Friday, October 8, 2010

How do Bed Bugs Spread? The Story of the Brown Chair.

One of the most common questions asked about bed bugs is How Do People Get Them?

Last weekend, a dear friend of ours, Carol, tripped over a childproof gate at the bottom of her stairs and broke her ankle. Carol is a wife, mother, grandmother, and active member of the community.

Carol ended up in a large hospital for three days. During her stay, Carol was put in a patient room with a sofa and a stuffed, brown chair for visitors. On the first day of Carol’s stay, her whole family was there for her; her husband, her son, her two daughters, daughter and sons-in-law, along with multiple grandchildren.

Several of Carol’s family took turns sitting in the brown chair. When one of her son-in-laws sat in the brown chair, he thought he felt something biting him and mentioned to the nurse’s station, that he thought there might be something in Carol’s room. The nurse did a quick inspection, but did not see anything.

That afternoon, Carol’s friends from church showed up. They brought the usual assortment of balloons and flowers. And, one of the church deacons sat in the brown chair this time. The deacon didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

The next morning, the gardening club ladies showed up. The ladies took turns sitting in the brown chair. They noticed something biting them immediately and mentioned this to Carol. Carol remembered her son-in-law complaining the night before, so the nurse was called again. This was a different nurse. This time the nurse, upon inspecting the chair, saw a small dark red insect along the seam. This nurse had already been trained in the identification of bed bugs and in the hospital’s bed bug action plan. He immediately reported the sighting and began the process to correct the situation.

Carol and her clan were moved to a different room. The room with the brown chair was quarantined and treated for bed bugs.

But, that’s not the end of the story, it’s just the beginning. During the treatment, 20 adult bed bugs and several babies emerged from the folds of the brown chair. At least 4 people sat directly in the brown chair.

o The son-in-law had left to go back to work at his financial planning firm, a large office building downtown, with 11 floors.
o An adult granddaughter took the train back to Chicago where she attends college. She lives in a dorm on campus with 3 other girls.
o Carol’s other grandchildren attend daycare and middle school.
o The deacon didn’t go directly home, he visited another parishioner in the same hospital.
o The gardening club ladies? After visiting with Carol, some of them returned home, while others went out to lunch and then window shopping at the mall.

The long and short of this story, getting bed bugs is as easy as catching a cold. Bed bugs are really a communicable disease and are treated so by public health departments. How do you catch a cold? By being around people with colds or touching surfaces that someone with a cold has touched recently. Unfortunately, washing your hands won’t protect you from bed bugs.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Buyer Beware!

The Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Bed Bug Products

Bed bugs are everywhere in the news and consumers are looking for solutions. They’re searching the internet for that magic bullet. Of course the internet is full of answers, but doesn’t distinguish between good and bad choices. The bed bug pandemic is a perfect opportunity for scam artists to take advantage of people who are desperate for help. So keep these tips in mind for when you can’t sleep tight.

Ordering pesticides off the internet is a bad idea. DON’T DO IT!

  • You have no way of knowing what you are really buying.
  • Pesticides banned in the US are often still available in other countries.
  • Sellers may intentionally misrepresent their products as bed bug solutions, when in fact; they are worthless in controlling bed bugs.
  • Some products should not be used indoors or around people or pets.
  • At one time, DDT was effective at killing bed bugs, but now DDT is ineffective against many of the current bed bug strains.
  • Most insecticides are not effective at killing bed bugs, or they kill bed bugs very slowly.

If you do choose to try an over-the-counter pesticide for bed bugs, or any other insect, please remember…the label is the law and the label matters. The label is there to ensure your health and safety.

  • If the product is not labeled for bed bugs or not labeled for the treatment area, do not use it. Doing so puts people and pests at risk.
  • Over-application or misapplications are real problems. Follow the label exactly. More is not always better.

