What is a silverfish? [Video]

Silverfish pest close-up

Silverfish are small wingless insects that move quickly with fish-like motion. They are nocturnal and prefer dark humid places, like your basement. You’ve probably been startled by them. But what are they and where do silverfish come from? Watch our video.

No need to fear silverfish bites – beyond their freaky appearance, they are harmless to human beings. We’ll clue you in on these terrestrial shrimps of the cellar world and tell you how to get rid of silverfish. The main problem is their destructive capabilities, and we’ll tell you what silverfish eat in your home.

What Do Silverfish Look Like?

Glad you asked. The video below highlights the characteristics of silverfish along with some nice (safe) close-up footage. Generally, silverfish are about 1 inch long with gray or silver scales along their bodies. They have long V-shaped antennae sticking out from their head and three spiky bristles off their tail.

Silverfish are quite common pests. It’s even possible that they hitchhiked into your home on items that you brought in. More often, they squeeze into your basement through small cracks and gaps in your foundation or around windows.

What Silverfish Eat

Silverfish aren’t picky eaters. They will feast upon any starch protein or sugar they can find and the definition of each gets stretched.

Silverfish commonly will eat paper and cardboard found in your basement. They also like the glue that holds these items together. Other things silverfish eat include textiles like linen and cotton, cereal grains, wallpaper or even carpet.

Baby silverfish are tiny versions of the adult form except for the scales. Babies molt several times before they develop their scales. They eat the same starchy diet that adults do and are nocturnal feeders, like the adults.

How to Prevent Silverfish in Your Home

The way to keep silverfish out of your home is to create an environment they don’t like. This means keeping your basement clean and dry. Run a dehumidifier and fix any leaky pipes that are causing moisture. Seal gaps and cracks in your foundation and around windows where silverfish may squeeze in. Don’t attract silverfish and don’t let them in.

You can learn more about how to keep silverfish out of your basement and what silverfish are.

Get Rid of Silverfish in Michigan

If you’re concerned about a silverfish infestation in your home, call or contact Griffin for real solutions to your pest problems. They may be harmless but that doesn’t mean you want them in your home!

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!

What Are the Flies in my Kitchen?

Fly attracted to food in kitchen

Easily the most common pest problem people deal with every day are flies in their kitchen. It makes sense: kitchens and other food storage areas naturally tend to create ideal fly infestation conditions. There are even all kinds of different common flies, and they’re all looking for something a little different. The trick to keeping flies away is figuring out what that “something” is and making sure they can’t get it.

Start by figuring out which kind of fly is bothering you. Chances are, it’s one of the four particularly pernicious pantry pests we’ve listed below. Once you’ve identified your nemesis, follow the steps below to deprive them of what they want. Don’t give up; a fly-free future is possible! Here’s how to keep four of the most common kitchen flies from bothering you anymore:

House fly

House fliesHouse flies are dark grey flies with four black stripes on their slightly hairy thoraxes. They’re around ⅛ to ¼” long and round or oval-shaped. The easiest way to identify a house fly is to look for their prominent red eyes. Usually, you’ll notice a house fly infestation when you see one of the flies near your garbage or food. You may also find small cream-colored eggs or larvae laid on food material.   

House flies are a problem because they transmit hundreds of pathogens via their saliva and waste. They also soil food products by laying eggs inside of them. Fruit flies are naturally attracted to water, sugar, broth, and soluble food stuff, which they feed on and lay eggs in. The best way to prevent house flies is to make these breeding sites inaccessible. Keep garbage sealed and dispose of it before it begins to rot. Rinse out bottles and cans before you throw them away. Store food like grains and pasta in sealed plastic containers.

Blowfly

blowfliesBlowflies (or bottle flies) are small, round flies that are metallic green, blue, or copper-colored. Their metallic-looking bodies are slightly iridescent and make them relatively easy to spot. They’re usually only around ¼ to ½” long. Blowflies congregate on dead, decaying, or rotting things in great numbers. They tend to be particularly noticeable outside during the summer. If you have them inside, they’re probably flying around either your garbage or some other source of rotting material.

Like house flies, blow flies are a problem primarily because they transmit diseases. Blowflies also reproduce astonishingly quickly. A large number of flies can inhabit a food source in a short period of time. When you have a blowfly problem, the first thing you should check is your garbage. Dispose of all your garbage and rinse out your cans and dumpsters. Look for and remove any sources of decaying organic material such as pet feces or fertilizer.

Fruit fly

Fruit fliesFruit flies or vinegar flies are tiny (⅛” long), very light tan flies with almost translucent bodies. Like house flies, their prominent, bright red flies are their most distinguishing feature. Fruit flies are attracted to any organic material that’s ripe, fermenting, or otherwise moist. They reproduce and lay eggs in any thin film of moisture on top of fermenting material. A single female fruit fly can lay 500 eggs. These flies have extremely short life spans and reproduce extremely quickly.

