The holiday season is a time filled with decorating, music, and spending time with family. It’s a time when we come together to give thanks and show our appreciation for the friends and family in our lives. However, it’s also a time when pests are looking to infest your home. During the holidays, our homes are filled with food, warmth, and Christmas trees, making them an ideal nesting place for invasive pests. The fastest way to ruin a holiday gathering is seeing rodents, insects, and mites scurry through your home as your family sits down for dinner or opens presents. In order to maintain the holiday spirit without inviting unwanted guests, follow these simple tips to keep invasive pests out this winter.
There are more than 20 types of insects that can come into your home with your Christmas tree, including aphids, bark beetles, mites, bark lice, and spiders. Although many growers check their trees throughout the year for pests, and treat them if they are present, there is still a chance that these insects can find a way onto your Christmas tree. Perform a thorough inspection of your tree for an infestation before you bring it into your home. Remember that no matter how thorough your inspection is, there is still a chance that these pests will still enter your home on your tree. If your tree is watered and stays generally healthy, the insects will most likely not leave the tree to find a new nest in your home.
Keeping warm by the fire is an iconic part of the holiday season, but firewood can also be a great place for insects to nest. If you plan on storing firewood this winter , make sure it is at least 20 feet from your home. When you’re ready to use the wood for a fire, do a quick inspection to make sure no insects are on the log. A couple quick hits to the ground should knock off any pervasive pests that remain on the wood.
No matter how big your family is, eating all the food during a holiday meal is quite a feat. The good news is this means delicious leftovers for you and your family; the bad news is invasive pests just found their next meal. In order to prevent pests like rodents and insects from entering your home in search of food, put all leftovers in air-tight containers before you store them. This will help keep the smell of food from reaching pests outdoors while making the food harder to reach for the few pests that do stumble upon the meal. Also make sure to store food away as soon as possible after a big meal to prevent an infestation.
Just like humans, pests love a warm place to nest during the winter. Make sure that warm place isn’t your home this holiday season by sealing all cracks, holes, and crevices that may serve as an entry point for invasive pests. This includes installing door sweeps, window screens, and filling in gaps around pipes. Even the smallest of holes can serve as entry points for invasive pests, so make sure to perform a thorough inspection of the structure of your home. Sealing your home will also help reduce your energy bill as you heat your home for the holidays.
Holiday decorations help turn your home into a winter wonderland, but for the other ten months of the year, they are stored away in your attic, basement, or garage. When decorations stay idle in these high-volume pest areas, they are bound to become infested. Before you put your decorations up this year, check them outdoors to make sure no bugs have taken nest in them. Keep an eye out for bed bugs, rodents, mites, and spiders as they are the most common pests that will nest in storage areas. If any pests turn up, shake them off before you bring the into your home. If they are severely infested, it may be time to buy new decorations.
In order to ensure a pest-free holiday season, you must think like a pest. Check all hiding places and possible entry points that they would use to infest your home, and make sure all food is properly stored when not being used. If you find any areas in your home where a pest might ant to nest, chances are they found them too. The holiday season can be a stressful time, but it is also a time of joy and gathering, and the last thing you want to deal with is a pest problem.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.