With the holiday season only a few weeks away, many of us are now well into our Christmas prep and planning. But one task that frequently gets overlooked during this time is pest control.
Outdoor dinners, Christmas trees, and crammed kitchen pantries are all breeding grounds for pests during the holiday season. So, if you don’t want to be bothered with a pest problem this Christmas, be sure to implement some easy pest control strategies in and around your home. Although it may not be as fun as gift shopping or holiday baking, proper pest control will go a long way in ensuring a stress-free and happy Christmas.
Here are some of our top tips for keeping the bugs at bay this holiday season.
Prep your Christmas tree
Putting up the Christmas tree is always a highlight of the holiday season. However, Christmas trees, both real and artificial, can be hotbeds for bugs such as spiders, ants, and cockroaches. To avoid accidentally bringing in a swarm of bugs and insects into your home this December, take some simple pest control precautions.
There’s nothing better than the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree. However, since they’re fresh, they’re often brimming with insects. As soon as you arrive home from the Christmas tree farm, take your tree and let it stand in the garage for a few days (2 to 3 should do the trick). This will give any insects hidden in the branches some time to crawl away. Once you’re ready to take the tree inside, give the tree a vigorous shake for a few minutes. This will help to dislodge any remaining bugs or insects still clinging to the tree and will also remove any loose pines.
If you normally use an artificial Christmas tree, there are still some precautions you can take to ensure that it’s pest free before you bring it into the house. If the tree is brand new, then it’s ready for use straight away. However, if the tree has been sitting in storage for the last year, then you should definitely still inspect the tree for pests. All those months sitting in a dark garage can mean that bugs and insects have made themselves right at home in your tree. So, before you relocate the tree from the garage, shed, or back of the cupboard, give it a good shake and a careful inspection.
One essential rule to remember for both artificial and real Christmas trees is to never spray them with bug sprays or insecticides. Most of these sprays are harmful when inhaled and most are flammable. This, of course, creates all sorts of risks in environments where there are fairy lights and/or other electronic decorations being used. If you’ve uncovered a pest problem within your Christmas tree and it’s already in your home, the safest way to handle the situation is to contact a professional pest control technician for assistance as soon as possible.
Inspect your decorations
Christmas decorations are another common way that people accidentally let pests into their homes during the holiday season. Since decorations and ornaments are usually in storage for most of the year, they’re highly vulnerable to insect and bug habitation.
Like Christmas trees, all decorations should be thoroughly examined before you take them into your home. Pay special attention to bulkier items such as Christmas wreaths, since these items have more nooks and crannies for pests to hide in. Fairy lights should also be carefully inspected, as mice and other rodents are known to chew on wiring, which can, in some circumstances, set off fires.
Once Christmas is over, invest in some sturdy plastic storage containers to keep your decorations in until next year. Cardboard boxes aren’t ideal, as they usually don’t hold up to rodents, bugs, and other pests.
If you’re set on the idea of putting up edible decorations around the house, we’d recommend waiting until the night before Christmas to put them out. Items such as candy canes, cookie ornaments, and gingerbread houses will attract every pest out there, so holding off until the last minute is a good move.
Prep your backyard
We can all agree that mosquitoes are one of the worst parts of the warmer months. A particularly aggressive swarm of mosquitoes can turn even the dreamiest backyard dinner into a drain. One of the best ways to keep pests like mosquitoes at bay this summer is to do some preventative garden maintenance before summer begins.
Bugs like mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, so you should try and eliminate all sources of stagnant water in your yard (common culprits include gutters, buckets, ponds, and potted plants). For gardening enthusiasts, we recommend filling in your pot plant saucers with sand as it will reduce the amount of standing water sitting around in your backyard, without jeopardising the health of your plants.
Keeping your lawn clean, tidy, and at a short length will also go a long way in deterring mosquitoes and other insects from settling into your garden. We’re big believers that prevention is the best pest control method out there, so cleaning up your garden regularly is one of the best ways you can minimise the impact of pests all year around. For those of us who aren’t keen gardeners, there are plenty of gardeners out there that can provide home garden care services designed to reduce pests in your backyard.
Take stock of your pantry
With all the holiday baking and dinner parties going on, our pantries and shopping lists can very quickly become extremely chaotic. All of a sudden, Christmas passes and we’re left with three opened packages of cocoa powder, half used packs of sugar, and other miscellaneous goods.
Before the Christmas cooking and baking begins, we recommend that you take stock of everything you already have in your pantry and cupboards. This will mean that you’re less likely to double up on ingredients when it does come time to buy for those Christmas goodies. The longer a product sits open in your pantry, the more likely it is to become infested by pests. That’s why it’s important to use what you already have before buying and opening a new item.
If you don’t already, we recommend transferring all your pantry items like flours, cereals, nuts and dried fruits, and sugar into airtight containers made out of a sturdy material such as glass, metal, or plastic. These containers will give your ingredients much better protection against pests than cardboard or paper packages. They also go a long way in reducing clutter and keeping you organised, so it’s a win-win!
Keep your food covered
Dining outdoors is one of the best ways to celebrate the warm weather. However, it’s also the best way to attract ants, mosquitoes, and flies. One of the easiest ways to prevent pests from feasting on your spread is to invest in some simple umbrella food covers. Although it won’t eliminate the presence of insects completely, it’s a straightforward way of ensuring that your food doesn’t get spoiled by bugs and pests.
If you use your deck or patio frequently throughout the year as a dining area, it may be worthwhile to investigate a longer-term and permanent solution. Getting the area enclosed with a retractable flyscreen, for example, would be a highly effective way of eliminating insects and bugs from your outdoor entertainment or dining spaces for good.
Whether you require immediate pest control assistance or simply require some advice on how to manage pests this Christmas, get in touch with Jim’s Termite & Pest Control today. We work with homes and businesses across Australia to develop and implement pest management strategies that work. Give us a call on 131 546 or enquire online today to receive an obligation-free quote.
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