Thanksgiving just ended, and some of us are cleaning up our houses in the wake of the festivities and making plans to go hunting on Monday.
Meanwhile, another holiday season is fast approaching, and many people are planning to go hunting in their attics and basements in preparation to make another, prettier mess: decorating for Christmas and other winter holidays.
Unfortunately, you might not be the only one who’s drawn to your artificial trees and other holiday decorations. Pests love to hide in dark, quiet, secluded areas, and that includes unsealed boxes in attics and basements.
Today, we’re going to tell you about some of the species you might find in your decorations, and what do to about them.
What kinds of pest infestations might be hiding in your holiday decorations?
Here are a few of the unwanted guests that might try to crash your holiday decorating party:
There are several species of spiders in Pennsylvania, some of which can deliver painful, severely damaging, or even lethal bites.
Most of them aren’t a serious threat to the life of an adult, but if a very young, old or immune-compromised person alarms a black widow while rummaging through the tinsel, the resulting bite can lead to serious illness and even death.
Mice have been known to take up residence in people’s basements, attics and storage spaces, and their tendency to gnaw and poop can result in your decorations having bites or droppings in them.
You definitely don’t want them to stick around until the holiday season arrives; we don’t know of anyone who spends hours baking and decorating cookies and gingerbread houses just so mice can eat and poop on them!
Cockroaches eat cardboard, so for them, living in a cardboard box is like taking up residence in an all-you-can-eat buffet.
If you see brown or black specks or similarly colored Tic Tac-shaped pellets, those might be cockroach droppings, especially if they’ve accumulated around a crevice or other hiding places.
These droppings are linked to ailments like breathing problems, skin rashes, and eczema, so you definitely don’t want to ignore this sign of an infestation!
What to do about pest infestations hiding in your holiday decorations
Here are some ways to get rid of pests in your decorations, to prevent them from getting into your house, to begin with, and to protect yourself in case they’re lurking in your boxes:
Shake out your tree.
When you bring a Christmas tree home, always shake it out outside and inspect it for webs and cocoons before bringing it inside.
Some bugs, including spiders, hide from the cold inside their eggs, then hatch when the temperature rises. This means anytime you bring a wood product like trees or firewood into your house, there’s a chance that any eggs on it could hatch.
For the same reason, if you bring firewood inside, it’s best to burn it within 24 hours.
You should also shake out your artificial tree when it’s time to put it away, then wipe it down. This helps to get rid of any crumbs or debris that have accumulated on it, which will make it less inviting to pests.
When you’re first shaking out your tree or taking items out of long-unopened boxes, wearing gloves will help to prevent you from being bitten by any spiders that might be hiding in your decorations.
Open boxes outside and shake out fabrics.
If anything has nested in your boxes, opening them outside will give you a chance to shake the bugs out of your containers, tinsel strings, cotton snow, and any other hiding places, without letting them escape in your house.
Wash your decorations, and store them in sealable plastic containers.
Unwashed fabrics, such as ribbons, Santa outfits, and stockings, attract bugs like cockroaches, termites, crickets, firebrats and silverfish, which can chew holes in them while they’re in storage.
Bacteria on plastic and metal ornaments can also draw bugs to your decorations, so it’s best to wash them with an alcohol wipe or soapy water before putting them away.
Once they’re washed, storing them in plastic containers that can be tightly closed is the best way to keep all bugs and rodents away from them.
Keep your storage areas dry, well-ventilated and clean.
Clutter gives vermin places to hide, and many species require moisture in order to thrive. By keeping your storage dry and clean, you make it less hospitable for unwanted holiday guests.
While you’re making sure your storage is ventilated, avoid using ventilation that will let pests outside your house come inside.
Sealing gaps between your windows and walls, as well as cracks in your walls and foundation, will give invaders fewer ways to enter your home, as will covering vents with the screen.
Need to get a pest infestation removed from your storage space?
If you have unwanted visitors trying to join you for the holidays, we’d be happy to get rid of them for you. (At least, if they’re animals. When it comes to the human type, you’re on your own.)
To get the pests removed from your storage space, holiday decorations, and any other part of your house in which they may have taken hold, visit this page to get a free inspection and quote from our pest control experts today!