Bees/Stinging-Insect Guide

As the weather warms up, more and more insects will start to become active. Of the various subspecies that you might see around your home, bees and stinging insects can be the most troubling to spot as they probe high up within the eaves and soffits. General activity, along with pestering you and your guests enjoying the outdoors, is a sign that you should consider getting your home treated to prevent nest-building and reduce exposure. However, there is more than one type of stinging insect, thus various kinds of treatments should take place. At Creature Control, we first determine what you are dealing with before approaching a solution. This article helps explain the basic differences among bees and other stinging insects.   

Carpenter Bees are large, black, and usually cluster in small groups in and around wooden soffits, decks, and pillars. They can be glossy in some areas of their body and are often larger than bumblebees, with which they’re often confused. They are completely harmless to people but can be scary due to their large size and comparatively loud buzzing noise. However, they can cause damage to the wood they chew through. Bumblebees are harmless pollinators and are most often seen solitary. We hardly ever get calls about bumblebees, as most people aren’t bothered by their presence.

A honeybee (small, fuzzy, and not usually aggressive) is an important pollinator and a big player in local ecosystems. They rarely sting, and if they do, a single sting will quickly kill that individual bee. Honeybees are rarely called in, but for a couple of situations, you may feel compelled to call a pest control company.  

One alarming instance are swarms: a cloud or large cluster of honeybees all in one place. A swarm of honeybees usually occurs because a queen is leading a large group to find a new nest. Swarms are generally harmless but can be frightening to see. Normally, they will move on before a pest control tech can get there, so it’s nearly always best to wait the situation out, as it will resolve itself before long. Another distressing issue honeybees may present is the placement of their hive, whether in a tree, wall or otherwise; a colony of honeybees can be frightening and damaging if inside a home. The honeycomb has to be removed after the hive is treated, which can be time-consuming and expensive but must be done in case it attracts other animals or rots and destroys the wood it’s built around. Calls for this situation are also rare: Creature Control cares greatly about our local honeybee population and works closely with beekeepers whenever possible to save the colony before the comb is removed.

Moving beyond bees, the common Paper Wasp is often seen by Michiganders this time of year.  They’re black and yellow with a thinner body and head than any bee and can (and do!) sting repeatedly if bothered. Their nests are small by comparison to those of hornets (see below) but can dot the eaves of a home in greater numbers than their stinging cousins. Wasps can be incredibly annoying if you have outdoor guests or a picnic, but they will often stick to themselves unless attracted or provoked.

Yellowjackets are slightly smaller than normal wasps (although they often have a proportionally thicker abdomen) and have a bright golden-yellow color, from which they get their name. Yellowjackets have large colonies and defend their nests aggressively. They make their homes in a couple of places, either in the ground (often confused with the near-harmless cicada-killers or mud-daubers) or in the walls of homes. This latter problem is usually diagnosed by a “crackling” in the drywall and some patches of your interior walls becoming spongy to the touch. If you have either of those problems, contact Creature Control right away. If yellowjackets have built a nest behind your wall they will break through soon enough!  

Michigan has a couple of hornet species, distinct from the average wasp by their elongated thorax and aggressive-looking silhouette. They’re often seen by themselves (though there can be several in the area) and can be aggressive if bothered. They are a scary-looking insect and come in black, yellow, and rust-colored variations.

Separate even from regular hornets is the Bald-Faced Hornet. They’re large, almost all back with a pale-white face, and they’re the most aggressive insect on this list. Their nests are made from a papery-gray material, and the nest can grow from golf-ball size to basketball-sized almost overnight.  Hundreds of these hornets can live inside and will aggressively pursue anyone who disturbs their home.

Whatever the pest situation you face, whether it’s with bees or some other stinging insect, Creature Control can be there to advise and help. Our technicians are trained to handle all of the above species and many less-common ones, so give our office a call or contact us anytime!

Understanding Ground Trapping

It’s now March, which means that the sap has begun to run in the maples, the squirrels can be heard chattering in the trees, and the intermittent snow of a Michigan winter is replaced with showers of rain. The smell of spring in the air may be something else, perhaps the musky scent of a skunk family as they wander your yard throughout the night. They’re not the only mammals to become active this time of year. From now until fall, you can have visitors from groundhogs, raccoons, opossums, rabbits, and sometimes even foxes, depending on where you live. While none of these animals are really all that dangerous to humans, it can be disconcerting to see them roaming in “your” yard, especially if you have domesticated animals.