There are safe and effective ways to eliminate bed bugs. We encourage you to contact a pest management professional in your area who will outline all the options available to you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bed Bug Travel Tips

With so many people traveling over the summer months, we thought if best to offer a few travel tips to help reduce your risk of getting bed bugs. Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and travel on your belongings. The more you can minimize your possible contact with them, the less likely it is that you will bring them home with you.

1) Do Your Research - Before you book your hotel, check out sites like or to see if anyone has posted bed bug issues at your hotel. If they have, choose another hotel. Just because your hotel is not listed, does not mean they are without bed bugs. They may still have an issue, but no one has posted anything yet.

2) Pack a Flashlight – Our entire staff travels with flashlights. It’s your best tool in helping to determine if your hotel room has bed bugs. When you arrive at the hotel, if possible, leave your luggage in the car when you check in. Take your flashlight and inspect the mattress and bed. Remove the sheets and look for small rust dots (about the size of pencil eraser head). These will be blood stains. If you see nothing on the mattress, check behind the headboard. If you can take it off the wall, or shake it, go ahead. If you see the rust spots, insect skins or insects, inform the manager and check out!

3) Don’t Put Luggage on the Bed – No one from our office will put their luggage on the bed, furniture or luggage rack. Our suitcases go in the bath tub. I admit, it’s not very convenient, but better safe than sorry. My luggage never leaves the bathroom.

4) Pack Giant Zip Lock Bags – All of my clothes go into a giant zip lock bag before my trip home….even if I didn’t wear them. You can get a box at any grocery store for under $5. Don’t skimp…the bags must seal tight!

5) Don’t Bring Your Luggage in Your House – Once you get home, don’t bring your luggage in your house. You will need to remove everything from your luggage and vacuum thoroughly, inside and out. Vacuum, remove the vacuum bag, seal it tight in a plastic bag and throw it in your outside garbage. If you can make a stop at the car wash with a coin operated vacuum, on the way home, do it!

6) Dry Your Clothes – Take your zip lock bags and empty them directly into your dryer. Set on the hottest setting and leave clothes in there for at least 30 minutes. Don’t fill the dryer too full. You need the hot air to circulate. Shoes too if they can tolerate it (like sneakers). No need to wash clothes first. It will do no good.

This all may seem obsessive and anal…but trust us; it is well worth the hassle. These simple steps could save you not only from red, itchy welts which can be caused by bed bug bites…but also save you thousands of dollars in bed bug extermination costs.

For more information about bed bugs, visit our website.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

10 Bed Bug Truths and Myths

Like many of you, I have Google Alerts set up for my industry, particularly for hot topics…like bed bugs. Let me tell you…the more news stories and blogs I read/see about bed bugs, the more I get peeved about bad bed bug information. So I’m going to set the record straight!

Myth #1 – Bed Bugs Are A Myth
Bed bugs are NOT a myth. They are real creatures whose meal of choice is human blood. Consider them the vampires of the pest world. And no, garlic will not keep them away.

Myth #2 – Bed Bugs Are Too Small To See
Adult bed bugs are the size, shape and color of an apple seed. Break out your bifocals if you need to. Trust me, you can see them.

Myth #3- Bed Bugs Are A Sanitation Issue
Take 2 houses side-by-side. One is occupied by an obsessive compulsive neat freak and the other is so full of garbage and junk it would be better to burn it down than empty it out. They are equally likely to get bet bugs. Bed bugs are not a sanitation issue. They are a human issue.

Myth #4 – If You Throw Away Your Mattress, You Will Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs will not magically go away just because you throw out your mattress. Bug bugs generally they live within 10 feet of where you sleep. In fact, if you throw out your mattress, you have likely spread the problem by dragging your mattress down the hallway and depositing bed bugs along the way.

Myth #5 – I Can’t See Them So I Must Not Have Them
Bed bugs are nocturnal…meaning they come out at night to feed. So unless you are jumping up in the middle of the night and turning on the light, odds are you won’t see them…until it is too late. Bed bugs can hide anywhere including in furniture cracks, behind picture frames, in electrical outlets, in books, clothes, stuffed animals…you name it. Go ahead; draw a 10 foot radius around your bed.

