Cold weather is approaching quickly and that can mean just one thing: the holiday season is coming! With the holidays comes traveling and visiting family, putting up holiday decorations and picking out the perfect Christmas tree. All of these things can be quite enjoyable but can come with a certain amount of stress, especially if you throw rodents or insects into the mix. Although most people don’t think about pests when they think about the holiday season, it is something that should be given some thought around this time of year. Insects like bed bugs, spiders, silverfish and carpet beetles and rodents like mice and rats are all concerns throughout the year, but especially during the holiday season. Here are a few tips on keeping your holiday season merry and bright and to avoid bringing pests home with you this year.

Traveling During The Holidays

If you are traveling during the holidays, you need to be aware that picking up bed bugs is a possibility. These pests are excellent hitchhikers, attaching themselves to luggage, personal belongings and even the clothes on your back. You can unknowingly pick them up in airplanes, trains and taxis as well as in commercial lodgings, retail stores and movie theaters. If you plan on traveling for the holidays, follow these prevention tips to make sure you don’t bring biting bed bugs home with you this year:

  • Pack your belongings in a hard-sided suit case. Bed bugs have a difficult time penetrating this type of luggage.

  • Pack a flash light in your bag; use this to help you investigate your hotel room for signs of bed bugs, including brownish red blood spots on bed linens and caste bed bug skins along room edges and around the bed.

  • Don’t leave your luggage open in your room; keep it closed except while in use.

  • If you notice signs of bed bugs in your room, make sure to let management know immediately so that they can take care of the problem and move you to a new room that is well away from the infested room.

  • Pack clothes that can withstand hot water washing temperatures. If you should pick up bed bugs during your trip, you’ll want to wash your clothes in the hottest water temperature possible when you return home.

  • Put mattress encasements on your mattresses at home; this will insure that bed bugs cannot infest your mattresses should you bring bed bugs home with you.

These prevention tips can help you avoid bringing home bed bugs from your holiday travels, which should save you a huge headache in the future. Having bed bugs in your St. Louis home can be an enormous stress and the holiday season is stressful enough! Keep your home bed bug free by knowing what bed bug signs to watch out for and making sure that you keep a vigilant eye open while traveling this holiday season.

Holiday Decoration Pest Prevention

Picking out the perfect Christmas tree can be an enjoyable task, but it can also be a source of stress for a homeowner. Especially when that Christmas tree carries spiders or other pests into your home. When picking out your tree, look out for any bugs that may be hiding in among the branches and be sure that there are no spider webs between boughs. When you get your tree home, be sure to unwrap it outdoors or inside your garage and then thoroughly inspect each branch for insects (or even rodents!) that may be hiding in amongst the greenery. It also won’t hurt to give your tree a good shake before heading inside; you never know what kind of pests may have attached themselves to your biggest holiday decoration!

After the tree is up, it’s time to decorate. If you store your holiday decorations in the basement, attic or garage, you’ll want to inspect them closely before unpacking. Boxes of decorations are excellent hiding places for rodents like mice because they provide a safe and dark area that is hardly touched, except for the 1 month of year when the decorations are in use. Insects will also find boxes of decorations as good hiding places, so beware when unpacking boxes that annoying and slightly creepy insects could be crawling over your favorite holiday ornaments. To be safe, unpack your holiday decorations outdoors so any hiding insects or rodents can escape to the great outdoors, rather than into the comfort of your home.

When you pack up your holiday decorations this year, follow these prevention techniques to be sure that you don’t have unexpected creatures living in amongst your decorations next year:

  • Pack your decorations in heavy duty plastic containers with tight fitting lids. This can prevent your decorations from being infiltrated by rodents and other pests. Cardboard boxes will not stand up to rodents and their teeth and will allow easy entry for insects.

  • Wash all fabric decorations before storing. Dirt and oils that may be left on these fabrics can attract insects like clothes moths, carpet beetles and even cockroaches.

  • Consider storing homemade ornaments in tightly sealed containers to keep them from being a temptation to insects and rodents. Decorations made from edible goods sometimes can last a couple of seasons but can be a serious attraction to pests; pack these in airtight containers or dispose of them after each holiday season.

Remaining vigilant in the fight against insects and rodents throughout the year can help make certain that your holiday season is pest free. As Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, so implementing prevention techniques BEFORE you have a problem is really the best way to go. But sometimes with all the prevention in the world, it’s still possible to find a pest infestation inside your home. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you already have enough to worry about during the busiest season of the year. Contacting a St. Louis pest control professional like Rottler is the best way to make sure your home is free from invading insects and rodents, not only during the holiday season but 365 days a year. If you see signs of bed bugs in your home, or find spiders, silverfish, carpet beetles or even rodents in your home, don’t hesitate to contact Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions today for more information on what can be done to get rid of these pests.

Since 1956, Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions has been providing effective pest control in St. Louis, Columbia, Jefferson and throughout Mid-Missouri and are ready to help you protect your family and property from unwanted and potentially damaging insects and rodents. Give us a yell today!

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