Don’t Deck Your Halls with Unwanted Pests This Holiday Season

 In Blog

This holiday season, while everyone is busy decking the halls and getting their house ready for the inevitable visit from the in-laws, it’s easy to get careless when it comes to pest control. It may be cold and still outside, but that just makes the warmth of your home an even bigger target for any pests that weren’t killed off by the first frost of the year. You don’t want to make their lives any easier by letting your guard down.

That’s why we’re breaking down common mistakes people make this time of year, what you can look out for, and how to keep your home cozy and comfortable for you and your family. Because at Anderson Pest Solutions, we believe “Season’s Greetings” shouldn’t apply to household pests.

Don’t Trim Your Tree with Outdoor Pests

One of the most-common ways winter pests enter your home? You bring them in yourself! If your annual holiday tradition involves purchasing a live Christmas tree or holiday wreath, keep in mind that these plants were part of an ecosystem full of many different living things. They provided shelter for spiders, beetles, even rodents and birds. If you want to ensure you’re not bringing these creatures into your home, make sure to inspect your tree or wreath first before purchasing. Be on the lookout for brown needles, as they could be a sign of a beetle infestation. Giving your tree a good shake outdoors should help dislodge loose insects and remnants of birds’ nests as well.

A few more tips to help avoid inviting in any unwanted guests:

  • When purchasing festive houseplants like poinsettias and Christmas cacti, it’s a good idea to inspect them for common pests like white flies or fungus gnats.
  • Do not pile discarded live trees or cut firewood near your home, as this can attract mice, termites and other pests.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home on a raised structure, such as concrete blocks or poles.
  • Inspect all firewood for signs of pest activity before moving it into your home.

Infographic of a Christmas tree covered in holiday pest facts.

Keep an Eye on Your Holiday Decorations

So you’ve made sure to inspect all your new holiday purchases for any hangers-on. You’ve kept the space around the outside of your property clean and clear of any potential pest havens. Think you’re in the clear? Not quite. It’s a fact of life that no matter how secure your home or office, there are bound to be some pests around somewhere. Perhaps they’ve been in your home this whole time, waiting to awaken from hibernation.

Because the winter season only comes once a year, you only need your holiday decorations once a year, too. You don’t want to be that house on the block with their Christmas lights up all-year-long, of course. So those boxes of decorations sit in your basement for months until it’s their moment to shine – and in that time, they can become the perfect living quarters for everything from spiders and cockroaches to mice and rats.

If you’d prefer not to open a pest-filled present this winter, there are a few simple steps you can take:

  • When it’s time to decorate, unpack holiday items outside and inspect all items carefully for signs of pests, droppings, gnaw marks or other damage before bringing them indoors.
  • Inspect strings of lights to ensure that wiring has not been frayed by pests.
  • Purchase plastic storage bins with tight-fitting lids to store holiday decorations and keep pests out.

Cover Up that Holiday Fruitcake

No matter what winter holiday you celebrate, this time of year is sure to be full of delicious, home-cooked meals just waiting to be eaten by friends and family alike. Of course, you know from experience that there’s nothing household pests likes more than a free meal. That’s why it’s especially important to follow these food preparation guidelines to make sure the only thing salivating over your holiday treats is you.

  • Inspect nutmeg, cinnamon, flour, or any spice or common pantry ingredient you haven’t used in a while. Insects like the cigarette beetle would love nothing more than to live – and lay eggs – inside those containers.
  • Look for holes or bite marks on the outside of packaged food items, and discard anything that may have been infested.
  • Cockroaches, rodents and ants may be attracted to any prepared food. Make sure to properly store leftovers in sealed containers, and keep your house clean of loose crumbs or food scraps.
  • Do not pile your dirty dishes in the sink overnight.

Anderson Will Be Home for the Holidays

The winter season is all about the spirit of giving, but that doesn’t mean you should give pests a free pass into your home. If you need assistance, or your pest problem is already getting out of control, contact your local Anderson Pest Solutions professional and we’ll make sure your holidays are cheery and bright. By staying diligent and taking the proper precautions, you’re doing your part to help keep pests out of your home. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for your in-laws.