Holidays are supposed to be a time for joy, happiness, and love. Not for fighting hundreds or thousands of insects and other pests in your Christmas decorations. Whether it’s about your Christmas tree, door wreath, the garland, simple ornaments, firewood, present boxes or other holiday decorations, there are plenty of places where pests can take residence. In this article, we’ll try to quickly go over all of them and help you deal with any unwanted holiday guests.
So, what pests can you expect to see during the holidays and how can they enter your life?
- Boxes of holiday ornaments and decorations that have been stored in the attic or in the basement. Especially during the winter months, pests such as rats, mice, spiders, cockroaches, silverfish, stink bugs, and many others, love to hide in safe, dark and damp places like our attics and our basements. They also love looking for food there, as well as for safe nesting places. Unfortunately, decoration boxes are an ideal target for that as they are rarely touched by humans (once or twice per year), they include a lot of edible materials, and they give the impression of safety for these pests. So, if you’ve kept your decorations and ornaments unsupervised in your attic or basement for 11 months, the first thing to do is to carefully take them outside and unpack them there. Use protective gear like rubber gloves, and unpack and clean everything before bringing it home.
- Pay even closer attention to your Christmas lights. Check them for chew marks very carefully and rats and mice love to chew on wiring. In the least bad scenario, this can simply lead to ruined Christmas lights. In the absolute worst-case scenario, this creates house fires of often epic proportions.
- Christmas trees are another great way to take unwanted pests in your home. Christmas trees often house a lot of insects, including spiders, termites, ants, and more. Regardless of where you’ve got the tree, there is always a risk of bringing such pests into your home with it. That’s why it’s always smart to carefully shake the tree off outside, as well as to store it in a pest-free place for several days before bringing it home. If you find insects in it, feel free to use any form of natural, non-pesticide form of bug and pest control.
- Also, make sure the check out your Christmas tree for any leftover nesting materials from birds that can carry diseases and mites.
- Wreaths and garlands can also attract insects or carry them inside your home, similarly to Christmas trees. Especially wreaths hung on the outside of your front door can easily become the nest of a lot of insects, so make sure to keep a close eye on them and treat them if necessary.
- Firewood is another common way unsuspecting homeowners often bring pests into their homes – ants, termites, wood-boring beetles, carpenter ants, and others. Like Christmas trees, there are a lot of insects that love to make their homes in firewood. That’s why it’s important to carefully inspect the pieces of firewood before bringing them home and to treat them for insects if needed (in a natural way – you really don’t want to burn pesticides in your fireplace. Make sure that you also store your firewood away from your home so that if it attracts bugs it at least attracts them far away from you. Also, make sure to bring only some quantities of firewood to your home at a time.
- Trash bins are also something to keep in mind during the holidays. We tend to cook and eat a lot of delicious meals in this period and that’s exactly when rodents are starving the most. It’s very common for mice and rats to be looking for such easy pickings in your trash bins, so make sure you’re not leaving too much food leftovers lying around. Take care of your trash regularly and in an orderly fashion. Also, keep all food leftovers stashed away in plastic and air-tight bags so that they don’t attract any pests.
If you face any such situations you should be ready to combat the pests as quickly as possible. Always wear protective gear such as rubber gloves, a mask, and so on, and always have a rodent or insect repellent in hand. Make sure to do those checks sooner rather than later, since you don’t want to have to deal with a termite or silverfish infestation on the day before Christmas. Also, as we mentioned, make sure to do it all outside of your home.
And, if you want to make sure that it doesn’t come to this at all, the simple answer to how to pest-proof your home is always prevention.
In the ideal scenario, you would have taken a year-long care for your home and possessions so that there is little to no chance of a pest infestation during the holidays. Here are some of the preventive measures you can start taking from now on, not just for this year’s holidays, but for the future as well:
- Keep all Christmas decorations and ornaments carefully stashed away in air-tight plastic wrapping and not in cardboard boxes.
- Keep your firewood away from your home.
- Treat your Christmas tree, garlands and wreaths for mites, spiders and other bugs before you bring them home.
- Rid your attic and basement of bugs and rodents long before the holidays. The winter is a time when a lot of pests try to hide in our warm homes so don’t let them get inside in the first place.
If you’ve made sure that your home stays pest-free throughout the year and if you are well-prepared to fight surprising pest presence during the holidays, you should have a great, pleasant and care-free time this December!