HOLIDAY BUGS? – NOT IN YOUR HOME!
By Chris Williams on November 20, 2018.
We know insects and other pests aren’t at the top of your to-do list as we approach Thanksgiving and the holidays. You’re thinking about shopping and the menu, where you’re going to put overnight guests, and finally rewarding yourself with a roaring fire. But keep this in the back of your mind: anytime you introduce new items into your home, there’s the potential for introducing unwanted pests as well. Forewarned is forearmed!
FOOD INTRODUCTIONS CAN MEAN PEST INTRODUCTIONS
It’s easy to overstock your larder during the holidays. Holiday foods and food decorations such as gourds, pumpkins, and ornamental corn are hard to resist in the market. Guests may also arrive with exotic, seasonal foods. New pests can be introduced along with these best intentions.
Old, familiar pests can reappear with a sudden influx of new food items stored in new places. The seasonal abundance could reawaken an existing, low-level population of ants, cockroaches, or stored food pests such as Indian meal moths. Ants that have been dormant for some time may begin foraging anew.
Storing holiday goodies in zip lock baggies or in containers with tight lids will help keep foraging insects out…temporarily. You’ll still want to contact a professional as soon as your guests leave to make sure the pests leave as well. See Dealing with Unexpected Uncles and Ants for Thanksgiving?
BED BUGS AS HOLIDAY GUESTS?
It’s not common for houseguests to bring bed bugs with them, but it does happen, particularly if you have a student coming home from college with a tote full of dirty laundry, or guests who have been on-the-road before arriving at your home. If you have any suspicions of bed bugs, there are things you can do, both during and after your guests’ visit (see When Thanksgiving Guests Bring Bed Bugs as a Side Dish!)
HANDLING FIREWOOD PROPERLY
If you’ve had the experience of watching beetles or spiders crawl out of your indoor firewood stack, you don’t want that to happen again in front of family and friends.
Insects that are hiding in firewood outside are usually just trying to find a protected place to spend the winter. When you bring them in, they gradually warm up and may wander about although they won’t infest wood in your home. For tips on how to prevent the appearance of firewood pests, see A Cozy Holiday Fire Can Mean Firewood Pests.