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Before You Deck the Halls, Inspect!

Check your Christmas tree and other outdoor décor for pests before bringing inside

‘Tis the season for boughs of holly, merry wreaths, cozy fires and freshly cut Christmas trees—not accidentally bringing bee hives, termites, spiders or other pests into your home. Before bringing outdoor elements into your home, Washington and Oregon pest management experts urge you to inspect them well for unwanted guests. Put the following tips on your holiday checklist to help ensure the season is memorable for the right reasons.

Integrated Pest Management Tips for a More Joyful Holiday

  • Know what insects live on Christmas trees:
    • Aphids
    • