The holiday season is finally here and after a very eventful year, it’s certainly bringing us some extra joy and Christmas cheer. The merriest season of all brings more than festive lights and thoughtfully wrapped presents, though. It also makes our homes more susceptible to pest infections.
No one wants to add more stress to already hectic holiday planning, which is why it is important to take the proper precautions, especially as many of us continue to remain at home. With a few tips from our local exterminators, you can make sure that you are welcoming Santa on Christmas Eve, without inadvertently inviting other unannounced guests to drop by and stay awhile.
Home for the Holidays: Tips for a Pest-Free Season
At Palmetto Exterminators, we have our own list of who’s naughty and nice. On it, you can definitely find seasonal pests that tend to invade cozy homes during the holidays (and we aren’t talking about the Grinch here)! Pests such as ants, spiders, ticks, cockroaches, rodents, bedbugs, and other pests can steal your Christmas, too. To make sure that your holidays are nothing short of fun and festive, make sure to follow these rules of thumb for the best pest control and prevention!
Watch What You Bring Home for the Holidays
When it’s too cold to go outside, naturally we want to bring the outdoors into our homes. From Christmas trees to festive wreaths and garlands, millions of families across the country decorate with traditional greenery, diffusing the wonderful scent of holiday cheer throughout the home. When decorating or DIYing with these beautiful evergreens, make sure to inspect them twice over.
With the abundance of hiding places for pests to make their home in, live decor is one of the most common causes of a pest infestation during the holiday season. Just ask Clark Griswold how he felt when a squirrel jumped out of the family Christmas tree in the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! Oftentimes, pests will tuck themselves away under the leaves and inside the wooden branches to take cover from the cold. Some may even nest and lay eggs. Remember, insects and rodents enjoy a cozy fire and delicious Christmas dinner, too!
Be on the lookout for telltale signs of a pest infestation such as droppings, chew marks, molted skins, webs, egg sacs, and insect nests. If brought inside, eggs can hatch and lead to a bothersome pest infestation. Giving your decor pieces a solid shake outside will encourage any reluctant insects to find another home to hang out in. The same goes for luggage that any guests might be bringing inside your home, as this is essentially a polar express for pests like bedbugs. Though the candy canes, potpourri, and gingerbread houses add a festive flair, our professional exterminators recommend avoiding edible decorations that attract pests.
Mindfully Unwrap Your Christmas Decor
Holiday decorations that have been stored in a basement, garage, or attic all year long provide a nice home for pests, especially in plastic bags and cardboard box containers. When you bring these boxes inside of your home, unwanted critters have the opportunity to infest your main living spaces. So, before you deck the halls, make sure to check for signs of pests as you! It’s best to unpack and inspect your decorations outside, just in case any unexpected critters have been hibernating inside. Pay attention to any strings of holiday lights you may have, as rodents tend to chew on wiring!
Other quality pest control measures can be taken after we ring in the holidays. As you and loved ones excitedly unwrap your presents, don’t forget to declutter your home afterward. Piles of wrapping paper and stray cardboard boxes make wonderful hiding spots for roaches, termites, and silverfish. Properly dispose of any excess waste outside of your home in curbside trash and recycling bins. After the New Year, as many families begin taking down their festive decorations for the next holiday season, it is important to properly pack them up. It’s best to store your decor in sealed, plastic containers that can help keep rodents and other pests from taking shelter in them. If you are getting rid of any real decorations like live Christmas trees or wreaths, make sure to discard them away from your home to avoid attracting pests.
Make Sure Firewood is Properly Stored
In the wintertime, a fire can provide comfy, cozy solace from the harsh temperatures. However, firewood can also serve as the perfect destination for a winter getaway. Pests such as carpenter ants, termite swarmers, rodents, and snakes oftentimes retreat underneath or inside piles of wooden logs. To prevent them from entering your home, it’s important to properly store any wood if you plan to make use of your fireplace this season. Avoid keeping any fire logs inside your home or garage. It’s best to store any piles at a distance of at least 20 feet up away from your home and off of the ground. Always remember to inspect the wood for signs of termite swarmers and other pests before bringing it inside!
Clean Up Your Milk & Cookies
The holiday season often involves a good bit of sweet, homemade treats and delicious, big meals that can also feed pests who have snuck into your home. With so much to do, sometimes things can get messy! Make sure to clean up any spills and crumbs that may happen as you prepare food for your next holiday dinner. Keep leftover food stored in airtight containers inside your refrigerator, cabinets, or on pantry shelves off the ground where insects and rodents can’t easily reach.
Though one night of leaving milk and cookies out for Santa typically won’t result in a pest infestation, it is important to be aware of any potential food sources that pests could snack on! Get in the habit of doing a quick, nightly inspection of any messes in eating areas such as the kitchen and dining room. Keep an eye out for any leftover dirty dishes that someone may have forgotten to put in the dishwasher. Make sure to also frequently take out your trash and keep lids to large waste bins tightly fastened.
We know that as you are checking off your holiday to-do list this season, it is easy to let your supplementary pest control efforts slip through the cracks. Pests don’t take holidays, but following these simple precautions can help ensure that they don’t spoil your festivities this season. Contact our licensed pest control professionals to see how we can help you prevent a pest infestation before it ever happens with a free pest inspection. The Palmetto Exterminators & Mosquito Control family wishes you a safe and merry holiday season!