Myth #6 – I Don’t Have Any Bug Bites, So I Must Not Have Bed Bugs
More than 50% of people who are bitten by bed bugs never show any signs of being bitten. So just because your husband has welts all over his body and you don’t, doesn’t mean you aren’t the meal of choice. Trust me. Bed bugs are not that picky.

Myth #7 – Over-The-Counter Pesticides Will Solve My Problem
It is well documented that bed bugs are becoming increasingly resistant to pesticides. Even pest control companies have to change up their arsenal of what they can use to help solve bed bug infestations. You’re kidding yourself if you think some powder or spray you bought at a big box store is going to do the trick. You’ll be wasting your time and money…not be mention your blood. And one more thing; more is not always better. If you insist on trying this method, please, please, please follow the label.

Myth #8 – Any Pest Control Professional Can Solve My Bed Bug Problem
In this instance, cheaper is not always better. We have quoted lots of bed bug jobs and not gotten them because we weren’t the cheapest. Many times those people have called back to hire us later because the cheap guy didn’t get the job done. Save yourself some money, frustration and blood. Go with experience when it comes to bed bugs.

Myth #9 – Bed Bugs Cause Diseases
There is no known evidence that bed bugs cause disease. There is both good and bad in this statement. If bed bugs did transmit diseases, the government would quickly make bed bugs a priority. But because they simply feed on humans and infest homes, apartments, hotels, movie theaters, schools, hospitals, buses, etc. it’s really no big deal.

Myth #10 – Bed Bugs Are Contributing to Global Warming
Seriously? I couldn’t believe this when I read it! So when bed bugs were infesting the earth back in the 1930’s and ‘40’s, where was the global warming?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Don't seal up bee or wasp holes! You’ll be sorry!

Every summer, we get calls from homeowners with the same ol' story. "A few days ago, I had some bees drilling into the side of my house, so I sprayed them and then sealed up the hole. I thought that would take care of them. Now, I've got 1,000 bees in my bedroom and part of my ceiling is on the floor! I didn't know bees could eat through drywall."

This is such a common mistake that Griffin Pest Solutions gets these calls a couple hundred times each season from frantic homeowners who can’t even enter their home.

Attention homeowners! If you see bees, wasps, or yellow jackets going into a small hole in the side of your house or under the eaves, etc... but you can't see their hive or nest, DO NOT SEAL UP THE HOLE! These insects will find a way out. They are good chewers and the drywall in your home is easy for them to chew through. By plugging up their exit, you force them to look to find another way to escape. That usually forces them to chew their way inside your home and that puts you on the outside.

Be safe. When you encounter something like this, call a professional.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yes! Pest Control Companies Can Be Green

So when you think about pest control companies, you probably think about the spraying of pesticides to eliminate pests. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Griffin Pest Solutions uses a pest management philosophy called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pests with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

Understanding pest needs is essential to implementing IPM effectively. Pests seek habitats that provide basic needs such as air, moisture, food and shelter. Pest populations can be prevented or controlled by creating inhospitable environments, by removing some of the basic elements pests need to survive, or by simply blocking their access into building. Pests may also be managed by other methods such as traps, vacuums, or pesticides, which are used as a last resort. An understanding of what pests need in order to survive is essential before action is taken.

An efficient IPM program can be integrated with an existing pest management plan and other activities. Activities such as preventative maintenance, janitorial practices, landscaping, occupant education, and staff training are all part of an IPM program. The following steps are required to develop an IPM decision network:

1. Develop an official IPM policy statement.
2. Designate pest management roles for customer, pest management personnel, and key decision makers.
3. Set pest management objectives for the site(s).
4. Inspect site(s), identify, and monitor pest populations for potential problems.
5. Set action thresholds.
6. Apply IPM strategies to control pests.
7. Evaluate results to determine if pest management objectives are reached, and keep written records.