Ground trapping, the entrapment and removal of wildlife pests at ground level (opposed to those in an attic or other elevated space,) doesn’t generally seem like a complicated process. Therefore, DIY ground trapping appears to be the go-to, attractive option. It does, however, present some unique challenges that no other area of wildlife control has, thus, requiring a call for professional help.

In the first place, the targeted animal may not be localized to a specific area. Squirrels and raccoons that break into your attic are more easily trapped through a process called exclusion because we know exactly where they are going to be. Ground trapping, not so much. The groundhog you see every morning might be living on your property, or he might have a den several yards over. Skunks are even worse; they can range for miles in a single night, which means that locating the shelter and setting a trap could be impossible.

The second challenge can be even more annoying than the first, off-target captures. Even if the den of whatever animal you’re trying to trap is physically on your property, unless there’s an option for placing a trap right over the entrance (and sometimes there isn’t), we’d be setting a free-standing ground trap of some kind. This means that we can try as hard as we want as far as location and bait used, but there’s always a risk that we’ll trap something other than what we’re aiming for. Not only can this be dangerous, but it’s exasperating as well! If you’re looking to trap an opossum and you get a skunk instead (as often happens, based on the number of calls we get,) you’re looking at a high risk of getting sprayed. Or an unexpected raccoon can also be an issue if you don’t know how to release the trapped animal safely.

Of all the wildlife problems to have, a large rodent running around your yard is probably the best one. You likely can take care of the pest yourself; however, if you run into either of the above problems, or perhaps one that we don’t foresee, give our office a call at 800-441-1519, and we’ll see what we can do!

Use Common Scents with These Pests

Memorable and rightly feared for that particular, pungent odor (which humans can detect 3.5 miles downwind!), skunks are recognizable by their black and white fur. Some boast, instead, a brown or gray or cream-colored coat, but all are similar enough to curl the end of your hair if you meet one unexpectedly on an evening stroll.

Their omnivorous diet of insects and some lesser pests may make them valuable to your area. Unfortunately, the skunk is one of four wild animals known to be a primary carrier of the rabies virus (others being: bats, raccoons, and foxes), so a sizeable distance is desired.

While that infamous scent can stick to a person, clothing, a dog, or a car, the silver lining is that a skunk utilizes it only when they —or their kits, as the babies are called— are threatened. This means that as soon as you spot one of these striped rascals, the safest exit is a slow and quiet one.

Not one to blindside their victim before causing discomfort, skunks will often warn before they spray. They stamp their feet, hiss, make short forward charges, and the spotted skunk goes up into a handstand. Despite very poor eyesight, capping out at about 3 meters, their aim with their spraying-glands is precise, also with a 3-meter range.

A skunk in the neighborhood is likely to be smelled before being seen. Skunks do leave signs, of course, such as dug up shallow holes to forage grubs, turned over garbage cans, mysteriously missing pet food, and damage to the lower leaves of garden crops as they grab any low-hanging fruit.

To deter these rascals, properly seal garbage cans (metal cans with lids that snap into place are best), clean up any picnic scraps, and fill or seal holes in the yard, especially under elevated sheds, slabs under porches, and crawl spaces. If the discouraging tactics don’t work, it is time to call in a professional pest removal company for assistance.

Removing Skunk Odor:

Skunk odor is an oil-based pheromone mixed with sulfur-based chemicals produced from the musk glands on either side of the skunk’s anus. Once this oil-based liquid gets on a surface, it is very difficult to remove; some attempts may actually spread the oils around if done improperly. Below is our dependable solution, comprised of common household products, that we recommend in treating sprayed pets.

  • 1 liter (or quart) of white vinegar or 3% hydrogen peroxide (peroxide may cause bleaching)
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1 tsp. dish detergent (this is a degreaser and will help break down the oils)

This solution can be used on fabrics or animals. Use straight bleach to remove smells on outdoor structures, such as foundations, decks, or ground.


