The holiday season is – once more – upon us. If you are reading this, chances are, you are in the process of taking advantage of all those online deals, wrapping presents, stringing up your lights, and decorating for the festivities to come. While all very innocent, these preparations have the potential to provide numerous opportunities for an assortment of pests to inadvertently make their way inside of your home. In this comprehensive guide, you will be introduced to 10 steps you can take to ensure that you enjoy a pest-free holiday season.
1. Focus on Keeping Your Christmas Tree Pest-Free
It does not matter if you have an artificial tree that you store in your home or you prefer to put up fresh, real trees for the holiday season, it is important to understand that Christmas trees are known to attract a wide assortment of pests. These include mites, spiders, roaches, and more. Place an emphasis on keeping your Christmas tree pest-free. Follow the steps below to succeed in this endeavor, based on the tree that you choose to integrate into this year’s holiday decorations:
- Real Trees – These are prone to many pests. Examples include mites, various types of insects, and even spiders. While these may become inactive in the cold, once the tree is introduced to the warmth of your home, any pest in the tree may become active. Shake the tree before bringing it into the home and check the trunk. Check for spider webs. Never place bug spray on the tree as it could prove to be flammable.
- Artificial Trees – Store your artificial Christmas tree in a fully-closed container or a storage bag that completely zips up. When you decide to unpack it, do it outside. Then, shake the tree. If you have a handheld vacuum, go over the branches. When you set it up, make sure there are no pests. If you observe pests, take the tree outdoors and knock them off.
2. Ensure Christmas Decorations Are Kept Pest-Free
Many store Christmas decorations in boxes in the attic, basement, and even in crawlspaces. First, this should be avoided. You should only store your decorations in plastic containers that may be completely closed. Otherwise, you may open up your decorations to spiders, stink bugs, silverfish, ants, roaches, and more. Once these pests find their way out of the boxes, they will move on to other locations in your home to find a new place to hide. Infestations are capable of occurring quickly. Follow the steps outlined below to keep your decorations pest-free:
- Always store Christmas decorations in plastic bins that include tight-fitting lids.
- If you have stocking and linens that you store, place them in plastic bags that may be zipped up or totes that may be completely closed.
- Never, ever store any type of edible Christmas decorations as these will instantly attract pests. Examples include candy canes, stringed popcorn decorations, and gingerbread houses.
3. Keep the Kitchen Clean and Clear
During the holidays, we spend a lot of time in our kitchens. We mix, we bake, we cook. Cookies, cakes, turkey, ham, green bean casseroles, and all those finger foods are at the top of our lists.
All those pests seeking food, shelter, and water will be instantly drawn to a kitchen in full operation for the holidays. Because of this, it is important that you keep the room as clean and clear as possible.
Seal off all of the foods that you prepare. Immediately place your leftovers in the fridge or the freezer. Do not leave anything out – not even a crumb.
Use air-tight containers to keep food stored in pantries. Take out the trash frequently. If you keep your kitchen clean and clear, pests will stay away.
4. Take Caution with Firewood
If you live in an area where you use firewood for heating and/or cooking, you should be aware that it is easy for a large assortment of pests to slip in on the pieces that you bring into your home. Though it may be tempting to stack it close to your home for quick and easy access, it is not recommended.
You should store it away from the home and off of the ground. Additionally, you should try to keep it covered.
Before bringing pieces in, be sure to completely inspect them to make certain no pests are lingering on the pieces. Shake the wood off. If you notice anything, get it off before it makes its way into your home.
5. Seal Your Home
As the cold starts to set in, many pests – such as rodents – will start looking for potential shelters that provide access to food, water, and will provide protection from the cold.
Very few realize it, but even the smallest opening allows access for many different types of pests.
Go around the exterior and interior of your home and seal up any openings that you see with caulk.
It is very common for openings to be present around pipes that are running into the home. In the winter months, your home is warm. All living creatures are naturally attracted to warmth. By sealing your home, you are sure to have a pest-free holiday.
6. Avoid Edible Decorations
If you have an interest in having a pest-free holiday season, you should avoid creating and placing all of those edible decorations around your home. This includes strings of popcorn, gingerbread houses, and even fruits or vegetables in decorative bowls.
Many pests will find these decorations highly attractive. The scent of the sugars and even the other smells associated with edible decorations will instantly gain the attention of roaches, fruit flies, sugar ants, and a wide assortment of other creatures – including rodents.
Stick to traditional decorations and you are less likely to experience complications. When storing your traditional decorations, remember to use plastic bins with lids.
7. Keep Outdoor Christmas Lights Away from the Home
If you decorate the exterior areas of your home with Christmas lights, this should be avoided. Instead, place them around trees, fences, posts, and other decorations that are out in your yard.
While Christmas lights may seem innocent enough, they attract many nocturnal creatures such as moths, mayflies, beetles, flies, crane flies, and others that are similar in nature. Many of these creatures will damage clothing, boxes, and other items in the home. They are attracted to food and water sources within the home.
Additionally, many are capable of passing on various types of illnesses to you, your family, and your pets. Simply keep those lights away from the home and they will not find their way indoors.
8. Eliminate Cardboard, Newspapers, and Similar Items
Around the holidays, it is easy to accumulate cardboard boxes from stores and shipments, get behind in reading the newspaper and magazines you receive, and even let clothing (such as sweaters and blankets) pile up a little.
We all accumulate something. If you have any of these items around your home, get rid of them. There are insects like moths and silverfish that are attracted to them. Furthermore, other insects may invade these items for shelter. Then, there are some – like rats and mice – that may shred these items and use them to create shelter.
Keep clothes and blankets washed and put away, recycle all of that cardboard, and get through all of your reading so that you may recycle your newspapers and magazines, too.
9. Practice Caution with Guests
Now, there is no easy way to ask guests if they have bedbugs or other pests in their home.
Practice caution when inviting people over – whether it is for a cup of hot chocolate or to stay to enjoy the holidays with you.
Bedbugs, roaches, ants, and a wide array of other creatures may hitchhike in on the clothing and shoes that your guests are wearing. They may even come along in their suitcases and other belongings that they bring into your home.
If you have a suspicion that pests may have found their way into your home with your guests, contact a professional pest control company immediately and allow them to take care of the issue. This brings us to our last step….
10. Obtain Year-Round Pest Control Services
To enjoy a pest-free home – not just around the holidays, but all year long – sign up for professional pest control services. Not only will this sway pests from entering your home, but it will also keep them completely out of the home.
We here at All Pest Exterminating offer the most comprehensive services at the most competitive prices. We take pride in our attention to detail and ensuring your absolute satisfaction. If you would like to learn more or want to set up an appointment, we encourage you to contact us today. It does not matter how big or small the project, we have you covered! You may contact one of our professionals today by calling the following number: 765-259-0043