Avoiding Unwanted Holiday Pests
What images does the word “holidays” bring to mind? Cooler temperatures? Pumpkins and evergreen trees? Changing leaves? Football games? Turkeys? Camouflage? Snow?
For many of us, “holidays” means heading out to storage buildings, basements or attics to retrieve holiday decorations. Occasionally, these decorations harbor uninvited holiday guests. We can unintentionally bring many pests indoors on decorations or in their boxes. Brown recluse spiders, silverfish, cockroach egg cases, Asian lady beetles, brown marmorated stink bugs, and even rodents and their droppings can be brought in.
If the decorations are or were food based, stored product pests such as meal moths or beetles can be present. Live plants such as greenery or poinsettias, and hay bales or other living or dead plants, can also carry pests.
Firewood is another a culprit for hitchhiking pests such as cockroaches, spiders and mites.
Avoid the Problem
These vagabond pests bypass any repellent or barrier products that have been applied in or around the house when we accidently carry them in. The best way to avoid problems with these unwanted guests is to properly store holiday decorations and carefully check them before bringing them into your home.
- Inspect all holiday décor before bringing it in the house
- Unpack boxes and bags outdoors
- Shake out any items outdoors to dislodge any potential pests
- Store items in hard plastic containers or bins with a sealable lid which are more difficult for pests to access
- Food or animal based items, such as papier-mâché, wool, seeds or garlands should be stored in sealed in plastic bags or other sealable containers
- Avoid storing items in cardboard boxes; they are great homes for pests. Rodents can easily chew through them, and they don’t last well in humid or very hot environments
- If you choose to bring in living plants, trees or greenery, inspect them carefully for any pest activity, especially deep in the branches and at the trunk of trees or main stem of plants