There’s nothing like coming together with family and friends to celebrate the season, but not all visitors are welcomed with open arms. While we can’t help you with your annoying uncle, we can offer tips to help you ban pests from your holiday gatherings.
Out on the Lawn There Arose Such a Clatter
Pest problems can happen any time of year, but the winter holiday season provides additional opportunities for critters to wiggle their way into your home and hearth, especially when you bring the outdoors in.
Real Christmas trees, pinecones and boughs of holly and greenery add a special feel and scent to holiday décor, but know that when you bring them indoors, it’s pretty much guaranteed that pests are on board. Most of them, like spiders and other insects (as well as their eggs), are harmless, but can still be annoying when on the loose.
Many Christmas tree farms have shakers to help dislodge any loose egg sacs and dormant insects, but they aren’t completely effective. We recommend giving trees and greenery a good shake and inspection in your driveway before you bring them in.
The same goes for wood you bring in for your fireplace or woodburning stove. Take a good look and bang it a few times before entering the house, and only carry in as much as you plan to burn at that time. Woodboring beetles, for example, can pupate inside the wood and then make their way out into your home.
What to My Wondering Eyes Should Appear
Many of us store holiday decorations in basements and attics, which are also the places where a wide variety of pests (like mice, silverfish and spiders) like to hang out. When unpacking your ornaments, check the boxes, items and cords for damage like gnaw marks and rodent droppings.
To prevent pests from invading your holiday cheer, store items in sturdy, plastic containers with tight lids. We don’t recommend storing food-based décor—like dried ears of corn, cinnamon sticks or popcorn garland—beyond the season it’s used. It can prove too irresistible to pests of all shapes and sizes!
Visions of Sugar Plums
As you dig out the flour, spices, nuts and other dried goods for your holiday baking, be sure to check for signs of pantry pests. Grain beetles and meal moths can chew through packaging and infest a wide range of edible materials. While eating them won’t hurt you, they are unappetizing, to say the least, and can lead to food spoilage.
Look for small holes in packaging, critters crawling inside packages or on shelves, and webbing or cocoons in products. We suggest that you even take the time to inspect newly purchased items, as these can become infested while in the store.
Storing these ingredients in sealed plastic or glass containers with snug lids will help keep pests away. So will routinely cleaning shelves with soap and water, and immediately addressing crumbs and spills.
Now Dash Away All!
At the risk of making you paranoid, there is the potential for pest admission with almost anything that enters your home. We’ve seen pest infestations started by stowaways on deliveries of food, plants and gifts. That’s why it’s a good habit to take a look at all packages before bringing them indoors.
Even your beloved guests may inadvertently join the festivities with hitchhikers in tow, most notably bed bugs picked up on public transportation or in hotels. These tiny, tricky pests are found in many places beyond beds, and once they settle in, they can be tough to get rid of without professional intervention.
And to All a Goodnight
We know talking about pest control doesn’t add to the holly, jolly spirit of the season, but even worse is an actual infestation. Mice, spiders and other creepy crawlies can really put a damper on the holiday vibe, so if you spot any problems, call our professionals for prompt, effective treatment. Even Santa has us on speed dial!