Why Do I Have Stink Bugs This Winter?

Stink bug during winter

Stink bugs typically enter a state of dormancy called diapause in winter. Unless, of course, they can find a heat source to sustain them. If they do find a heat source–say your home–they can remain active all year. Any stink bugs in your home will seek hiding places to wait out the winter. They’ll almost leave you alone… but the smell might not.

Obviously, nobody wants stink bugs in their house in winter, but how do you get rid of stink bugs? Especially if you have an infestation? And what draws them to some buildings over others? Here’s how you can find (and remove) stink bugs in your home this winter:

Signs of Stink Bugs in Winter

To tell if you have a stink bug infestation, look for these signs that they may be nearby:

  • Live bugs. Stink bugs’ bodies are brown or black and shaped like a shield. They have spots of lighter coloring around the edge of their body, six legs, and antenna. If you see one, then there are almost certainly more nearby. If you see one moving around inside your home, then you probably have an infestation. 
  • Dead bugs. Pay attention to the entry points in your home, including door frames, windows, and baseboards. Stink bugs congregate around heat sources, especially in fall and winter. When they find cracks and gaps around these heat sources, they push and squeeze their way through. Sometimes, not all the bugs will make it all the way through. You might find the bodies of less-fortunate members of the party around door and window frames, baseboards, and utility lines.
  • Stink. Stink bugs… got their name for a reason. When they feel threatened, these bugs secrete a foul-smelling liquid in defense. If you smell a pungent odor like rotten vegetables or cilantro, it may be a stink bug. Stink bug liquid secretions are a pale-yellow color and can stain surfaces over time. They also use this scent to attract others when to sources of food and shelter.

Why my home?

Stink bugs come into homes looking for shelter, water, and food. Their preferred food source is sugar and they’re fond of overripe fruit. They’ll also congregate around the food waste in trash cans or beneath cupboards and the dishwasher. 

Sugar isn’t the only stink bug draw. They also gather around light and other heat sources. They’ll be particularly noticeable at night, when you’ll see them scurrying around outdoor light bulbs or indoor lamps. Food or heat sources could be reasons why you have a stink bug problem.

How to Prevent Stink Bugs

Keep stink bugs from bothering your property by taking some of the following steps: 

Keep stink bugs from bothering your property by taking some of the following steps: 

  • Minimize outdoor lighting. Don’t keep any outdoor lighting on unless it’s necessary. The more bugs your lights draw to the surface of your home, the higher the odds that at least some of the congregation will find its way inside.
  • Rub your window screens with dryer sheets. This sounds weird, but it’s an easy prevention tactic. The fragrance of your average scented dryer sheet is unpleasant to a stink bug. Rub them on your window screens when doing regular cleaning as a simple exclusion effort. 
  • Fix plumbing leaks. Stink bugs are drawn to moisture they can access without drawing attention to themselves. This is most easily found near hidden plumbing leaks in faucets and pipe joints and under counters and cabinets.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

Stink bugs will usually naturally leave your home in spring when they re-emerge from dormancy. We recommend leaving the cracks and crevices where they might enter diapause in your home alone until then. If you seal up their hiding places, stink bugs will die inside your home. When stink bugs die, they secrete their odor–which contains a pheromone that attracts more stink bugs. They also secrete this odor when you crush them or when they find good hiding places.

If you notice active stink bugs inside, vacuum them up (don’t crush them!). Dispose of the vacuum bag outside of your home. Whenever you remove bugs from a surface, clean that surface with ammonia and/or soapy water. This will help remove pheromone secretions and keep more the bugs away. Focus on exclusion methods until you’re sure all the stink bugs are gone. If you trap or kill too many of the bugs, it’ll only exacerbate your problem.

Stink Bugs, How to Get Rid of Them for Good

Do stink bugs die in winter? Not if they’re in your home. Obviously, we understand if you don’t want to simply wait until spring for your stink bugs to leave your home. If you want them gone nowgive Griffin Pest Solutions a call. We’re your pest control experts in winter and all seasons for Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.


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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!

