Tips to avoid a pest infestation when decorating the home for the Holidays
As families across the country get into the Holiday spirit by digging out their decorations and unpacking strands of twinkling lights, Hulett Environmental a pest management company servicing South Florida urges caution against pests that can make their way into the home via boxes of ornaments, fresh-cut Christmas trees, wreathes and even firewood.
Ants and spiders can easily hide in the branches of trees and crevices of firewood, while mice can chew through cardboard boxes of decorations that have been stored away since last season. Unfortunately, these pests can pose serious health threats, from food contamination to the spread of disease, once they find a way inside.”
Hulett advises homeowners to carefully inspect these all items for pests before bringing them inside the home. Hulett recommends the following tips to specifically prevent a pest infestation when decorating for the Holidays:
- Inspect live, fresh cut evergreen trees, wreathes and garlands for spiders, insect nests or eggs before purchasing. Shake greenery outdoors to remove any pests before bringing them inside.
- Unpack decorations outdoors so pests aren’t released into the home. Repack decorations in durable, sealed containers that pests can’t chew through.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home on a raised structure, such as concrete blocks or poles.
- If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect, identify and treat the problem.
Argentine Ants: Colonies of Argentine ants are found throughout the southeastern parts of the U.S. and California usually in wet environments near a food source. Argentine ants do not pose a health threat, but they can contaminate food and give off a musty odor when crushed.
Carpenter Ants: This aggressive species of ant is found nationwide, especially in the northern region. Carpenter ants attack wood and can cause severe property damage, which is usually not covered by homeowners’ insurance.
Crazy Ants: First found in Texas in 2002, crazy ants have spread to other southern states, nesting in both dry and moist habitats. This species does not pose a health threat, but they can become a nuisance.
Odorous House Ants: This species is found in every region of the U.S. and commonly nests in basements, crawl spaces and adjacent structures. Odorous house ants do not pose a health risk, but they give off a strong, rotten coconut-like smell when crushed.
Pavement Ants: These black ants are found throughout the eastern portion of the U.S., and in California and Washington. They get their name from making nests in or under cracks in pavement. Pavement ants can contaminate food and should be avoided.
Red Imported Fire Ants: These red ants are found in the southeastern U.S., from Virginia to Texas, as well as California and New Mexico. They are commonly introduced to new areas through potted plants, shrubbery and trees. Fire ants will sting humans who disturb a nest, often causing painful welts.
If you suspect an ant infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. For more information on ants, please visit http://site1.das-group.com/bugs_database/ants.asp
Did you know? The brown recluse #spider bite is painless but may cause a spreading, tissue-killing wound. Infrequently, reactions include fever, chills, joint pain and convulsions. Just Call HULETT!
Checking for Bed Bugs
- Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard, under lights, and inside dressers, drawers, sofas and chairs.
- Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams and box springs, particularly at the corners, for pepper-like stains, spots or shed bed bug skins.
- Place suitcase in a plastic trash bag during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure.
- Do not place luggage on upholstered surfaces. The safest place is in the bathroom in the middle of a tile floor or on a luggage rack after it has been thoroughly inspected. Do not use a luggage rack if it has hollow legs, where bed bugs may hide unseen.
If You Suspect Bed Bugs Are In Your Hotel Room:
- Notify management and request to change rooms immediately.
- Do not move to a room adjacent and/or directly above/below the suspected infestation. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through wall sockets. If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.
When You Arrive Home:
- Inspect your suitcases outdoors before bringing them into the house.
- Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing it. Consider using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which can kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have traveled home with you.
- Wash and dry all of your clothes – even those that have not been worn – on hot cycles.
- Keep clothes that go to the dry cleaner in a sealed plastic bag until they can be transported.