The holiday season is upon us! Like many Atlanta homeowners you’re probably decking the halls, throwing another log on the fire and baking delicious holiday treats to celebrate the season. While you’re getting your fa-la-la-la-la on, take a moment to follow some simple tips to ensure that your merry and bright is also pest-free. The holidays offer rodents and insects numerous opportunities to have their own happy little holidays in your home. How do they get in, and how can you keep them out? We thought you might ask.
Oh Ho the Mistletoe
When you’re ringing in the season, check to see you aren’t also bringing in pests with your seasonal greenery. Always carefully inspect Christmas trees, mistletoe, fresh fir garlands and other botanicals before purchasing them for signs of insect activity. Also, before bringing plants and greenery indoors, just give them a hearty holiday shake to dislodge any pests. Spiders and other insects make much better Halloween decorations than Christmas tree ornaments.
The same goes for firewood. First, clean up woodpiles and stack firewood at least twenty feet from your home. Inspect firewood for insect activity before bringing a stack inside, as you might not burn an entire stack immediately and any insects in the wood can invade your home. So now you’re ready to decorate! Just a few words of caution: Holiday décor presents more fun ways pests can celebrate the holidays.
Break out the decorations
Cardboard boxes stored in attics, basements, garages and sheds make excellent places for rodents and insects to settle down for that long winter’s nap. To be on the safe side, unpack stored cardboard boxes outside whenever possible. Storing your holiday decorations in tightly sealed hard plastic totes helps to eliminate chances of insect and rodent infestations occurring inside your Griswald lighting extravaganza. Treasured tree ornaments you’ve collected over the years store nicely in large decorative cookie and popcorn tins that you can leave out under the tree, as an added décor element.
You know those decorative gift boxes from last year, plus last holiday’s tissue paper and wrapping paper that are hanging around in your closets or under the bed in the guest room? Turns out rodents love to chew cardboard and paper to line their nests. Cockroaches love collections of random piles of paper and cardboard boxes to hide in as well. The easy solution would be to just toss old wrapping paper and boxes. But if you really can’t just throw away perfectly good wrapping supplies, find some hard plastic totes, made just for rolls of wrapping paper.
Popcorn, Cranberries and Candy Canes
While popcorn and cranberry garlands, sugar cookies, candy canes and other edible ornaments lend a homespun charm to Christmas trees; to rodents and insects they’re like hanging holiday feasts. Rodents and insects want to move into your home for warmth, shelter, food and water. Food, whether ornamental or just crumbs, spills and dirty dishes is fair game to pests.
Getting ready for guests
About those dirty dishes— while we know this season is chock full of holiday activities, from baking, to decorating, to gift giving and holiday parties, keeping your home clean in this frenzy of festivities is essential for keeping pests out. While hosting family and friends requires extra cleaning, with more than usual trash generated, here are a few cleaning tips for the holidays:
Before visions of sugarplums start dancing in your head, give your Atlanta home a thorough cleaning. Wipe down pantry shelves, eliminating crumbs and spills. Store dried food items in airtight containers, including dry pet food and birdseed. Clean dishes after meals, so leftover food can’t attract insects and rodents. Wipe down countertops, plus all food prep and dining area surfaces after baking and/or preparing meals. Sweep or vacuum food prep and dining areas often to keep crumbs from attracting pests. Eliminate clutter in attics, basements, extra rooms and storage sheds. Pests love clutter; it’s like Christmas every day to them.
Recapping: Pest-Free Holiday Checklist
- Always carefully inspect Christmas trees, mistletoe, fresh fir tree garlands, firewood and other botanicals before purchasing them for signs of pest activity.
- Unpack decorations outside whenever possible.
- Decorate with inedible ornaments: Skip the candy canes, popcorn garlands and sugar cookies.
- Store holiday décor and wrapping supplies in airtight, hard plastic totes.
- Keep your home wiped clean of crumbs and spills, dishes washed, floors swept and vacuumed regularly.
- Keep outside trash in secure receptacles.
- Seal any cracks, crevices and holes on the exterior of your house to exclude pests.
- Eliminate debris and clutter from your property. Mow or remove all overgrown vegetation.
- Stack firewood at least twenty feet from your home.
- Trim shrubs and trees off the walls and roof of your home, eliminating pest pathways indoors.
Truly Nolen Atlanta wishes you and yours a happy holiday season. In the event you run into pest problems this holiday season, don’t hesitate to contact us at (678) 561-2847 for a free inspection. Happy Holidays!