the heat that escapes from homes leaks out of gaps around door and window frames. Rodents can feel this warm air escaping from outside, and they can follow it back to its source. Mice and rats are notorious for their ability to squeeze through tiny gaps. Even a tiny crack in a window frame’s weather-sealing is more than enough space for a motivated rodent.  

Double-check every window in your home. Make sure the window pane sits properly and the weather-proofing hasn’t worn down or peeled away. Look for cracks or other damage in the frame itself, as well. Check for condensation on the window sill and run your hand along the frame to feel for cool air. If you find either, it means there’s probably a draft around the window. Find and seal up this draft, and you’ll go a long way toward keeping rodents out of your home. Once you’re finished with the windows, follow these same steps at each outside door.

Put Screens over Vents

put screens over your vents this fall to keep rodents outYour home transfers outdoor air in and out from more places than you’d think. Pretty much every water-using appliance needs to have a ventilation system to function properly and prevent excess humidity. Vents work by transferring hot air out of your home. Unfortunately, rodents can feel this hot air from outside just like they can feel drafts. If your vent systems aren’t appropriately covered, then rats can use them to crawl into your home.

Remember: you need to leave enough space in your vent system to let air pass through. If you don’t, you’re defeating the purpose of having ventilation in the first place. Putting screens over your vent’s outlets will allow air to flow normally while keeping rodents out. Remember, however: rats and mice are notorious gnawers. Check on your screens annually to make sure the annoying munchers haven’t chewed their way through. If any of your screens have been noticeably damaged, you should replace them as soon as possible.

Check Outside

clean up your yard this fall to keep rodents outWhile you’re out checking your vent covers, take a look around the foundation of your home. Look for cracks where you can see light from inside, or where you can feel heat escaping. Pay special attention to areas of the home where utilities like water and gas enter the building. These access points tend to have gaps juuust wide enough for rodents to enter.   

After you’ve “secured the perimeter,” you could take this opportunity to de-clutter your lawn. Fall tends to drop all kinds of debris into your yard. Rodents use fallen leaves, overgrown bushes, weeds, and other clutter as a means to get close. Keep clutter like leaf piles or firewood at least five inches away from your home. Keep trimming your bushes and lawn until they stop growing for the season. Make sure tree branches don’t brush up against your home. This all might sound extreme, but rodents really will use anything they can.

Clear the Clutter

clean up your basement this fall to keep rodents outYou didn’t think you’d get away with only cleaning the outdoors, did you? Sorry, but once you’re finished de-cluttering your yard, it’s time to move inside. Messy basements and attics attract rodents looking for warm, dark, and hidden places. The more space they have to move around in secret, the more attractive your home will look to them. One of the best ways to make sure rats leave you alone is just to demonstrate that you know they’re there.

First, pick up boxes and bags lying on the floor in your basement. Sort through them, organize them, and keep them on shelves or in cupboards. Keep your floor as clutter-free as possible to make rodents feel uncomfortable crossing it. Vacuum and dust every room in your home at least once every two to three weeks. You should vacuum any rooms where you eat or prepare food even more frequently. If you can deprive rodents access to the resources they came looking for, they’ll start looking elsewhere for them.

 

The stakes never get higher than they are right now. Rodents that get into your home during warmer months come and go as they please. If rodents get into your home in fall, however, they’re staying for the duration. Winter is hard enough without sharing your space with furry roommates.

Even if you do end up with rats this winter, though, you don’t have to despair. Griffin Pest Solutions isn’t flying south; we’ll be here all year to help you with any pest problems you have. We’ll keep pests out so you can get back to enjoying one of the most beautiful times of the year.