Fruit flies are primarily considered nuisance pests, but like other flies, they can also contaminate food sources with pathogens. Any food that could produce condensation could attract fruit flies and foster fruit fly growth. Pay close attention to where you’re throwing away food, especially fruits and vegetables. Even small sources of moisture like spilled fruit juice could attract literally thousands of fruit flies. Dispose of any overripe or rotting food regularly, and rinse out your garbage cans once a month.

Cluster fly

Cluster fliesCluster flies like the common cluster fly (Pollenia rudis) usually enter homes during the fall. They look very similar to common house flies, except they have patches of bright yellow hair under their wings. During spring and summer, they reproduce and lay eggs in the soil. Cluster flies produce three to four generations in a mating season. During fall, adult cluster flies attempt to enter enclosed and protected areas in order to survive winter.

Cluster flies are largely considered nuisance pests, similar to other overwintering nuisance pests such as stink bugs. They don’t damage your home or transmit diseases. Their bodies or waste may attract other pests to the areas they inhabit, however. The best way to keep cluster flies out of your home is to block their common entry points. Seal cracks around windows, doors, thresholds, and utility lines. Repair or replace damaged screens. Patch up cracks in chimneys or roofing shingles.

 

If you feel like you’ve tried everything and you still have a fly problem, don’t despair. There’s a reason why flies continue to be the most common pest problem in the US. The frustrating little bugs are very good at getting theirs. Luckily, we’re even better at stopping them.

If you decide you need some help dealing with your kitchen foes, give Griffin a call any time. We have everything we need to make your kitchen fly-free and keep it that way. Your fly-free future still awaits! All you have to do is call now.

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.

Keeping Snakes Away This Summer

Many of Michigan’s 18 snake species–including our only venomous species, the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake–begin reproducing in late spring. By summer time, they give birth and their young begin to grow and hunt. Both young snakes and adults become more active during summer time, which means they may become more active near you.

Chances are you don’t want that, to say the least. Luckily, you don’t have to let sneaky summer snakes slither their way around your property unimpeded. Just like every other kind of pest, your least favorite reptiles come to your home looking for specific things. Taking those things away will drive them out and keep them from coming back. Here are the three best ways to keep snakes from troubling you this summer.   

Cover Control

keep snakes from accessing cover to keep them away from your homeSnakes are cold-blooded, which means they can’t regulate their own body temperatures the way mammals can. During summer, they have to stay in cool places or they’ll overheat and die. Snakes survive the hottest times of day by taking cover in underbrush and other forms of shade and shelter. Some even burrow under topsoil or dig makeshift hollows beneath rocks, wood piles, porches, or decks. Snakes remain stationary for most of the day, emerging to hunt only when temperatures fall around dusk.

Snakes need cover to survive, so naturally they tend to stay around areas where they can access it easily. Depriving the reptiles of opportunities to stay out of the sun will make your home inhospitable and unattractive to them. Try to clear clutter around your property as much as possible, especially near your home itself. Fence off outdoor gardens, especially if you use mulch or loose, thin topsoil. Check for areas around your deck or porch where snakes could access shade and block them off.

Lawn Maintenance

Keep your lawn well-maintained to keep snakes away from your homeSnakes rarely move around in broad daylight without cover. Not only would this tire them out and heat them up, it would also make them vulnerable. They need to move from place-to-place without exposing themselves to heat or predators. They accomplish this by slithering under tall grasses, brush, plant life, fallen foliage, and other natural cover. The easier it is to move around your yard in cover, the more comfortable the pests feel approaching your home.

The harder you can make it for snakes to sneak and slither their way around your property, the better. First, mow your lawn regularly. The longer your grass, the more cover it provides. Some of Michigan’s snakes get surprisingly small, so even slightly overgrown grass may suit them just fine. Make sure you also trim your bushes, ornamental shrubs, and other greenery. Try to reduce the number of “avenues” they can use to move through your yard as much as possible.

Rodent Removal

Remove snakes from your home to drive snakes away Yes, unfortunately rats and mice won’t leave you alone just because it’s summer time. Rodents will try to infiltrate homes to access food, shelter, and nesting material pretty much all year. Rats find their way into homes using their highly-developed senses. These senses lead them straight to tiny openings they can use to squeeze their way into your home. Some rats even carve their own paths indoors by damaging weatherstripping or chewing through worn caulk or insulation.

Unpleasant as this all sounds, you’re probably wondering what it has to do with snakes. As rodents hunt for ways into your home, snakes hunt them. Sometimes, they’ll even follow rats into your home while hunting them. Then not only do you have a rodent infestation, you have snakes in your home too! Try to find places where rats and mice could get into your home and seal them off. Pay particular attention to door and window frames and openings around utility lines. Preventing rodents from getting into your home well also deter snakes. If you need help getting the rodents out of your home once and for all, give Griffin a call anytime! 

 

Most of Michigan’s snakes may not be dangerous, but they’re certainly unpleasant. To avoid dealing with any slithering reptiles this summer, keep up with the simple maintenance projects outlined in all three tips.

It’s harder to get snakes out than it is to keep them from getting in, so stay proactive to have a snake-free summer!