Where Do Termites Go in the Winter?

Where Do Termites Go in the Winter?

Discovering termites can be a shock in the best of times. Discovering them in winter can be even more surprising. Unfortunately, everyone’s least favorite wood-muncher doesn’t always subscribe to seasonal behaviors. So, are termites active in winter? And where do they go anyway?

You might expect termites to go dormant or die out in the winter. If only. Sadly, the truth is termites will remain active all winter long if they can. They survive primarily by finding a nice, warm climate to hole up in. If you’re not careful, it could be your nice, warm climate. Because termites don’t slow down, we don’t either. Here’s what you should know about winter termites and how to stop them.

Where Termites Go in the Winter

where termites go in winter

While it’s true that termites remain active during winter, that doesn’t mean they can survive the cold. As cold-blooded insects, termites depend on their environment to provide them with the heat they need to survive. When temperatures drop below freezing, termites will die out unless they find cover. It just so happens they’re very good at finding that cover.

Once termites have a place to survive, they can keep moving, eating, and expanding their colony like always. In the wild, subterranean termites survive by burrowing deeper into the ground. As temperatures decrease, so will their movements to the point that they may appear dead or motionless. In most cases they are still alive. Drywood termites on the other hand can burrow into wooden logs but once the temperatures drop below freezing, they will die off.

The most common termite in Michigan is the Eastern Subterranean Termite (Reticulitermes flavipes). When the ground freezes, these termites simply dig their tunnels deeper. Eventually, part of the colonies’ “territory” is located beneath the frost line. Most of the termites stay in these tunnels for their whole lives. Workers, however, move in and out to connect the colony to its food source: wood.

What Termites Do in Winter

what termites do in winter

The same thing they always do – propagate! Of all the castes in a termite colony, only workers actually bore through wood. Worker termites dig through soil to expand the colony while simultaneously searching for food. When they find food, they eat through it, leaving behind hollowed-out tunnels. Termite workers carry the wood they eat back to the colony, where they use it to feed soldier and reproductive castes.

Over time, termites can significantly damage the wooden structures they feed on. Their continual feeding wears down the wood, and the tunnels they leave behind compromise its structural integrity. Meanwhile, reproductive termites continuously produce new workers to expand the colony. These workers will seek new food, and (of course) keep eating. The severity and range of termite-related wood damage will get worse and worse the longer an infestation lasts.

How Termites Enter Your Home

how termites get into your home over winter

Termites infest homes by accessing wood from the outside, near their subterranean colonies. They locate vulnerable wood by building complex networks of branching tunnels underground until they run up against it. When they find wood, they become devoted to stripping it of its cellulose for the colonies’ food source.

Termites use this same principle for infesting homes all year, even during the winter. They overcome the cold weather challenge by creating “exploratory tubes” out of mud and fecal material. They use these tubes to essentially extend their shelter up from the ground toward food sources. Exploratory tubes allow termites to access wood that’s touching or near soil without ever having to expose themselves to freezing cold.

How to Stop Them

how to stop termites this winter

The only way termites could access your home is by reaching a wooden structure while staying warm. Termite tunnels enable them to reach out of their colonies, but they can’t reach far.

Remove or protect wooden structures that are near soil. Wherever possible, ensure that wood doesn’t come within 18 inches of soil. Remove any wooden debris near your home, like stacks of lumber, firewood, sticks, trellises, or wood chips. Replace damaged wooden materials with non-cellulose alternatives or pressure-tested lumber.

By depriving termites of a way to get food, you’ll go a long way toward keeping them out. Remember that termites need moisture to survive, too. They’re attracted to wood that’s wet, in a humid place, or near wet soil. Reduce humidity and moisture in vulnerable areas like basements by patching drafts, repairing leaks, and dehumidifying. Make sure your downspouts, gutters, and sump pump drain moisture away from the building properly. The less suitable you can make your home for termites, the less interested they’ll be in infesting it.

Early Warning Signs of Termites

Unfortunate as it is to admit, termites continue to be a threat even in the dead of winter. Keeping your home safe from them means remaining vigilant all year long. Fortunately, termites are not unstoppable. If you keep a close eye out and follow the steps outlined above, you can ensure that nothing snacks on your home this winter.

Watch for mud tubes, termite holes and other signs of termite damage. Discarded wings from flying termites looking to establish a new colony is another sign you may have an infestation.

It’s Always Termite Season in Michigan

Spring, summer, fall, winter–no matter when you need termite help, remember that you can always call on Griffin Pest Solutions. We know how to find termites, wipe them out, and keep them from coming back. Protecting your property will be our pleasure!

 

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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Where Do Mosquitoes Go in Winter?

