A pest-free home for Christmas

In just over a month many of us will be celebrating Christmas. Even if you don’t observe the Christmas traditions, it’s probable you’ll be altering your daily routines as society shifts towards festivity and partying. This may well mean spending more time in your home and the homes of your friends and family.

After the last couple of yours, I don’t think many people would begrudge us a few days of merriment, especially at a time when, as I type, it is dark, cold and very wet outside. Transforming our homes into warm and cosy fortresses against the darkness of December has become a ritual many of us look forward to as winter descends.

Here are a couple of tips to make sure unwanted pests do not diminish your Christmas cheer.

Tidy up

At Christmas we often over-indulge, buying extra food and drink to make our days all the more enjoyable. This is great, but there can be a problem if you don’t clear up at the end of the day. That half-eaten sausage roll left on a plate by the side of the couch when you go to bed is a real delight for a mouse or rat. Crumbs left on a work surface after you’ve made a late-night sandwich with the end of turkey will be delicious treat for a cockroach.

I know it can seem like a boring thing to do at the end of the day but, if you take just a little bit of time on Christmas Day cleaning up food waste and wiping down surfaces, you will avoid potentially having to start Boxing Day with a pest problem.

Store food correctly

We all tend to consume more at Christmas; it’s become part of the ritual. However, too often we forget that we need to store the extra food we buy.

I’m sure the turkey, goose, creamy desserts, hams and fish starters will all get prime positions in the fridge but there are loads of other products with a longer shelf life that may well find their natural home is taken buy something new – a cake in the bread bin or crisps in the fruit bowl.

We love these foods, but some do pests. Make sure all your treats are stored in airtight containers to stop the pests enjoying your food before you can.

What about the Christmas tree?

So far, this advice should be followed throughout the year. It is part of good housekeeping.

However, one major difference at Christmas is that most of us don’t have a tree standing in our sitting room for 11 months of the year. If we are lucky, it’s a real tree, which are better for the environment, local communities and our health. A 2007 study by Kyoto University found that the smell of real pine needles considerably reduced anxiety, stress and depression levels. There is also the ritual of choosing the tree, bringing it home and then decorating it with the family.

This is all very positive but there is one thing that can cause problems and it relates to the fact the tree is a living ecosystem. One of the positives of a real tree is that it takes 10 years to grow to six feet. In that time, things (spiders, mites, etc.) will live in it. Now, when the farmer cuts it, he will shake it to remove unwanted pests but there is a possibility some may remain.

Due to the time of year, any pest you may encounter in a British tree will be innocuous but I’m sure you don’t want it in your home over the festive period. Here’s what you can do to be sure:

  • Inspect all greenery before you bring it into your home (this also applies to holly, ivy, wreaths, etc.)
  • Use a torch to check the heart of the tree
  • If you are still not sure, remove the netting and shake it outside

Finally, when you take the tree out of your home on Twelfth Night, make sure it goes straight to recycling or is stored well away from your home. What you should never do is leave it outside in a place that is close to your house because it can attract rodents and other pests.

We have the expertise to deal with a wide range of pest problems quickly, safely, and discreetly. If you have a problem, call us on 020 8430 4133 or email here.

Image by Anna from Pixabay