Where Do Flies Come From in Winter?

Winter fly image

Having flies in your home is never fun, but during the winter it’s down-right intolerable. After everything else you have to put up with, you don’t even get a break from pests? Unfortunately, flies are surprisingly common indoor pests during the winter. They might be around even if you can’t see them!

Winter flies may seem inexplicable, but, as always, there’s a pretty straight forward reason they’re in your home. Learning why your flies are around and what they want will help you make sure they can’t get it. Here’s all the info you should know about flies in winter, including how to keep them out.

How do flies survive winter?

There are hundreds of thousands of common fly species, and they deal with winter in all kinds of ways. “Filth” flies like blow flies, fruit flies, and phorid flies tend to live in and around garbage all year. During the winter, they simply nestle into garbage in sheltered areas and hunker down to preserve heat.

Other flies, such as face and cluster flies, lay eggs in warm areas during the fall. The flies laying the eggs dies of natural causes, but their offspring hatch all winter. Once the offspring are inside, they can continue reproducing, laying eggs, and hatching. Larger flies, like cluster flies, may also enter the state of diapause to preserve energy and body heat.

What are the flies inside my home?

What are the flies inside my home?

The flies most likely to bother you in your home this winter are cluster flies, fruit flies, or house flies. Fruit flies and cluster flies are particularly common in Michigan, even during the winter. These flies are easy to tell apart: fruit flies are tiny, lightly-colored flies with big red eyes. Cluster flies are big, stocky flies with dark coloration.

Unsurprisingly, fruit flies are most common around your kitchen. They seek out warm, moist places where they can access food. Adult fruit flies lay eggs in rotting fruit and plant material. They may live in and around your garbage or drain. Cluster flies are common around windows, attics, and basements. They look for warm, secluded places where they can huddle together and enter diapause. Cluster flies occasionally re-emerge on warm days to regain heat and energy.

How do flies get inside my home?

Cluster flies work their way into homes starting in late summer and fall. They cluster together in large groups on the sides of walls to soak up sun and stay warm. As temperatures cool, the flies look for cracks and gaps they can use to stay out of the wind. Often, these cracks may lead them into your home, either behind the walls or in attics and basements. Common access points include cracks under baseboard, windows or door trim, and around fans, lights, or utilities.

Fruit flies may infiltrate your home by hiding inside grocery bags or other transported food materials. Fruit fly eggs are tiny and very difficult to see. If you accidentally bring a couple eggs indoors, those eggs may hatch and grow into an infestation. Adult fruit flies can also sense rotting or fermenting material and follow it back to your home. They may lay their eggs around your garbage or other areas where they can find rotting food.

What do flies want?

What do flies want?

Without warm, secluded shelter, flies can’t survive freezing temperatures. Most common flies can’t hibernate, either, which means they need a shelter where they can access food. If you have flies, it means your home provides both of these things. Cluster flies look for warm, hidden areas where they can remain dormant for long periods. They won’t eat much, reproduce, or cause any real damage. The only time you may see them is during warm days, when they may emerge.

Fruit flies might be more annoying. They will eat, reproduce, and infest food supplies. Fruit flies attach themselves to any fermenting or rotting food–not just fruit. They’ll work their way into the rotting food to lay eggs and feed continuously. Like cluster flies, they need their food sources to be in warm places to survive. Fruit fly eggs will also die if exposed to freezing temperatures, so fruit flies have several incentives to get inside.

How can I get rid of flies?

Cluster flies are difficult to control in winter, because they may already be hiding in your walls. If you try sealing their access points now, you may trap the flies in your walls. That could create a mess and attract other, even less pleasant pests. When spring comes, cluster flies will typically leave your home to warm up outside. Until then, we recommend swatting or vacuuming the flies you encounter and leaving the rest alone.

