Three Clever Ways Pest Get (And Stay) Inside Your Home
November 18, 2020
Son of a NUT-cracker, the holidays are almost upon us! If you’re hoping to celebrate from Thanksgiving through the New Year sans nuisance and destructive insects and rodents, then you’ll want to take a moment to familiarize yourself with a few of the more clever ways pests get inside and stay inside your home.
On Your Houseplants
Everyone knows the pests can slip through cracks and gaps on the exterior of the house, chew their way in (here’s looking at you rats and mice), or walk right through an open door but they can also find their way in by less obvious, more clever means. Like houseplants for instance. Plants that typically reside on decks, patios, and other outdoor living spaces during the warm days of summer and early spring may not survive outdoors during the New Jersey nights we have ahead of us. So while bringing them indoors is an excellent way to preserve them, it could also lead to infestation. It’s not just your old plants either. Buying plants at the grocery store, farmers market, or nursery may also result in a pest problem if you’re not careful.
Where to look for pests on your plants
The soil is another potential hotspot for pest activity. Earwigs, ants, and other house-infesting pests, if infesting your plants, are likely to be visible on the topsoil and around the drainage areas. Depending on the pest, you could find insects below the surface level.
How prevent or get rid of pests on houseplants before you bring them into your home
Inspection is key. Whether you’re bringing them indoors for winter or buying brand new houseplants, you must inspect the stem, leaves, and soil carefully. If there’s any dead foliage or flowers that have dropped remove them so you can clearly see the whole plant and base.
You could wash your houseplants. An article on Better Homes & Gardens recommends using warm water to rid plants of insects. Set larger plants in the tub or shower and let the water wash them. Smaller plants can be washed the same and also by being held upside down and swished around. Either way, you should allow plants to air dry out of direct sunlight. For best results and to keep your green thumb intact, consult your favorite gardening book or website for detailed instructions specific to your plants.
On Your Firewood
Whether your wood-burning fireplace is used to supplement your main heat supply or to create a cozy warmth for enjoyment, you will need wood. Carpenter ants, spiders, wood-boring beetles, and other pests have a tendency to lurk in woodpiles. If you bring wood that is infested with bugs into your home, you will have a pest problem on your hands.
Where to look for pests on firewood
Insects that are often found in and around firewood are those that feed on the wood and those that use it for shelter. Pests may be found crawling under the bark or even infesting the wood. Others are likely to be found hiding out in the gaps that the stacked logs create.
How to prevent or get rid of pests on your firewood
Termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-destroying pests will not appreciate any efforts you make to keep your firewood dry. Stacking logs on a platform above the ground is a great way to prevent bugs from infesting. We also recommend covering your pile with a tarp to keep rain and other precipitation away from the firewood.
We’ve all done it, loaded up on firewood in anticipation of a big storm to save us from having to endure the harsh elements. While you might spare yourself exposure a night or two, it’s likely that you’ll make it that much easier for bugs to infest. Never store your firewood in the garage, on the porch, or anywhere inside or in close proximity of your house. The farther away your stockpile, the harder it will be for pests to come inside. You can create your own storage method (we’ve seen many created from cinder blocks) or there are several options you can choose from on Amazon and other retail websites.
On Or In Your Holiday Decorations
Have you already been toying with the idea of decorating your home and hearth a bit earlier than previous years? If so, you’re in good company but we do want to issue a word of warning. Holiday decorations stored in the attic, out in the garage or shed, or ones that you buy or forage for this year could be waiting to give you the gift of an unwanted surprise - namely insects and rodents.
Where to look for pests in your holiday decorations
It’s very common to store old decorations in areas where pests frequent. Closets, attics, and other storage areas that aren’t often disturbed make excellent hiding places for pests trying to live their best lives inside your space and without regard to the quality of yours. They may also enter your home on boughs of holly, leaves of mistletoe, the tree, and other “living” decorations.
How to prevent or get rid of pests on your holiday decorations
Inspecting holiday decorations is your best tool for keeping pests out. Before you unpack items you’ve been storing, take them. You do not want to open a cardboard box only to find a family of mice nesting or jumping out to infest other corners of your home. Inspection is also necessary for anything you bring inside from the out of doors. It’s also a good idea to give your tree a gentle but firm shake to dislodge anything living amongst the branches.
On the other side of the holiday, skip the cardboard boxes and stock up on storage containers that are made from durable materials and that have tight fitting or locking lids. Do not store ornaments or decorations that are made from food from year to year. We know, the sentimental value is great but the cost of damage caused by insect and rodent infestation can be steep.
Don’t Let Pests Dampen Your Holiday Spirit This Year!
If you’ve already discovered pests into your home, there’s no need to go into Grinch-mode. Simply give us a call and we’d be happy to stop by to evaluate your pest problem and offer a solution. Better yet, give yourself the gift of a pest-free home all year-round by signing up for one of Arrow’s Home Protection Plans.
Serving Short Hills, South Plainfield, and Manalapan Township as well as communities throughout our multi-county service area, you can trust our locally owned and operated New Jersey pest control company to take care of pests. Whether it’s watching Elf and eating popcorn, decorating gingerbread houses (that you will throw away) while singing favorite holiday songs at the top of your lungs, or counting down to Christmas with the Hallmark Channel, you focus on ways to make this year with your loved ones special and not bugs while we’re on the job!