Christmas is a time of warmth and abundance. This is true for both your family and pests. With freshly-cut pine trees, decorations that have languished in a loft or basement for 11 months and lots of leftover food, there are plenty of ways that pests can ruin Christmas for you and your loved ones.
Pests and Real Christmas Trees
There’s nothing like the smell of a real Christmas tree to get you into the festive spirit. Picking a tree, bringing it home and setting it up in your living room is an important tradition for many families, but it can be a prime opportunity for pests to enter your home.
The vast majority of insects that live in pine trees are not dangerous to humans and most will die and drop out of a tree within a few days of being in the warmth of your home. However, for many people, finding spiders and other creepy-crawlies hanging around the presents is guaranteed to cast a shadow on proceedings and could even have them running in the other direction.
For this reason, we highly recommend giving your tree a firm shake before you bring it home. This should dislodge most of the unwelcome visitors (as well as any dead needles). You should then take a closer look at the branches, particularly around the trunk, to identify any leftover nesting material from birds. These nests can carry diseases and tiny mites, so it’s vital that you wear gloves before you attempt to pick materials out of the tree.
If you have a garage, spacious shed, or other closed-off area attached to your home, it may be worth leaving the tree in that area (with proper water) for a few days before bringing it inside for decorating.
Pests and Christmas Decorations
Many of us will loosely pack up our decorations in old cardboard boxes to be stored away until next Christmas. These cardboard boxes are ideal for shredding to create warm and comfy rodent nests. When you remove your decorations, check the corners for holes and gnaw marks. Rodents can spread diseases such as salmonella and leptospirosis through their urine, so if it looks like they’ve made a meal of your boxes, proceed with caution.
You should also inspect your fairy lights for teeth marks. For some reason, rats and mice seem to find wiring irresistible, so if you’ve had any issues with pest rodents over the past 12 months, you should take extra care to examine them. Their chewing of wires has been known to cause fires, so it isn’t a precaution to take lightly.
Just like with trees, fresh wreaths can also carry pest insects and nesting material, so be sure to perform similar checks before you bring them into your home.
To avoid issues like these in future years, we highly recommend storing your decorations in airtight plastic containers. These will deter even the most motivated of pests and keep your festive baubles safe and clean.
Pests and Leftover Food
We completely understand the temptation to leave out the remnants of your Christmas feast. After all, you may need seconds (or thirds!) But this particular practice can be a dream come true for pests who struggle to find natural food sources during the winter months.
Irregular bin pick-ups can exacerbate the problem, since leftover food can be hanging around in your bins for more than a week, attracting all sorts of unwanted Christmas guests.
To make sure you’re the only ones enjoying your family recipes, clear away place settings shortly after eating and store leftovers in airtight containers. You should also try to keep your bins further away from the house to deter pests from entering your home.
As with any pest problem, prevention is better than cure.
However, if you’ve already discovered an infestation and need rapid action, contact Safeguard today either online or by phone on 0800 328 4931.