family gathered at the table for Christmas dinner

Don’t let your holiday guests be pests

Rose Smuller

One of the most wonderful parts of the holiday season is welcoming guests to our homes. But not all guests are welcome. While you are busy decorating, baking, and wrapping gifts, it’s easy to overlook signs of pests in the rush to check another item off your holiday “to-do” list. By taking some simple steps you can greatly reduce the chances of pests participating in your holiday festivities. 

christmas decorations in boxes

DECORATIONS

Some of our most beautiful and sentimental holiday decorations are, unfortunately, a prime target for pests. Before bringing decorations into the main living areas of your home, it’s important to unpack boxes outside and carefully inspect them for signs of a potential pest infestation. Make sure you check for insects, eggs, nests, gnaw marks, and rodent droppings. This rule also applies to items you bring into your home from elsewhere including trees, wreaths, garland, and other decorations. Storing holiday decorations in plastic containers with tightly sealed lids instead of cardboard containers or bags can help prevent future pest issues.

packages sitting on front porch

PACKAGES

You may be getting more deliveries at this time of year. Unfortunately, your delivery may contain more than what you ordered. Pests can hitchhike on or inside the packages delivered to your home. It’s not unusual for warehouses that ship products to have pest issues. To avoid a potential pest infestation, carefully inspect all packages before bringing them inside your home. Look for droppings, egg cases, discarded wings, insect body parts, larvae or actual pests flying from or crawling on or inside parcels. Pay particular attention to shipments containing food or perishable items, which can be especially attractive to pests. Certain pests can establish large infestations in a short amount of time, so even a few pests entering your home inside a package could possibly lead to big problems very fast.

GUESTS

Friends and family visiting your home to celebrate the holidays can bring more than a hostess gift. House guests can unknowingly bring cockroaches, bed bugs, and other pests with them – and leave them when they go. There are a few ways you can minimize the risks of visitors bringing unwelcome guests into your home.

  • Do not put guests’ coats or bags on upholstered furniture or bedding.
  • Clean the front closet of all other clothing and use it only for guests’ coats and belongings.
  • Ask guests to place their shoes on a mat by the door. Then clean the mat thoroughly when your guests leave.
  • After the visit, thoroughly vacuum the closet and dispose of the vacuum bag immediately after cleaning.
holiday decoration in an airport

TRAVEL

Many people travel during the holidays to celebrate with friends and family. Even the most seasoned travelers are at a higher risk of encountering bed bugs when traveling because these blood-sucking pests are excellent hitchhikers and are easily transported from one place to another in human belongings. In addition to hotel rooms, bed bugs can be found in airplanes, rental cars, buses, and other means of public transportation that give these biting pests plenty of opportunities to find a host. To prevent bringing bed bugs home from your next trip, thoroughly inspect your hotel room, do not place luggage on upholstered surfaces, and wash and dry all of your clothes on hot cycles and vacuum your luggage thoroughly before bringing it in the house when you return home.

Don’t let an encounter with a pest ruin your holiday celebration. Ehrlich’s pestfree365 plan can help protect your home and family from over 36 pests, including ants, mice, and cockroaches during the holidays and all year long! We hope your holidays are pest-free, but if unwanted guests try to join your celebration, contact us and one of our pest specialists will be able to help.

Rose Smuller
Rose Smuller

As a Marketing Manager for Rentokil North America, Rose manages e-communications for residential pest control services. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with friends and spoiling her niece and nephew.

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