Creature Control is a family and veteran-owned, locally operated pest and animal management company servicing several counties throughout lower Michigan. Our technicians are licensed, certified, and experienced in providing effective pest control, preventative maintenance, cleanup, and repairs. We offer you peace of mind as your all-inclusive wildlife and insect remediation specialists. Call us at 800-441-1519 or send us a message today.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems:

Why Does DIY Pest Control Fail?

Most people know that there are some pests that they just can’t control by themselves, such as mosquitos or bedbugs. Mosquitoes don’t necessarily breed on your property, and the only good way to control them is with a fog treatment. On the opposite end of control, bedbugs are off-putting and resistant enough to over-the-counter remedies that most people end up calling a professional right away (which is the right decision).  But what about insects that many people try and treat without a second thought, such as wasps, ants, or stinkbugs?  Every grocery store carries a line of insecticides, or even traps, all claiming to “kill on contact,” or “kills *given pest* instantly,” but when used by the average consumer, they often do little to nothing to stem the tide of insects. What is the difference between generally available products and those that our technicians use to control pest issues?

The main difference is in the products’ degree of strength and application. Because of the wide availability, over-the-counter products must have a weaker concentration of an active ingredient, rendering the mixture that much less potent. This is due to safety concerns; after all, your average consumer isn’t going to be certified by the state to apply pesticides, and thus isn’t going to be thinking about personal protection while using the product, nor about the storage of the product, or even how the product works against the target pest. This last factor is often why DIY pest control can fail.

Over-the-counter pesticides are nearly always contact-based products. They work by disrupting nervous systems and clogging their breathing spiracles (the tiny holes in the thorax and abdomen through which insects “breathe.”) This is great for killing the individual insect that the product touches but does not work nearly as well, spreading the product from insect to insect, which is often where most of the control happens.  A nest of yellow jackets in your siding, for example, can be sprayed with a can of wasp-killer, but this will only kill the insects that are present at the time of treatment, and even then, only the ones that are directly touched by the project, as it dissipates faster than it can spread from insect to insect. To effectively treat a nest of yellow jackets with a product like that, you will need to treat it several times a day for several days, and even then, it may not work long-term. Ant products work the same way, often to less effect, as ant colonies have many times the numbers of a yellow jacket nest.

Pesticides used by companies like ours are often a combination of contact, instant-acting aerosols, and long-lasting dusts. The aerosols are used against larger pests (such as bald-faced hornets) or large colonies of aggressive insects (like nests of yellow jackets) that need to be killed instantly or run the risk of harming a technician. After the initial application, nearly every area is treated with a special dust that coats the entire region. This dust takes care of insects that return to the site after treatment, as it lasts much longer than the dripping liquid left behind from sprays. Aerosol and dust pesticides for specialized equipment are not always available for consumer use. Used in combination, these two types of products effectively take care of insects instantly and over time, leading to long-lasting control and protection that an over-the-counter spray cannot emulate. Liquid pesticides are also used in distinct concentrations, which are helpful for prevention rather than immediately killing an existing colony, as these bind to the material on and around your home and affect insects looking to establish a colony. Cans of products you can buy at a grocery store simply don’t have the longevity and control options that are more specialized.

Of course, under some circumstances, over-the-counter remedies can work just fine; but if you’re having trouble with a stubborn nest or colony of ants, don’t hesitate to give Creature Control a call. We have the products, tools, and experience required to control your pest problem. Contact us today to schedule an inspection.

University of Michigan Library Closes after Venomous Spiders Spotted

University of Michigan Library Closes after Venomous Spiders Spotted

According to an MLive article, the University of Michigan’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library was temporarily closed after Mediterranean recluse spiders were found in the building.

Kim Broekhuizen, the university spokeswoman, said a misunderstanding caused the library to close for two days. The spiders were not in any public spaces; rather, they were seen in the basement storage areas.

Spider experts at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Michigan State University were consulted for proper identification. Pest management is being applied in the areas where the spiders were seen.

Recluse spiders tend to retreat and are mostly seen in dark, warm, and dry areas. Native to central Europe, they were introduced by human transport to the United States. It closely resembles the brown recluse spider, which it is commonly mistaken for.