Getting rid of fruit flies means wiping out their food and shelter sources. Look for any sources of rotting or fermenting food inside your home. Clear and clean out each of your garbage bins. Sanitize the places where you keep your garbage. Seal off possible access points around food, such as window frames in your kitchen or dining room. Fruit flies can squeeze through the smallest of gaps, so be thorough! Make sure you check around utility lines like pipes and electrical, too.‌

The good news is, flies aren’t really a big deal. None of the common flies that get in your home can hurt you or your stuff. At worst, you should consider them an annoyance. The bad news is, even if they’re “just” an annoyance, they’re still… annoying.

Luckily, you don’t have to deal with your flies. When you decide enough is enough, just give Griffin Pest Solutions a call. We’ll wipe out your flies so you can get back to enjoying (or at least tolerating) your winter in peace.

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Intercepting Stink Bugs in the Wintertime

Intercepting Stink Bugs

Unlike many other pests in our part of the world, stink bugs don’t infest homes during the spring or summer. Instead, Michigan’s newest neighbor tends to start infesting homes in late fall and early winter. If you see a stink bug in your home come early spring, it’s probably because it spent winter with you.

We know that’s not exactly great news. Stink bugs survive winter by getting cozy in shelter and basically going dormant until spring comes. But, as we keep our homes nice and warm, it’s not uncommon to see a few stink bugs in your home during the winter. If you don’t want to run into them in a few months, you should consider intercepting them now. Here’s everything you need to know to do it.

How They Survive

How stink bugs survive winterWhen temperatures drop, stink bugs enter a special hibernation-like state called diapause. Diapause dramatically slows down the stink bug’s metabolism, allowing it to survive without food for long periods of time. Instead of feeding, stink bugs in diapause burn through nutrients they spent the spring and summer stockpiling. Basically, they fatten themselves up for winter just like squirrels.

Stink bugs have to enter diapause in winter because the fruits, seeds, and nuts they feed on aren’t available. It solves their food problem, but they’re on their own when it comes to the cold problem. Stink bugs are native to Southeast Asia, and never developed adaptations to help them survive cold. Even if they entered diapause outside, their bodies would freeze and they would die. Unfortunately, that’s where your home comes in. Stink bugs try to sneak into structures for one reason: to keep warm and sleep away the winter.

Where They Go

where stink bugs go in winterStink bugs enter buildings via the same access points most pests find. Usually, they crawl through cracks and crevices around door and window frames or utility lines. Stink bugs fly and climb surfaces, so they may use vents, chimneys, or roofing damage to get in, as well. It’s only after stink bugs infiltrate a home successfully that their behavior becomes a bit more unique.

When stink bugs enter diapause, they can’t move and only have a minimal awareness of their surroundings. They have to be very careful about where they enter diapause if they ever want to wake back up! Once inside, stink bugs shack up in the quietest, most inaccessible or forgotten part of your home. They might be in air vents, under appliances, behind walls or flooring, or even hiding inside furniture. You’ll probably never find stink bugs inside unless you go looking for them.

Are they a Problem?

are stink bugs a problem in winter?No. When stink bugs enter homes, it’s only ever to stay warm while they sleep away the winter. They don’t eat or infest your food, damage structural material, create nests, mate, or lay eggs. In fact, stink bugs won’t begin their mating season or lay eggs in spring until after they’ve left your home. Pretty considerate of them, really. The pests don’t transmit diseases or harm humans and pests in any other way, either.

That being said, there is the matter of their name. Stink bugs… stink. When threatened or startled, they secrete a foul-smelling liquid from a scent gland. The scent has been compared to cilantro or coriander. The secretion is mostly harmless, though it may trigger allergic reactions or stain fabrics in concentrated amounts. Stink bugs may also produce a pheromone that attracts other stink bugs to their location. A lot of stink bugs aren’t any more dangerous or destructive than a few, but they are stinkier.  

What To Do About Them

what to do about stink bugsFirst, vacuum up the stink bugs you find with a shop vac. Remove and dispose of the vacuum bag into an outdoor dumpster when you’re finished. Clean the surfaces where you find stink bugs with soapy water and a washcloth. Try not to crush stink bugs when you find them, because they’ll release their scent on death. Remember to check the secluded or hidden areas where stink bugs like to hide. Cleaning these areas regularly will make them far less attractive to the pest.

