Plan for a Pest-Free Holiday!
By Chris Williams on December 18, 2014.
We may not be able to guarantee you a stress-free holiday, but we can help you have a pest-free holiday. Here’s our gift to you…tips to insure that your only holiday guests are the two-legged kind!
Start With a Pest-Free Tree
Certain pests such as spiders, ants, and beetles sometimes hide or hitchhike in live holiday greenery. Fortunately, the kinds of pests that might hide in your Christmas tree are not pests that are going to harm your guests or your home, so please don’t spray your tree with pesticide. The best way to keep tree or greenery pests out of your home is prevention.
Before you buy or cut your holiday tree, take a good look for aphids or other small insects along the branches or nestled in the crotches where branches meet the trunk. Look for spider webs and for powder-like sawdust or tiny holes in branches that are indicative of wood-boring beetles. If you find any pests or pest evidence that can’t be easily removed, move on to the next tree.
Once you have your cut tree home, don’t haul it inside right away. Take another quick look for pests, shake the tree (this is a good idea anyway so loose needles stay out of your carpet), then pound the base of the trunk on the ground to dislodge any insects or spiders. At this point, you can also prune out any dead needles or wayward branches. Now you’re good to go!
Okay, Let’s Decorate!
Have a plan before you drag all those boxes of holiday decorations out of the attic. Boxes of Christmas decorations provide an ideal environment for insect and mouse infestations. Decorations are usually stored in cardboard boxes (lots of insects, especially silverfish, love cardboard boxes), and they have been left undisturbed in a nice dark place for almost a year.
If possible, unpack boxes of decorations in the garage, or outside on a porch or deck, and bring items in as you need them. Check the box contents for live or dead insects, and evidence of mice. Check strings of lights to make sure they have not been gnawed by mice (a definite fire hazard).
When you go to those after-Christmas sales, put “plastic bins” on your shopping list. When you pack up this year’s decorations, store them in large plastic bins or tubs with tight-fitting lids for pest-free decorating next year. Wash fabric items such as tablecloths, tree skirts, and holiday hand towels before you pack them away since insects that damage fabrics prefer those that are already soiled.
Light the Fire and Bring on the Egg Nog!
The last thing you need to check before you put your feet up is the firewood. Lots of bugs spend the winter hiding in firewood and can become active when they warm up inside your home.
Resist the urge to stockpile a huge amount of firewood inside. Bring in only the amount needed for a couple of days. Before you haul the wood, take a look for hitchhiking pests. If you want added assurance, you can debark the wood before bringing it inside.
Happy Holidays Everyone!!
From all of us at Colonial Pest Control