The holidays are without a doubt one of the busiest times of year, for both people and pests. While we're rushing around party planning, decorating, and cooking, pests are looking for shelter, food, and water - activities that frequently lead them straight to our doorsteps. Here's how you can keep your holiday events invitation-only.
Who's At The Door?
Mice: When colder weather moves in, mice are seeking shelter from the elements, and what’s more inviting than a warm home with plenty of food sources – especially during the holidays? While these uninvited guests are notoriously sneaky, they definitely leave clues to their presence, like droppings, chew marks, black greasy-looking footprints or streaks, nests, or noises in walls or attic spaces.
Spiders: While most spiders in Massachusetts are merely a nuisance, the majority of us still don’t want them popping into our parties. Spiders may be hiding in boxes of decorations that have been stored in attics, basements, or garages for the past year; they might also hitch a ride into your home inside packages and groceries, or even hidden away in live trees, garlands, wreaths, and other plant décor.
Cockroaches: Cockroaches enter our homes looking for warm, damp shelter; they’re also looking for food - which during the holidays is in abundance – and roaches will help themselves to just about anything. Not only are cockroaches unsightly intruders, they also contaminate food and can spread bacteria that cause food poisoning and diarrhea, among other unpleasantries that are most unwelcome at any time of year.
Bed Bugs: These bloodsucking beasts can present a problem all year long, with the potential to follow you home from work, the gym, school, or even public transportation, but they are especially successful during times when people are traveling frequently. Bed bugs do not fly or jump; rather, they hitchhike from point A to point B on people or their personal belongings. Whether you are staying at a hotel, AirBnb, at friends’ or family members’ homes, or having visitors stay in your home, you could wind up with the holiday souvenir you never wanted.
Pantry Pests: Have you ever rolled up your sleeves to start a Thanksgiving baking project, only to open your flour and find tiny creatures roaming around inside? Few things are more frustrating. Meal moths, weevils, and beetles can quickly spoil your menu planning as they wiggle into open food items or chew their way through paper, cardboard, or plastic packaging.
What To Do?
- Seal entry points by filling cracks and crevices around your foundation, making sure windows and doors close securely, and repairing or replacing damaged screens.
- Regularly clean contact surfaces, especially in cooking and dining areas; keep cabinets and pantries free of food debris, and take trash out regularly (to securely closed bins).
- Store food in sealed containers, including pet food.
- Reduce water sources like leaky plumbing or dishes left in sinks (easier said than done this time of year, we know).
- Inspect packages or groceries for hitchhikers before bringing them inside, and check decorations for signs like chewing or droppings.
- Whether you are traveling or having guests in your home, learn how to inspect for bed bugs, what signs to watch for, and how to prevent them.
The holidays can be stressful enough without worrying about unwelcome visitors, and while we can’t promise you a stress-free season, we can promise you a pest-free season - it all starts with a free estimate.
P.S. Need more tips? Download our free Holiday Pest Control Checklist here!