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.
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.
To keep your guests happy and your backyard pest-free during barbecues, consider the following tips:
Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, so if you are planning a barbeque before sunset, plan on having plenty of insect repellant containing an EPA-registered active ingredient like DEET or Picaridin available for you and your guests. Adorn your deck or patio with citronella candles that can help minimize the presence of mosquitoes in the area, and wear long sleeves or pants to avoid bites.
Yellowjackets and other stinging insects are attracted to fragrances from shampoo, perfume and candles — not to mention food and drink. Avoid using scented items beforehand and provide clear plastic cups for your guests as aluminum cans and plastic bottles are good hiding spots for stinging insects.
Prior to the party, check screen doors and repair any holes. And with guests coming in and out of your house, make sure the doors close behind them.
Keep all food and beverages in sealed coolers and containers.
Keep garbage containers sealed and away from guests.
Clean trash, spills and crumbs immediately from tables and other surfaces.
Rinse all beverage bottles and cans, and dispose of them in tightly closed garbage containers.
Bring utensils and dishware indoors shortly after the meal.
Plan to serve food and beverages indoors, and reserve outdoor space for eating and entertaining.
Remove or drain sources of standing water in your yard that could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, including birdbaths, and wading pools.
A key part of termite pest control is prevention. Staying vigilant and following the seven tips listed below will help you reduce your chances of suffering from a termite infestation. 1) Quickly repair plumbing problems If you notice leaky pipes and dripping A/C units, have them fixed as soon as possible. When moisture starts to build up in and around the foundation of your home, termites are more likely to show up and multiply. A buildup of moisture in your basement and crawl spaces is particularly problematic. 2) Don’t point your sprinklers at the foundation of your home Some people have sprinkler systems that deposit excess water directly on their home and on the soil at the foundation. Again, you want to keep the foundation and the ground around it dry. 3) Don’t get careless with dead wood Dead wood in contact with soil is a top attraction for termites. Take care then not to deposit mulch at the foundation of your home. Don’t stack firewood or old lumber right up against your house. Make sure the area around your home is clear of wood debris. Ideally, any parts of your house that are made of wood will be at least half a foot above the soil. 4) Keep vegetation under control Plants shouldn’t be closer than a few feet to the foundation of your home; the moist and nutrient-rich soil beneath them could attract termites. Any vents leading into your home at or close to ground level should remain clear of weeds and other vegetation; this way, termites will be less likely to have a moist and poorly ventilated space to crawl into. 5) Make sure your drains and gutters are clear Drains and gutters, when constructed properly, play a role in keeping the foundation of your home free of moisture. Be sure to inspect them for blockages and clean out debris, deposits of leaves, and any pools of standing water. 6) Check for cracks in the foundation Conduct an inspection of your home, both externally and internally (from your basement, for example) to find any cracks that might admit termites. 7) Maintain good crawl space ventilation Installing vapor barriers can help keep the space dry. Also make sure there are enough vents for the amount of square footage your crawl space occupies. These seven tips should help make your home less friendly to termites. In addition, you can have your home inspected and assessed for termite risk and presence, and enlist the services of professionals to further termite-proof your property. Contact us not only if you’re already experiencing termite problems, but if you’d also like to work on preventing an infestation.
What questions should homeowners ask during a professional termite treatment?
Homeowners should find out specifics about the location and extent of termite damage. They should ask for further information on the products and materials that will be applied in and around their home. A federal law requires commercial applicators of “restricted use” products to be certified. The certification program is left up to the state. Homeowners can call the certifying state agencies for further information. They should also be aware of the difference between a repair and a retreat contract which stipulates a company’s ultimate responsibility for the job.
Homeowners shouldn’t hesitate to question their pest control operators about other pests or related pest information. PCOs are well-trained, educated and capable of discussing pests and pest-related public health and property threats. As consumers become increasing aware of and worried about the recent influx of pest-related public health threats they should feel free to contact NPMA or their local PCO to address any issues.
Serving All of South Florida Since 1968 (All 12 Counties)