When you’ve removed all the stink bugs you can find, focus on locating where they got in. Look for cracks and crevices around baseboards, door and window frames, the foundation, or insulation. Seal up cracks with caulk to prevent additional bugs from following residual scent left behind by the first infestation. Stink bugs’ bodies are quite flat, so even small cracks provide them with enough room to sneak through.

 

Stink bugs aren’t the most disruptive of winter pests, but you shouldn’t have to share your home with them. Come spring, any stink bugs you don’t find now will make themselves apparent, often in upsetting ways. Luckily, by getting to know stink bugs and following these steps, you can ensure that doesn’t happen.

And if ever you need some help ensuring that doesn’t happen, you know who to call. We’ve been fighting stink bugs since they showed their ugly mugs in Michigan, and we’re pretty good at it. Give us a call anytime and we’ll make sure you head into spring smelling good.

What Pest Control Can Do For You This Winter

What Pest Control Can Do For You This Winter

Who doesn’t love wintertime? It’s the time of year where you spend more time inside, enjoying time with your loved ones relaxing and staying as cozy as possible. You get holidays and hot cocoa, vacations and vivacity.

For many homeowners, there is another (slightly less common) thing to look forward to: not having to worry about future or ongoing pest problems. While this isn’t entirely untrue, we’re here to caution you: just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that you’re free from the dangers of potential pest infestations. Let us lay it out for you…

So, where do insects and other pests go during the wintertime?

There are a few distinct patterns most pests follow during winter: migration, overwintering, hibernation, or (our least favorite) hiding inside, whatever the cost.

  • Most birds, pest birds included, migrate during the wintertime by flying to warmer climes. Migration is great for homeowners because it gets birds out of your hair for a whole season.
  • Many varieties of insect, including honeybees and box elders, go through a process called “overwintering”. Creatures that overwinter essentially halt most of the activity within their nervous system to wait out the winter. This can be problematic, because in many cases, these pests try to overwinter somewhere warm and out of the way… like your garage or attic.
  • Hibernation is something more commonly attributed to mammals than insects but pests like ladybugs, mosquitoes, and paper wasps will hibernate during winter. They either form cocoons to hide within or go into a long term semi-sleep until the weather warms. Just like overwintering, pests can consider the inside of your home a good place to hibernate.
  • Last but not least is “hiding inside, whatever the cost”. Lots of potential pests like this option, including mice, rats, and many variety of cockroach. During the transitionary period between fall and winter, pest problems occur as these pests and more try to get ahead of changing temperatures.

What happens to them when the weather warms up again?

In spring, pests wake up feeling hungry and return to their nearest and dearest source of food. In many cases, this can be your home. This is especially true for creatures like mosquitoes that thrive in moisture-rich climates (melting snow, rain storms, etc).

Birds that previously called your home theirs will migrate back, as well. Long story short, all these potential pests are going to be looking for something, whether it’s a place to hang out, food to eat, or people to bother.

What should I do to protect my home from them?

There are a lot of preventative measures you can take to keep pests from taking up home inside your house during winter. Stay on top of cracks and holes on the outside of your home. Replace any loose mortar or weather stripping you come across. Keep firewood stored far away from your home, so pests don’t see it as an easy way to jump from one warm place to another.

Keep things organized and don’t give any variety of pest an opportunity to hide in the messes that tend to come with holiday frenzy. Make sure your attic, basement, and any crawl spaces are dry and ventilated well to keep things fresh and unappealing to dirty, dust-loving bugs.

 

Sometimes, even when we make our best effort to keep our home protected and your family safe from pests, they still find a way in. If you’ve done your due diligence and still find yourself facing a problem, don’t worry – just call the experts at Griffin Pest Solutions. We’ll take care of the problem before the spring thaw, guaranteed.

Holiday Humbugs to Watch Out For This Winter

Holiday Humbugs to Watch Out For

The Holidays are a unique time of year. You travel to places you don’t usually visit, do things you don’t usually do, with people you don’t usually see. All this new activity can feel refreshing and exciting, but it can also come with new concerns and stresses.

