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Holiday Pest Prevention – Advice From the Pros

By Chris Williams on November 16, 2011.

No, we’re not talking about holiday pests like your cousin Lou. You’re on your own with that one! But we can offer some tips to help keep your holidays pest-free.

Unpacking Decorations –Decorations that have been stored away since last year may have become home for some unwanted guests. Boxes of decorations stored in the attic or garage, and especially in cardboard boxes, may also house mice, silverfish, clothes moths, carpet beetles, or other pests since you last saw them. If possible, unpack the boxes outside or in the garage so you can deal with any pests that make an escape before they get into your home.

mouse-on-ornamentHoliday Greens –It’s best to first store fresh trees and greens outside, gradually moving them into warmer spaces like the garage. As the greens warm up, the pests will too, and they’ll become active. Check periodically for pests hiding in your wreaths and swags such as praying mantids, spiders, aphids, mites, and caterpillars. None of them will harm your family or your home but they could startle Auntie Bess!

If you’re cutting a tree or buying one already cut, inspect it carefully before you install it in your home. Look for and remove spiders and spider webs, and check for pests like pine aphids. Remember, it’s easier to get rid of pests on the tree before it’s decorated.

Firewood –If you’re looking forward to the blazing warmth of a holiday fire, take some precautions to make sure that you don’t bring pests in with the firewood. If you want to be really careful about pests, you should de-bark firewood before you bring it inside. Only bring in the amount that you need at the time; check it for beetles, ants, and other insects before you haul it inside.

Repacking Decorations –When it’s all over and you face repacking all those decorations, plan ahead for next year. Lose the cardboard boxes; they are very attractive to pests. Substitute large, plastic storage bins with tight-fitting lids or use heavy-duty garbage bags tied off. Make sure table linens, tree skirts, and other fabric items are freshly washed before storage. Avoid the temptation to hang onto used wrapping paper and boxes.

Most holiday pest invaders can be handled with a vacuum, but if the holidays present you with any pest problems that you can’t handle at this busy time, give Colonial a call. We’re always available. We wish you a wonderful and peaceful holiday season!

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