Since 1992, Michigan pest control companies have been required by law to implement IPM programs in public buildings and schools. Unfortunately, not all pest control companies practice IPM and not all IPM programs are created equal. If you are putting your pest control out for bid, or would like to start an IPM program for your building, be sure you request a “state approved” integrated pest management program.

Griffin Pest Solutions has been practicing IPM since 1982 and received our first national green certification (QualityPro Green) in 2008. We are bronze members of the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP). The voluntary program forms partnerships with pesticide users to reduce the potential health and environmental risks associated with pesticide use and implement pollution prevention strategies. By joining, organizations pledge that environmental stewardship is an integral part of pest control, and they commit to working toward pesticide practices that reduce risk to humans and the environment. Members take a strategic approach to risk reduction and undertake specific, measurable activities toward achieving their risk reduction goals. Griffin Pest Solutions has been a voluntary member since 2004.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Insects Beware! Griffin Pest Solutions Has 4 ACES

Recently, four of our Griffin Pest Solutions employees successfully earned their Associated Certified Entomologist (ACE) certification from The Entomological Society of America (ESA). They include company vice president Jeff Spencer, service managers Jim Moyer and Brian Kuemin, and service technician John Dawson.

ESA is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. The ACE certification program was launched in 2004 and designed to benefit the practicing pest management professional. To be eligible to take the ACE exam, candidates must have a current pesticide applicators license, a minimum of seven (7) years of verifiable pest management experience and a willingness to adhere to the ACE code of ethics.

“Having four (4) ACE’s on our staff speaks to the quality of our employees and the level of service we provide for our customers“, stated Linden Griffin, owner and president of Griffin Pest Solutions.

There are currently a total of 340 ACE’s in the United States and nine (9) in the state of Michigan.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Video Contest Challenges Grand Rapids Museum Visitors to Give Their Best “Saw a Bug” Scream

Just in time for Spring Break, we're hosting a “Saw a Bug” video scream contest, in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Public Museum's Big BIG Bug exhibit. We're giving families the chance to have some fun and even win a WII!

Museum visitors of all ages are encouraged to record their best "Saw a Bug" scream while standing in front of the giant grasshopper at the exhibit. Videos may be filmed at the Museum’s Big BIG Bug exhibit on April 5 through April 10, 2010, during the hours of 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

Videos may be submitted April 5 through April 11, 2010 on Contest voting is open to the public from April 12 through April 18, 2010. The video with the most votes will be declared the contest winner.

The winner will receive a Nintendo Wii Family Fun Bundle (value $300) and a $250 Griffin Pest Solutions gift certificate. The winner will be announced the week of April 19, 2010.

The contest rules are as follows:
1. Videos must be in there original form and the property of the submitting party. Videos may not use copyrighted or trademarked content.
2. Videos must be filmed in front of the Grand Rapids Public Museum Big BIG Bug exhibit.
3. Videos may not contain any profanity, obscene language, or gestures.
4. Submitted videos may not exceed :30 seconds
5. Videos containing multiple participants can only be submitted by a designated representative of the group.
6. Children under the at of 13 must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian to enter the contest.

For official rules visit

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What termite season means to you

It's March, and spring is the time when most homeowners get the bad news: they have a termite infestation in their home. Spring is when established termite colonies send out lots of winged termites, known as swarmers, to go off and start new or satellite colonies.

Homeowners usually see these winged insects flying around light sources, or they come home to see thousands of little wings dropped on the floor. Unfortunately, if you see either of these tell-tale signs, it's a pretty good bet you already have an infestation that needs treating.

Termites cause extensive damage to the structures they infest. They never sleep and they never stop eating. As incredible as it sounds, the damage caused by termites each year is more than floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and fires combined. Contact Griffin Pest Solutions today to learn more about protecting or treating your home for termites at 888-547-4334