Yes, there are the obvious Holiday stressors–family fights, obnoxious in-laws, cramped living quarters–but there are less-obvious concerns to keep in mind, too. Chief among them: pests. Believe it or not, even the most wonderful time of year isn’t safe from everyone’s least favorite (well, almost everyone’s least favorite) house guests. Lots of pests take the hustle and bustle of the Holidays as the perfect opportunity to invite themselves over.

Here’s how they do it, and how to keep them out:

Bed Bugs

Holiday bed bugsBed bugs hide in dark, confined places and remain perfectly still for hours on end. These dark, confined spaces aren’t just beds, either. Bed bugs often hide in suitcase, bags, and other common travel gear. If travelers fail to notice the bed bugs when they pack, then the pest can easily spread to each location visited. Your mom brings her own pillow over because yours are “too hard”, and all of a sudden you have bed bugs in your home for the Holidays. Thanks a lot, Karen.

The best way to prevent bed bugs is to carefully inspect stuff moving into and out of your home. Run clothing, sheets, bags, and other cloth items through the dryer (on the highest heat setting) for about 20 minutes before unpacking them. While you’re away, keep your clothing sealed in plastic travel bags when you’re not wearing it. Keep your travel bags closed tight and elevated anytime you’re not going through them.

Moths

holiday mothsThere are two types of common pest moths: pantry-infesting moths and fabric-infesting moths. Unfortunately, both can be a problem during the holiday season. If fabric moths infest cloth decorations, they might be reproducing year-round. When you take your decorations out of storage for the holidays, you unleash them into your home like a tomb raider uncovering an ancient civilization’s curse. Clean all your decorations before you unpack them to save yourself a major headache.

Pantry-infesting moths are a little easier to figure out. These pests love sugary carbs. Holiday baking leads to big holiday baking messes. Big holiday baking messes lead to spilled flour, misplaced sugar, and excess crumbs. Accessible food… leads to moths all-too happy to eat that food. Clean your kitchen and keep your pantry tidy to ensure that Santa is the only home invader eating the cookies you leave out this Holiday season.

Spiders

holiday spidersRemember when we covered how spiders survive winter last month? Well, it turns out Christmas trees are a great place for spiders to build their aforementioned winter shelters. They make their way through pine branches until they find a sturdy spot. Then, they build a casing of webbing for themselves using the branches as support.

When spiders start to feel warm, they make their way out of their shelters to start eating and mating. Imagine a spider’s surprise when burrow out of their webs, only to find they’ve been transported into a person’s home? Inspect your Christmas tree carefully before you bring it inside. Consider using a handheld shopvac to vacuum up any cobwebs hanging near the tree’s trunk. Spiders can build their webs just about anywhere, so be thorough.

Mice

holiday miceUnfortunately, “not a creature was stirring–not even a mouse” is not always true of the night before Christmas. The Holiday season tends to be prime time for rodential raiders. Mice have an extremely powerful sense of smell. Not only can they sense food through tiny cracks in walls, they can sense specific information about that food. If they “smell” food that’s ripe for stealing, you’ll wind up with more house guests than you can handle!

Mice are attracted to food they can steal, moisture they can access when they need it, and warmth. They sneak through small cracks in the wall in pursue of food smells. There are ways to ward them off, however. First, store all your food in airtight containers when you’re not eating it. Next, check your plumbing for leaks mice could use as tiny water fountains. Finally, update weatherproofing, particularly around doors and windows. Mice are tenacious and stubborn, but they’re not Santa Claus; they can’t magically access your home.

 

Stressful as they can be, the holidays are ultimately supposed to be a joyful, refreshing time of year. Pests are neither joy-inducing nor refreshing, so they’ve got no business bugging you this Holiday season.

If you need some help kick your pests to the curb this winter, give Griffin Pest Solutions a call any time. We may not be Santa, but we can spread a different kind of Holiday cheer. A distinctly more John McClane type of holiday cheer. Now you have no pests. Ho Ho Ho.