Identify the pests which are bugging you: A guide to Northern Michigan
Following is a quick guide to identifying the types of bugs, pests and rodents
which may be bugging you in your northern Michigan
home or business. All of the following pests are commonly found in Antrim
& Charlevoix counties - including the cities of Charlevoix and Traverse
Ants are this nation's leader in pest infestation. Controlling ants -
carpenter, field and slab ants in particular - are extremely difficult.
There are hundreds of different ant classifications. They vary by size
and color, but they are all the same species.
Carpenter ants live in the
wood from which your home is built. Field ants live in your lawn. Slab
ants are tiny creatures which live in the dirt under your slab of material
and generally are seen in large clusters.
Some ants enter your home or business through the smallest of cracks -
searching-out water sources and sweet or greasy foods left in your kitchen
and other storage areas. Ants also leave an invisible chemical pheromone
trail which tells others where to follow. They'll nest anywhere in your
structure - including lawns, walkways, walls, stumps and under foundations.
Ant colonies can grow to nearly a half-million and live for as long as
15 years. Do-it-yourself remedies are often ineffective because home treatments
don't factor-in that different ant types require different types of treatments.
Ladybugs - technically named ladybird beetles- are about the size of 1/2
pea. They're predators which feed mainly on plant-eaters. They seek-out
warm spots in the cold months and have toxic effects on animals. They're
more of a nuisance than a threat.
Everyone in northern Michigan has encountered centipedes. Their elongated,
flat and segmented bodies are host to small mouths and claw-like appendages
which contain venomous glands. Most centipedes are carnivorous and seek
food at night. They use their claws to paralyze their victims - including
worms and spiders. They hide in damp areas near bathrooms and basements.
While they help with the extermination of pests like cockroaches and houseflies,
they also produce painful bites.
Cockroaches possess the biggest "gross-out" factor in pest control.
They enter your home or business in many ways - through outside cracks,
sewer and drain pipes, and from "carry-in" sources such as boxes
and shopping bags. Every home is an ideal breeding ground for cockroaches.
They simply seek food, water and warmth. They reproduce quickly - even
quicker than mice or rats. These bad-boys flourish at night. If you see
one (especially during the day) then there's a strong possibility that
there are hundreds or thousands more creeping around at night. Self-treatment
is fruitless. Cockroaches are nature's enemy to insecticides. The only
way to rid your structure of cockroaches is to call a pest control technician
Earwigs are a common, beetle-like pest commonly found in northern Michigan
homes and businesses. These fast-moving insects are about 1/2 inch long
and posses both chewing mouths and pinchers. They love to hide in cracks
and under bark or other wooden surfaces. While they don't offer harm to
humans, their dead carcasses produce foul smells.
Nearly everyone owning a pet has been faced with these household pests.
They're external parasites which attach themselves to the skin of their
"hosts". They're only about 1/8" long and reddish-brown
in color. They're covered with microscopic hair allowing them to maneuver
in animal fur. They jump from host to host - including humans. They work
their way into homes through dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, rats and
Flea eggs are laid in carpets,
bedding and furniture. Fleas won't succumb to single treatments. Several
visits will most likely be necessary. Do-it-yourselfers can forget it
when it comes to these pests.
Flies carry diseases. LOTS of diseases including Salmonella, Staphylococcus
and E. Coli. These "pathogens" translate into typhoid fever,
cholera, bacillary dysentery, hepatitis, ophthalmia, polio, tuberculosis
and infantile diarrhea. While cleanliness is important, accurate pest
identification is critical to help ensure successful pest control for
Flies have a very short life
span - from days to months. Northern Michigan's 16,000 varieties of flies
produce more than a million baby flies in as little as 6 weeks. Fly "guts"
may contain up to 33 million micro-organisms and another 500 million which
often swarm its exterior frame. Because they fly back-and-forth from rotten,
disease-laden garbage and flesh to human foods and utensils, they are
amongst the most dangerous of pests. Often times, they land - then deposit
thousands of bacteria. Fly swatters aren't enough.
Mice invade homes and businesses seeking food, water and warmth. A single
pair of mice can produce up to 200 offspring in as little as 4 months.
And they'll contaminate many times more food in your home than they can
eat. Look for droppings and nesting (small shredded scraps of paper and
Michigan - especially northern Michigan - is paradise for these irritating,
blood-sucking pests. They love our humid summer climate - especially when
near to our many, many lakes and other bodies of water. They lay their
larvae in our waters - then destroy our summer activities. No further
Rats & other rodents
Rats and other rodents are brilliant at resisting pest
control measures. Baits and traps are almost useless. They colonize in
attics, burrows, under porches, in walls, and in other nearly-impossible
to reach places. They host and transmit many diseases. They also play
host to fleas, lice and ticks.
Spiders claim residence in and around all types of northern Michigan structures.
Antrim county is loaded with these pests which prefer climates exactly
like those found in northern Michigan. They love wooded and heavily-shrubbed
environments - especially when near water. Spiders leave waste which destroys
wood, vinyl and paint. A single small, sack-like nest can produce hundreds
of offspring. Spider varieties particularly fond of northern Michigan,
Antrim County, Traverse City and Charlevoix include the woodland, wolf,
orb and brown reclues spiders (which can be life threatening).
The disadvantage to these pests is obvious. Bees, wasps, hornets and yellow
jackets love northern Michigan and create their nests everywhere. They
love sunny warm spots and burrow nest in holes and under the eves - so
that they're protected from the weather. A favorite spot for them is under
the railing on the deck and in the holes and cracks of furniture. If they
build nests on higher surfaces we remove the nests and the problem.
If your stinging pest is a honey bee (they are our friends), give us a
call and we'll know what to do.