New Years Pest Checklist

By Chris Williams on January 5, 2016.

New Years Pest Checklist: Mice and various rodents form a common holiday cadre that also includes spiders, ants, pantry pests, flies, and wasps among others.  With traveling, shipping, baking, shopping, and decorating at a feverish pitch it is easy to overlook pest activity until it becomes a problem. Lets start with mice and rodents as a primer for holiday pest adventures. Cakes, candies, gingerbread houses, fruit baskets, and cookies are great treats…for mice and rats. Shiny wrappings and tinsel are attractive to rodents as sources of nesting material. Often the call comes in that in fact, mice have gotten into a candy bowl or fruit basket, or taken candy wrappers and hidden them in a shoe.  Half eaten grapes, gnawed apples hidden behind the Christmas tree, along with mouse or rat droppings are sure sign of rodent activity and demand immediate professional attention, so as not to ruin the holiday experience. Spiders are also on the holiday guest list.  Whether you cut your own Christmas tree, pick one up at a tree lot, or pull one out of storage and assemble it, you may have transported spiders to the party.  Spiders live on trees, and may have survived the frost curled up under bark or in a pine cone, or in the box up in the attic.  Once inside, spiders like the Yellow Sack spider may begin hunting for prey and otherwise scurrying about.  Other spider species that frequent trees may also be imported and begin to move about. Unlike rodent intruders, spiders can bite and be disconcerting to the squeamish.  General treatments for spiders can be made any time of year, a good vacuum will do a nice job in most cases! Flies can be a nuisance any time of year but especially around the holiday season. Increased fly activity is often the symptom of some other problem and may indicate the need for further inspection. Check the damper on fireplaces!  House flies, bottle flies, and flesh flies usually point to a dead animal of some kind.  Drain flies and Phorid flies are usually related a plumbing or moisture issue.  Cluster fly activity may be linked to an open chimney flue or roofing issue. A thorough inspection may pinpoint the exact cause of the fly activity, starting with proper identification of the fly species present. With all the yummy treats and goodies we all love so much, so do nature’s little scavengers, the ants. Pavement ants usually forage for food outside of a structure during warm months of the year.  Outdoor colonies will hibernate through the winter months, but colonies located under or within structures may continue to actively forage.  Buildings with heated slabs or finished basements offer just the right conditions for pavement ant activity.  Foraging ants may be noticed near pet food, spilled sweets, or even on counters.  In most cases least toxic baits may be used to control pavement ant activity. Carpenter ants may also become active  over the winter when guest rooms are warmed up, or ants nesting in ornament boxes wake up in the living room while decorating the tree (true story). Bed Bugs are never nice, always naughty.  These sneaky insects are the ideal hitchhikers and expert travelers.  Holiday travel means hotels, planes, trains, and automobiles.  The actual source of  the bed bugs may never come to light.  Due to the slow reproductive rate of bed bugs, infestations take time to develop, and may not become evident right away. Guests arrived for the holidays, had fun, and went home.   One bed bug stayed behind……Bed bug treatment is complicated but not impossible.  Early detection and identification are critical factors in a successful bed bug treatment.  If you suspect bed bug activity call a pest control professional ASAP! Roaches are also unwanted guests that are relatively easy to transport for the holidays. German roaches can stow away in boxes, produce packages, luggage, and even vehicles. It just takes one gravid(egg laden) female to start a population in a new location.  A single roach in a crate of oranges from Florida riding in the trunk of Uncle Ernie’s station wagon was all it took to infest a small mobile home in Southern Maine.  Roaches can be controlled with relative ease by a knowledgeable pest control technician using least toxic baiting techniques.  Once again, early detection and action are key factors in roach control, along with good sanitation practices. Cakes, cookies, and pies make the holidays complete!  Baked goods of all types usually have one thing in common: wheat or grain products. Pantry pest like the Indian Meal Moth(small two toned moths), Saw-toothed Grain Beetle, Granary Weevil, and many Dermestid beetles utilize a wide range of grain or other dried products.  Pantry pest infestations can get quite bad if left untreated. Storage, clean up, and inspection of suspected infested products will reduce pantry pest activity.  Pest control professionals usually start with pest identification and work from there. Integrated Pest Management strategies are part of any pest solution. Stinkbugs and Conifer Seed Bugs(some call them stink bugs due to a smelly defensive odor but not “true” stink bugs) are not Santa’s little helpers. However, they don’t do much more than walk around windows in an effort to escape. Stink bugs are much less common during the winter months, while the Conifer Seed bugs appear on warm winter days on the sunny side of the house. In cold temperatures, Conifer seed bugs hide in cracks and voids, sometimes making their way inside the living space, especially in older homes.  The vacuum or paper towel will safely remove these harmless insects from your home.  Sealing gaps in screens, under doors, and elsewhere will reduce all invasive insect activity including Stink bugs, Conifer Seed bugs, Lady bugs, spiders, wasps, flies, and bees.  A pest control maintenance service will reduce the number of insect pests that enter your home year round.  Safe and effective treatments are available to treat any pest problem.  The first step in solving any pest problem is a thorough inspection by a Pest Control Professional.  Colonial Pest Control Inc. can provide pest control services for both insect and rodent pests, as well as wildlife.  Our work is done at the highest standards and each job is under warrantee (see contract ).  If you think you have a pest control issue, contact us at 1-800-525-8084.


Tim Chace



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