It’s finally the holiday season when we can celebrate with our favorite dishes and desserts! While we might find ourselves stocking up on ingredients for our upcoming dinners, you could be providing certain “pantry pests” their holiday meals! Here are two common pantry pests to look out for this holiday season.
Indian Meal Moth
The Indian meal moth is famously known for feeding on pantry items. These pests have a two-toned wing pattern with tan or copper colors throughout their oval-shaped body. They have six legs and a 1/2” to 5/8” wingspan. These insects are highly attracted to light and anywhere they can find food stored. They prefer to feed on dried fruits and vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, candies, chocolate, pet food, and powdered milk.
Merchant Grain Beetles
The merchant grain beetle has a dark brown body, six legs, and six saw-like teeth on each side of their bodies. Their narrow oval body shape allows them to crawl inside of packaging to eat, live, and reproduce. While their name suggests that they feed on grains, they actually prefer to feed on cereals, cake mixes, macaroni, cookies, and chocolate! Once these insects infest food packages, they immediately contaminate them.
- Buy dried food in quantities that can be eaten or used within 2 to 4 months
- Use up all your older food products before buying new ones
- Store foods in tightly closed containers, preferably those made of glass, metal, or heavy plastic
- Keep food storage areas clean by cleaning up crumbs and spills immediately
- Thoroughly clean cracks and corners of cupboards and doors with a vacuum cleaner
- Inspect all food packages before buying them or bringing them home
You’ve managed to fight all the early holiday decorating urges and now it’s time! Before you rush off to start decking the tree and hanging the mistletoe, follow these tips to make sure pests aren’t spending the holidays indoors with you and yours.
Check Your Tree Before Bringing It Home
- Pests like spiders, mites, moths, squirrels, and many others have been known to make trees and wreaths their temporary home. Before bringing these items in your home, inspect for overwintering pests and thoroughly shake them to free any pests residing inside.
Even Your Old Decorations Aren’t Safe
- Although your decorations have been stored away throughout the year, pests flock to attics, basements, and garages. They will crawl into the storage boxes you have put away. When unpacking these boxes, inspect them before bringing them into the main living areas.
Keep Warm Without Pests
- The sudden cold weather may signal the need to utilize your fireplace and snuggle up with a cup of hot cocoa. Use caution when bringing firewood indoors, as pests such as spiders, termites, and ants can tag along. Inspect all firewood thoroughly before bringing it indoors and store firewood on a raised platform at least 20 feet from your home.
The holidays really are best enjoyed pest-free. If you find yourself dealing with uninvited holiday guests, call your licensed pest control company to schedule an inspection.
The holiday season is upon us with decorations, food, and traveling to see family and friends. While most of us are focused on our holiday preparations, we often lose focus on another important aspect of this time of year – pest prevention. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean pests aren’t a problem. The holidays provide many opportunities for spiders, ticks, ants, mice, bed bugs, and other pests to make their way indoors and take over your home.
One of the most common ways pests can get into your home during the holidays is on live Christmas trees, wreaths, and firewood. Ants, spiders, ticks, and other pests can hide deep in the branches of trees and in the crevices of wood. They can even lay their eggs in trees or garland which can hatch once you put them out in your home, potentially causing a major infestation.
Pests can also access your home in those boxes of decorations you drag out from the attic, basement, garage, or crawlspace. Mice and other pests love to get into those cardboard boxes during the off season. You may be in for a surprise when you open your decorations by finding a live pest, droppings, or even damage to your lights and ornaments. It is especially important to check the wiring of your lights to make sure pests haven’t chewed through them.
The holidays are also one of the busiest travel times of the year. Most of us will either travel to visit loved ones or have loved ones travel to visit us. While we’re usually excited to see everyone, we’re not so excited to deal with bed bugs which often hitch rides on the luggage of these travelers. We often see a spike in bed bug cases during the holiday season.
So what can you do to pest proof your home and make sure you don’t get any unwanted guests for the holidays?
- Carefully inspect all items before bringing them into your home including trees wreaths, garland, and other decorations. Make sure to check for insects, eggs, and nests and shake them to rouse any pests that might be hidden deep within.
- Unpack your decorations outside instead of in your living room. Inspect them thoroughly for any signs of pests, droppings, gnaw marks, or any other damage before bringing them inside.
- Store your holiday decorations in plastic containers with lids that seal tightly instead of cardboard containers or bags.
- Don’t put discarded trees or cut firewood near your home. Firewood should be stored at least 20 feet away from your home and elevate it if possible.
- Thoroughly check your luggage before you enter the place you are staying and ask your guests to do the same before they enter your home.
- Put your clothing in the dryer, if possible, for at least 20 minutes.
- Keep your bags closed when not in use and store them off the floor.
- If you suspect you have a pest problem this holiday season, contact a pest control professional who can provide you with an evaluation and treatment plan.
As the weather continues to bounce between a crisp 32° and a breezy 65°, you may have noticed a major decrease in pest activity. “Well, that’s it! No more bugs. Let’s cancel the pest service!” This, however, could prove to be a costly mistake. Winter pest control is an essential component in protection and prevention of pest infestations.
- Inspections during the fall and winter are crucial. Issues identified during inspections can be handled before the problem becomes worse. Early detection is key to preventing infestations.
- Winter weather in the South tends to be unpredictable. Daily temperature changes can cause pests that hibernate in our homes to become more active during this time.
- Pests aren’t really gone; they are seeking shelter from the cold. Ants, wasps, spiders, cockroaches, and other overwintering pests look to your attic, walls, and crawlspace for warmth.
- The steps your pest professional takes during winter can greatly reduce your chances of infestation once spring rolls around. While web brushing around your home helps eliminate spider webs and egg casings that could hatch come spring, spraying around the perimeter of your home creates a residual barrier that not only protects your home during the winter months, but also when spring weather returns.
While your home is filled with holiday joy and warmth during the winter, pests will take this time to seek refuge indoors. Take the time to set up an inspection with your pest control professional to make a personalized plan for prevention and protection of your home. This could be the difference between total home protection year-round or fighting against pests once warmer weather returns.