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‘Tis The Season For Unfestive Pests 

With the temperatures dropping, and the typical British weather being damp and dreary, it provides the perfect conditions for pests to thrive. Unfortunately, they tend to do so, inside our homes.

It’s the time of year when we are dusting off decorations from the loft and bringing Christmas trees that have been sitting outdoors into our living rooms. With fires roaring and an abundance of food on offer, it isn’t just us humans who are drawn to such inviting and cosy surroundings. Pests are also seeking such pleasures.

This blog explores preventative measures and telltale signs to look out for to make sure you aren’t giving pests festive cheer this Christmas.

a brown rat is crawling out from a Santa hat on a white surface

Pests That Take Shelter In Christmas Trees

Who doesn’t love the aroma of a real Christmas tree wafting through the home to help get us into the festive spirit? You might love it a little less if the tree that you carefully selected has brought an array of bugs indoors. In fact, some may even contain as many as 25,000 insects!

Though these bugs won’t cause you harm, they can still be a nuisance to get rid of if left for too long. So, it’s important to vigorously shake the freshly cut tree before bringing it indoors. It will help remove any loose needles and free any creepy crawlies and their eggs outdoors, which may have been hiding within the branches.

After shaking the tree, inspect the branches and remove any cobwebs or signs of a bird nest. You can even give your tree a little vacuum to remove any further debris.

For further top tips, read our blog on how to safely remove common Christmas tree bugs 

Examining Christmas Decoration Boxes For Signs of Rodents

The next stage, after bringing your pest-free tree inside or setting up an artificial one, is that trip into the loft to retrieve your decorations. Rats, mice, and squirrels often find their way into our attic spaces and where better to hide, but inside cardboard boxes. Before removing your decorations, check around for any gnaw marks or droppings. If it’s dusty enough, you may even see tiny footprints. 

If you see any telltale signs of an infestation, it’s vital to act fast, as it may spread rapidly. 

Learn how to perform an inspection and how you can prevent future infestations with the correct storage. 

Bugs Hiding In Your Firewood 

Many homes now have log burners installed to keep down energy costs. Similar to bringing a Christmas tree indoors, if woodpiles aren’t stored correctly, they may also be responsible for insects like woodlice, beetles and spiders setting up home inside. 

To prevent this from happening, firewood should be kept in a dry area, off the ground, at least 20 feet away from your home. When bringing wood inside, be sure to rotate your wood supply by taking the oldest first. Inspect the logs thoroughly, only bringing in as much wood as you will need to burn at a time. Then, burn the wood as soon as you enter indoors.  

How To Prevent Christmas Food And Waste From Attracting Pests

It’s totally understandable, at times during the Christmas period, that food can be left out to nibble on throughout the day. However, pests might also fancy tucking into your buffet too. Not only could this be a health risk for you or your visitors, but before you know it, you may also have an entire party of pests to deal with. 

Luckily, following a few simple steps can make sure that you won’t have any uninvited visitors…well, from the insect world at least:

  • Cover over unattended buffet food with shrink wrap or foil. 
  • Place leftover food in plastic containers with sealed lids in your fridge. 
  • Clean up any crumbs or spills as soon as possible.
  • Ensure your bins have bin bags inside them and that lids are tightly closed. 
  • Regularly empty your internal bins to keep them from overflowing or having enticing smells that may attract pests. 
  • Where possible, try not to leave bin bags, even if tied shut, outdoors on the floor where rodents can gain access. If your bins are full, try to use communal bins where possible, such as community recycling banks, to keep waste low. 
  • Keep up-to-date with bin collection days on your local council’s website, as they may be irregular over the festive period. 

Expecting Pet Visitors This Christmas?

It’s becoming more common for our pet-loving nation to bring a plus one with them in the form of a dog or cat if staying for a period of time. And, why should they miss out on the celebrations? 

Before your four-pawed visitors arrive, check with the owner that they are up-to-date with their flea treatments. This will ensure there won’t be any fleas leaping around on the dance floor or long after the party has come to an end. 

Check For Bedbugs If Travelling Over The Christmas Period

As you may have heard, currently there is a bed bug epidemic spreading throughout Europe, including here in the UK. So, if you are planning on staying away over the Christmas period, it’s most certainly worth checking you won’t be sharing a room with any unpaying guests. 

Search around the room and not only in the bed. As well as mattresses, inspect around skirting boards, loose bits of wallpaper, window ledges and electrical sockets for:

  • Blood stains, usually found in a linear, row-like arrangement.
  • A cluster of black spots, which are their faecal excrement.
  • Unpleasant odours. This can be a key indicator of an established bed bug infestation. 

Once staying in the room, also check for bite marks. These will appear red and swollen in appearance, with itchy spots on the skin. Typically, these will be on your face, neck or arms. 

By performing these quick checks, not only will you sleep soundly, but you can also minimise the spread elsewhere, including in your own home. 

Do You Suspect You Have A Pest Infestation?

Don’t let pests spoil your festive fun. If you think you have an infestation, then get in touch with our experts, who can perform a thorough inspection and make sure you have a pest-free Christmas. Our team is even on hand should you have an emergency on or around the big day itself!

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