People like to venture to warmer climes during the winter. Snowbird grandparents flee to Arizona or Florida. Lucky vacationers take planes to anywhere they can find that isn’t covered in snow and ice. College kids escape abroad for their winter breaks. The only downside these individuals can find in traveling to warmer places is that warm weather means mosquitoes. During the winter, at least, they can avoid that particular creature. Right? 

Wrong! It’s a popular misconception that mosquitoes die off in the winter. That’s not quite what happens to them. If you’ve ever wondered where mosquitoes actually go when the snow starts to fall, you’re in the right place.

So: where do mosquitoes go in winter?

The answer to this question is different depending on the gender of the mosquito. Male mosquitoes don’t make it past autumn’s leaf fall. Their life span is, on average, no longer than ten days. Females, on the other hand, can survive the winter. 

They’re able to do this by going dormant – a state similar to hibernation. They’ll find a safe place like a hollow log, animal burrow, or out-of-the-way corner of someone’s home. Females can remain in this state throughout the winter, for up to six months. Now that you know where mosquitoes are during the winter, you’re probably wondering: what happens when they wake up again?

Is there anything I can do to prevent spring infestations?

In the spring, there aren’t any male mosquitoes around. Unfortunately, however the female mosquitoes waking up usually have eggs to deposit. This makes spring the most dangerous time for people who are wary of mosquito infestations. The females need blood to help their eggs develop, so when the weather warms they wake up and are out seeking blood. How do you prevent them from harassing you and your home? 

  • Use mosquito repellent outdoors. This won’t prevent infestations. It will, however, help you avoid aggressive biting from female mosquitoes during spring months. 
  • Use candles when you’re going to be outdoors. Mosquitoes are repelled by certain oils used in outdoor candles. Citronella, clove, cedarwood, lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass are all valid options. 
  • Remove any standing water from your property. This won’t keep them from biting, but it can help keep them from lingering. Mosquitoes need still, standing water to lay their eggs. Don’t let puddles develop on your property and they won’t have anywhere to infest.
  • Clean up random debris. Mosquitoes love standing water, yes, but it’s not the only place they’re willing to lay eggs. They can also make do with especially damp soil or debris with existing decay. This can include piles of leaves, mulch, or decaying woodpiles. Keep your outdoor space clean and free of decay to prevent mosquitoes from calling it their home.

It doesn’t matter the time of year – if you have a mosquito problem, Griffin Pest can help. Give us a call. Our experts can help diagnose and solve your pest problems, mosquito-based or otherwise. Not only can we remove existing infestations, but we can also teach you to better prevent future ones as well.

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How Do I Still Have Ants in Winter?

Ants are cold-blooded. In order to thrive and survive, they need an external source of warmth. Obviously, it gets considerably harder for ants to find these external sources in winter. Especially the ants that happen to live in Michigan. 

Despite the considerable adversity facing them each winter, ants are determined creatures. Subzero temperatures don’t stop their relentless drive to find food, shelter, and water. In order to find what they need this winter, ants will often attempt to infiltrate homes. Including your home, if you’re not careful. If you’re asking why you still have ants in winter, you’re in the right place. We’ll answer that question–along with how those ants got in and how to throw them out–below.

Why do I still have ants during the winter?

You have ants during the winter for the same reason you have them during spring, summer, or fall. Your home was easy to get inside and offered them the things they were looking for. If ants can’t find a home to infest, they’ll build their colonies and cluster under rocks, tree bark, decomposing leaves, or deep within the ground. If they can find a home, well… then there’s a problem. 

If they find a warm place (your house, for example) to nest in the winter, ants won’t need to cluster. They’ll instead be able to remain active throughout the entire year. Inside homes, they’re most commonly found inside walls, near pipes, inside molding, or under baseboards. They got inside by finding a breach in your home’s perimeter. It could have been crumbling brick, old boards, or a crack in the foundation.

What do they want?

Ants want what all common problem pests want: food, shelter, and water. If you’re reading this, it means you’re likely already facing an ant problem. That means they’ve already found one of the things they were looking for: shelter, warmth, and cover from the cold. That’s what brings them in. 

What makes ants stay after they get inside will be how well they can find food and water. Ants like sugar, fat, and protein-dense foods like meat, cheese, dried goods, peanut butter, baking materials, or pet food. Water is a less significant motivator since they require very little to sustain themselves. Ants are commonly found near hidden plumbing leaks because they like its easy, consistent moisture access. 

What can I do to prevent them?

That’s the most important question. If you don’t already have an ant problem, how can you prevent one from happening? Here are a few of our best ant exclusion tips:

  • Keep surfaces clean. Ants are scavengers. Their favorite places to find sustenance are on floors, garbage cans, and countertops. Keep dirty dishes out of the sink, wipe crumbs off the table, and mop residue off the floors.
  • Practice perimeter maintenance. Ants are tiny. It doesn’t take much for them to find a way inside your home. Just because it’s difficult to bar their entry doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, however. Follow their trails to see where they’re coming in. Find perimeter breaches and fix them with caulk, putty, or plaster as needed.
  • Spot the scouts. If you ever see a lone ant, it’s a scout. Scout ants are sent out by the colony to find sources of food or water. You want to prevent it from having a chance to communicate with the nest about anything it may have found.

