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 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


Like silverfish, roaches are very attracted to humidity. They’ll often seek out kitchens, bathrooms, or basements in order to access the moisture they need to survive. The most problematic roach in Michigan–the German cockroach–also highly prefers warm temperatures. Like rodents (we’ll get to them), they’re very good at following the warmth back to its source. Once inside, roaches tend to hide near food sources during the day and come out to forage at night.

Unlike silverfish, roaches don’t stick to one area in your basement. Instead, they’ll migrate throughout your home. Since they’ll go anywhere, you’ll have to check everywhere. Look for plumbing leaks under sinks, against basement walls, and near utility lines. Roaches love hiding near leaks and food, so depriving them of cover helps, too. Elevate boxes and other storage materials and keep them in dedicated, organized spaces. The clearer and cleaner the floor, the fewer places roaches will have to hide.


Michigan’s many spider species have similar habits: they follow the food. The best way for spiders to feed in fall is by following their prey into overwintering locations. Whether you have orb-weaving or hunting spiders, chances are they’re in your home chasing prey. Michigan’s spiders can’t survive winter without taking drastic steps, so infiltrating your home kills two birds with one stone. Spiders are highly proficient climbers, so they can find access points from any angle or elevation.

Spiders generally build their nests near bug “highways” in your home, where they’re most likely to catch prey. In fact, by tracking down webs you can track down these “bug highways” and do something about them. Look for access points such as small cracks and crevices near the cobwebs in your home. Patching these gaps denies pests a way in and spiders a food source at the same time. Keeping your basement clean and cobweb-free will help disrupt spider hunting, too.

mice and rats in your basement this fall


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.

Pestproofing Before Your Holiday Trip

Pestproofing Before Your Holiday Trip

Getting away for the holidays is great! Getting ready to get away for the holidays is… not great. It’s hard not to stress out about leaving your home for any extended period of time. Worrying about gross bugs and rats getting in while you’re gone can’t help, either. Unfortunately, pests aren’t about to give you a break just because you’re busy.

A lot of pest infestations occur right before or during the holidays. Pests are kind of like Home Alone’s “wet bandits”; they’re just waiting for the right opportunity. Don’t give them that opportunity. Here are Griffin’s four best tips for winter pestproofing. Follow these instructions before you go on your trip, and even the most clever bug bandit won’t be able to get its grinch during the holidays.

Find Drafts

Find and seal drafts to prevent pest infestationDrafts happen when a gap in the wall of a home allows cold air to seep in. That cold air replaces warm air in the home by sucking it out the same gap where it got in. Pests feel this hot air from outside and follow it, hoping to find a place to keep warm. Mice are particularly good at finding and following drafts. Just about any gap wide enough to create a draft could be wide enough to let mice in.

Most drafts happen around doors and windows, or in basements and attics. Inside the home, drafts feel like cold areas in otherwise warm rooms. If the problem is bad enough, you may even be able to hear the “whoosh” of air escaping. Drafts may also cause visible or measurable humidity problems. Seal the gaps that create drafts with caulk and/or insulation material where applicable.  

Fix Leaks

Fix plumbing leaks to prevent pest infestationsAll living creatures need water to live, even overwintering pests. Moisture and humidity attracts pests almost as much as the promise of warmth. Little insects don’t require much water to get by, so even a small plumbing leak works just fine. Pests find the moisture they need by sensing air humidity or smelling loose moisture. Even small plumbing leaks can drive up a home’s humidity enough to attract pests.

Don’t assume you don’t have any plumbing leaks. Dripping faucets, hairline fractures, and other minor problems are hard to notice, but pests will find them. Even “invisible leaks” can attract pests if they’re leaking water into the walls or ceiling. You can use your water meter’s “leak indicator” to figure out if your home has a leak. This indicator moves to tell you when water is flowing through your pipes. If it’s moving when your home’s water is turned off, you probably have a leak.

Store Food

Store food in sealed boxes to prevent pest infestationsFood attracts pests just as reliably in winter as it does the rest of the year. Cereals, bread, and other grains are particularly attractive to pests. Some pests, like rodents or boxelders, are content to simply munch on food through winter. Others, like pantry moths, might infest your food and even lay eggs in it. You don’t want to come home to a pantry moth infestation.

Start by disposing of any food that’ll go bad while you’re away. Put food you’re throwing away in airtight plastic bags, and take it to your outdoor dumpster directly. Have a neighbor put out your garbage, so leftover food doesn’t sit around in your dumpster for weeks. Store any food you’re keeping in your house in airtight, hard plastic containers. Finally, clean up the kitchen and dining room right before you leave, so you don’t leave crumbs behind.