In extremely rare cases of bites, loxoscelism can occur, which causes skin lesions. Symptoms can start after a bite in as little as two or as many as six hours. Fever, rash, nausea, vomiting, and death can result in severe cases.

To ensure you don’t have Mediterranean recluse spiders in your home or business, contact Creature Control today.

Creature Control is a family-owned, locally operated pest and animal management company servicing over 25 counties in Michigan. Our technicians are licensed, certified, and experienced in providing effective pest control, preventative maintenance, cleanup, and repairs. We offer you peace of mind as your all-inclusive wildlife and insect remediation specialists. Call us at 800-441-1519 or send us a message today.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems:

How Do I Make My Home Less Desirable for Raccoons?

Are you wondering why your home seems to be a regular hangout for raccoons?  You may be attracting them without even realizing it.  Just like they are portrayed in cartoons, raccoons are smart, sneaky, and peculiar.  Their sweet little masks and ringed tails make this particular nuisance wildlife pest hard to be mad at for getting in your trash.  Let’s face it, raccoons and baby raccoons are downright adorable.  If you start noticing an influx of raccoons around your home, you will want to call in the experts at Creature Control to start putting in place active prevention measurements.  We can help you make your home less desirable for these adorable but less than desirable critters.

Raccoons Basic Survival Needs

Raccoons are driven by their basic survival needs: shelter, food, and water.  Obviously, our homes create the perfect environment for them to thrive.  They are insane climbers that can easily scale the side of the house, venture over a fence, and shrink themselves to slink into your crawl space.  They will find water wherever it is from decorative fountains and ponds to leaking pipes and water dishes for outdoor pets.  As much as they seek out water, it is really food that they are after. 

Opportunists Within the Animal Kingdom

Forging for food is typical for raccoons.  They actively seek out living areas that are near water where they can have easy access to unlimited fish, frogs, snails, clams, and all the goodies the water brings with it.  They are also happy snacking on bird eggs, insects, gardens, and sometimes other dead carcasses.  They aren’t picky eaters, they are opportunists.  If they find an available food source, they will happily make it their own.    From fruits and veggies in your garden to the dog food that you leave available for your pup, they will eat it all.  Raccoons also love a solid trash can meal.  If your garbage can doesn’t have a secure lid, raccoons are sure to have enjoy the leftover buffet your trash contains. 

Humane Raccoon Trapping and Relocation

Once you have called in a pest control specialist to have raccoons trapped and relocated it is important to follow the advice to prevent another one from relocating.  As homeowners it is our job to prevent raccoons from making our homes their comfortable retreat.  With the help of nuisance wildlife removal companies, you can create a space that doesn’t offer raccoons a comfortable space to live in.  

To keep raccoons away it is important that you:

  • Keep your yard clean.  If you have fruit or nut trees present, make sure to remove them on a regular basis.
  • Install motion activated sprinklers within vegetable gardens.
  • Secure the trash can lid with extra bungee cords if the lid is not tightly secured.
  • Try not to leave your pets water and food outside when you are not home.
  • If you store birdseed or pet food in the garage or a shed, make sure the lids are tightly sealed. Prevent raccoons from gaining access by sealing up even the smallest access point.
  • Inspect the perimeter of your homes crawl space and roof line to seal up locations where raccoons could enter.  They can shrink to fit into even the smallest of spaces; it is best to use foam insulation to fill in even the smallest of holes.
  • Wood piles are perfect dens for raccoons.  If at all possible, seal wood in a shed or far from your home to prevent them from creating a comfortable home.

Raccoons are cute and can be quite charismatic but the last thing you want is for them to make your home their own.  If you start noticing your home is becoming a hotel for raccoons it is time to call in the professionals at Creature Control.  Our wildlife control professionals are trained in humane trapping and relocation services.  We offer free inspections!  Once we resolve the root of your pest problem, we will go about providing solutions to prevent their return. 

Creature Control is an all-inclusive pest and wildlife control company servicing over twenty counties in southern Michigan. As a one-stop-shop for all your nuisance wildlife needs we provide pest removal and control for all animals and all insects as well as a wide range of restoration services relating to animal damage.  More information can be found at