Winter is a surprisingly busy time when it comes to pest infestations. That’s because, like ants, many other pests are seeking shelter from the cold. If, despite your best efforts, one of those pests finds its way inside your home – give Griffin a call. Our experts can both help you remove existing pests and prevent future ones.

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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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The Four Best Ways to Keep Mice Out of Your Home

Mouse hiding in household items

It’s easy to get discouraged about keeping mice out of your home. Virtually everyone has dealt with a mouse infestation at one time or another. It can feel like no matter what you do, mice can always find their way inside anyway. You might even start to assume they’ve have always been there!

Fortunately, that isn’t the case! Just because mice are good at getting into homes doesn’t mean you have to let them into yours. The rodents in your home weren’t always there. They found their way inside via a locatable and sealable access point. You can drive them back and keep them out. Here are the four best ways to prevent mice from getting into your home once and for all. Never give up!

Control Food Sources

Unsurprisingly, mice are not picky eaters. If they can chew on it, they will. Mice are particularly attracted to dry goods like cereal, pasta, bread crumbs, and simple sugars. They can also sustain themselves on very little food. Crumbs and leftovers you throw out or leave sitting are more than enough. Rodents will feed on non-human foods like birdseed and dry pet food in a pinch. They have incredibly sensitive noses and can easily smell your food through walls and packaging.

Restricting access to food sources is the most important way to keep mice out of your home. If mice can’t get what they need from you, they’ll go somewhere else to get it. Store all pantry goods inside airtight, hard plastic containers. Keep those containers elevated and sealed whenever you’re not using them. Clean up your food prep and dining areas as soon as you finish meals. Never leave food out for any period of time, even in the sink or the garbage can.

weatherstripping helps keep mice out of your home

Seal Doors and Windows

Doors and windows are the preferred access point for many varieties of common household pests like rodents. It makes sense when you think about it: doors and windows are natural ways to get inside. They’re literally big holes in your home’s walls! Mice sneak through tiny cracks and gaps between your doors or windows and their frames. Small openings in your frames form naturally over time as a result of wear-and-tear or warping.

Check every single door and window frame in your home. Examine the threshold around the door or window closely, looking for even the tiniest gap. Make sure the weatherstripping is sturdy and undamaged, in particular. Mice love to slip beneath worn-out weatherstripping to get inside. You should also double-check to make sure your doors and windows are seated in the frames properly. Fill in any gaps you find with caulk, and replace worn weatherstripping ASAP.

Fill In the Holes

The largest and widest part of a mouse’s body is its skull. If a mouse can fit its head through a gap, it can also fit its body through. In general, they can squeeze through any quarter-inch opening. That basically means that if you can see a gap, a mouse can probably use that gap. Mice find holes in walls, floors, foundations, and siding using their acute senses of smell and temperature sensitivity.

Starting in your basement, walk the perimeter of your home. Look for any cracks or gaps in your walls, baseboard, floor, or foundation. Try to feel for drafts and follow those drafts to their source. Any gap you notice is a gap that’s big enough to repair. Fill these in with caulk or steel wool. Pay special attention to areas where pipes and wires enter your building. Mice love to use utility lines as “highways” into your home.

Cleaning up clutter will help keep mice out of your home

Clear the Clutter

After food and water, shelter is the next-highest consideration for rodent pests when they choose where to live. Mice are naturally shy. They spend most of their days hunkered down and only come out to forage when they feel safe and protected. Indoors, mice dart from hiding place to hiding place until they find food. They’ll hide under boxes, furniture, paper, plastic, fabric, and more. They also tend to gnaw on whatever they’re near.

A surprisingly easy way to keep mice away from your home is to simply keep things tidy. The fewer hiding places you give pests, the less secure they’ll feel sneaking around your home. Keep storage boxes and other stored materials organized and elevated when you’re not using them. Don’t store anything loose on the floor, especially in your basement or closets. If you can keep mice uncomfortable, they won’t want to stick around for long.

By following these four steps, you’ll go a long way toward keeping mice out for good. If you already have mice in your home, however, you’ll have to take a few extra steps. When it comes to mouse removal, the best thing you can do is call in the pros.

If you have a mouse problem, give Griffin Pest Solutions a call any time. No matter how your mice got in, we’ll drive them back out and make sure they don’t come back. Remember: preventing mice isn’t impossible! You can make your home a pest-free zone, permanently. And we can help.