It’s the time of year where we’re welcoming family and friends into our homes and celebrating the holidays with the ones we love. No one wants to spend the holidays dealing with a pest problem but the reality is it happens a lot this time of year. People aren’t the only ones looking for a warm, cozy place to spend the winter, or a holiday feast, so are pests.
There are some pests that seem to be more of a problem this time of year. One of those pests is bed bugs. While bed bugs don’t really increase over the holiday season, more people experience problems with them this time of year thanks to travel. Bed bugs are known hitchhikers and will catch a ride on anything they can. This includes things like your luggage and even the clothes on your back. Bed bugs don’t pose any known health hazards but they do bite, leaving behind itchy, red bumps and they can rob you of a good night sleep. Something you can do to keep bed bugs from coming home with you over the holidays is to put your luggage in plastic bags before placing them in your vehicle. Once you have arrived home, vacuum your luggage outside, if possible, and wash and dry all clothing. While on vacation, avoid keeping your luggage on the floor.
Sightings of spiders also increase this time of year. Spiders like to hide in cool, dark places. Those are often the same places you store your holiday decorations. There are three spiders that are found in Georgia: the house spider, brown recluse spider and black widow spiders. If you pull out a box of ornaments and see a house spider, there is no need to worry. House spiders don’t pose any known threats to humans. However, if you think you see a brown recluse spider or a black widow spider, you should exercise caution. Both of these spiders are poisonous and can be extremely dangerous, if they bite. If you think you’ve been bitten by either of these spiders, you should seek medical attention immediately.
This is also a prime time of year for cockroaches and pantry pests to start sneaking into the kitchen. The crumbs from those holiday pies and cookies you’re baking can draw them in. Both pantry pests and cockroaches can contaminate food supplies and put you and your family at risk for health problems. Not only do cockroaches contaminate food but also counter tops and surfaces. The feces and shed skins they leave behind can also cause asthma symptoms.
Bugs and insects aren’t the only crawly critters to be on the lookout for. Mice and rats are also looking for a place to spend the holiday season (and beyond). Rodents are often known to take up residence in the kitchen and inside the walls. They contaminate surfaces leaving behind trails of urine and feces, which can be extremely dangerous. They reproduce quickly and placing mouse traps won't cure the root of your problem with them.
There are some things you can do around your home to prevent pests this holiday season. First, keep your kitchen as clean as possible. Sweep and mop the floor on a regular basis to be sure crumbs aren’t tucked away where you can’t see them. Take the trash out regularly (use a covered trash can) and don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Make sure counter tops are wiped down and food is put away in airtight containers. Next, check in and around your home for cracks and holes, filling them as needed. You should also repair any leaky pipes, and seal any broken weather stripping.
Outside your home, trim back shrubs and branches from in front of your home, eliminate standing water and keep your trash and recyclables stored as far from your home as possible. The best option for pest prevention anytime of the year is to hire a professional. They know the problem spots and can work with you to make sure your home and your family is protected from these pests. The holidays are stressful and eventful enough without having to worry about a pest problem. Contact a Georgia pest control expert today to make sure your home is safe and sound from pests for the holiday.