Seal Entryways

Seal entryways to prevent pest infestationsWe started talking about this during the draft section, but it bears repeating. Entryways like doors and windows are the number one way pests get into homes. Tiny gaps naturally develop near doors and windows in several ways. The elements wear away at thresholds and weatherstripping. Continual use may warp or damage joints, housing, or moving parts. Some pests even work away at sealing surrounding thresholds themselves.

Weatherstripping on doors and windows is sturdy, but it also wears away quickly. You should consider re-stripping each door and window in your home seasonally. While you’re at it, make sure doors and windows sit properly in their frames. If you can see light peeking through corners, you should reinstall the fixture. Seal any gaps you find in thresholds with caulk. If your older windows look worn down or don’t fit their frames properly, consider having them replaced.


Even if you’re busier than ever during the holidays, taking time to pestproof your home before a trip is worth it. Following these four steps doesn’t take long at all, and they’ll buy you some much-needed peace of mind while you’re away.

Speaking of peace of mind, remember: even if you end up with a pest infestation this winter, don’t panic. Just call Griffin Pest Control and we’ll take care of it quickly, effectively, and permanently. You’ve got enough to worry about this time of year, so let us sweat the small stuff. Happy Holidays!

Simple Ways to Keep Pests Out

cartoon cockroach with "no" sign over it

Getting pests out of your home can be hard. Keeping them out in the first place doesn’t have to be. Most kinds of common household pests get into homes using the same couple tried-and-true infiltration tactics. It’s easy to pest-proof your home by depriving pests of ways they get in, and periodically checking for any new vulnerabilities.

If you’re interested in learning how you can pest-proof your home quickly, easily, and efficiently, start by checking off the items on this list. Following these basic steps will make it hard for even the most tenacious of pests to let themselves in.


Air conditioning units

Seal Around Utility Lines

Pests like ants, spiders, cockroaches, earwigs, and rodents use small gaps where your utilities enter your house to sneak in. Look for places where utility lines enter your home. Using caulk, steel wool, or an equivalent sealant, fill in the gap between your house and these utility lines.

Do this outside and inside. If you can see daylight shining through a gap, it’s big enough for a pest to fit through. Seal it up. Don’t worry–you won’t impair the function of any gas, electrical, or water lines by filling in gaps, but you will keep pests out.


Technician installing weatherstripping

Weatherstrip Doors and Windows

Weatherstripping acts as a cover over the natural gaps between the door or window and its seal. This cover prevents drafts and keeps cold out, but it also helps prevent pests.

Check each door and window. If you notice it’s crooked, have trouble closing it, or feel a draft, it may be time to replace the weatherstripping. Pests can chew through worn weatherstripping, so if you’re unsure at all, replace it right away.


crack in foundation

Seal Cracks

The number one way pests get into houses is through tiny gaps in the siding, floorboards, foundation, or walls. Mice can fit through any dime-sized opening!

Look for likely places indoors and out where pests may be able to squeeze in. Check low and high especially, as well as in corners or unfinished parts of the house. Look for holes in insulation or cracks in the flooring.


trimming branches

Lawn Maintenance

Yards with lawn debris such as loose leaves, fallen sticks and branches, or overgrown shrubs are attractive to a wide variety of common house pests looking for shelter and food. Spiders, roaches, and even rodents can use overgrown ornamental plants to climb onto and into your home.

Rake up leaves in the fall, gather fallen sticks, and trim bushes and shrubbery to eliminate possible sources of shelter and food for unwanted pests. Keep any firewood stored outdoors at least 10 feet away from the house. Trim trees and ornamental plants so that they never directly touch your house.


Throwing out trash bags

Take Out the Trash

Leaving trash out, whether it’s in the open or in bags or cans, will attract pests looking for a meal. One of the best things you can do to make your house less appealing to unwelcome guests is to take your trash out every night.

Store your trash bin at least 10 feet away from the house. Rinse out any bottles or cans before you recycle them, too. Recyclables should be taken out with the trash every night.


dirty dishes in sink

Don’t Leave Dishes Out

Whether it’s the moisture from the dishwasher or the debris left behind on plates after a meal, pests can’t get enough of it. Food and water on plates attract pests like crazy, especially the sugary water of soft drinks.

Wash, dry, and put away any and all dishes before you go to sleep at night. You could do this right before you take out the garbage and kill two birds (or pests, in this case) with one stone.



Pests are notoriously crafty, and it’s possible that even these pest-proof methods won’t always be enough. If you find that’s the case, give Griffin Pest Control a call. We’ll find the source of your infestation, deal with the pests, and show you how to prevent it from ever happening again.