When you’re getting ready to entertain friends and family this holiday season, make sure to put pest control on your to-do list. Scheduling a professional pest control treatment and taking a few preventive steps on your own will help keep bugs and rodents off your guest list.
Watch for These Cool-Weather Pests
A fall in temperatures can mean a rise in pests coming into your home. In Jacksonville and throughout Florida, all types of pests are looking for new places to hide and new sources of food and water this time of year. These are some of the most common home invaders during cooler weather:
- Rodents: The last thing you want is for one of your guests to see a mouse or a rat scurry along a baseboard amid the festivities. Rodents are mammals that need to stay warm to thrive, and your cozy home is the perfect spot for rats and mice to set up winter housekeeping. Because rodents are known carriers of several diseases and allergens, it’s important to keep your family and guests protected from them.
- Roaches: Cockroaches are some of the first pests that will try to take advantage of your hospitality. Chances are good that your holidays include buying, storing and preparing more food, and generating more garbage, all of which is attractive to roaches. There’s also a chance that these pests are hitching a ride into your house in the boxes and bags coming from outside of your home.
- Silverfish: These critters will head indoors when it gets really cold outside. Although silverfish don’t pose the health threats that disease-spreading rodents and roaches do, they can still do considerable damage to things made of paper and fabric, such as books, documents, wallpaper, and clothing. If you’ve seen tiny white, gray or silver insects near sources of water or in cardboard boxes, chances are good you have silverfish.
- Bed bugs: Although they’re not likely to be seeking relief from cold temperatures, bed bugs can easily come into your home in the luggage of holiday guests who may have unknowingly picked them up in a hotel along the way.
Steps You Can Take
If there’s one thing we know about pests, it’s that they’re opportunists and will use any means possible to get to the food, water and warmth in your home. The flip side of that, however, is that you can winter pest-proof your home by taking a few extra steps to keep your home pest-free this holiday season:
- Check firewood: Before you bring any type of wood inside, inspect it carefully for the presence of bugs. Also make sure to store firewood well away from your house throughout the fall and winter so that you don’t offer pests a short trip inside.
- Store all food carefully: It’s tempting to leave sweets and treats out on the table for the holidays, but ants, roaches and other pests may be the ones that enjoy these goodies the most. Soon after meals and when guests are done snacking, put all food in airtight containers until it’s time to bring it out again. Also consider transferring food from cardboard or paper containers (even unopened ones) into tightly sealed plastic or glass containers for storage in the cupboard.
- Keep floors and counters clean: When the kitchen’s cluttered with extra food and dishes, it can be challenging to keep the room tidy. It’s important, though, to take the time to wipe away crumbs and spills from counters and sweep the floors before turning in for the night to avoid giving pests their own holiday gathering.
- Take out the garbage: You may use more than the usual number of garbage bags over the holidays, but taking out the kitchen garbage every night (regardless of whether it’s full) can go a very long way toward keeping your home pest-free.
- Check your Christmas tree: Trees don’t usually provide transportation to rodents or roaches, but they can harbor mites, spiders, weevils, and other bugs that normally inhabit all kinds of trees outdoors. Give your tree a once-over before moving it inside and once there, make sure to keep it watered. The bugs you may have missed on your tree will usually just stay there until you take it back out again, but if the tree gets overly stressed, the pests may look for better places to stay inside your home.
- Inspect holiday decorations: Taking those boxes of Christmas tree ornaments, wreaths, and other decorative items down from the attic or in from the garage is often a favorite part of holiday preparations. A word of caution, however—if your decorations weren’t stored in well-sealed containers made of bug-proof materials, they may have been discovered by pests in the off-season. If you see droppings, discarded wings, eggs, or signs of chewing, you can be sure that insects or rodents have been there. Look through everything carefully before bringing boxes and bags of decorations inside to make sure it’s all clear of pests.
- Keep an eye out for rodents: An infestation of rats or mice can lead to problems long after your holiday guests are gone. See our tips for protecting your home from a holiday rodent infestation.
Give Yourself the Gift of Expert Pest Control
Before you get busy with holiday preparations and hosting, take advantage of a free inspection from Turner Pest Control. We offer one-time treatments, recurring pest control services, and more, with pricing based on the size of your home so you never pay too much. Schedule your free inspection online today or give us a call at 904-355-5300.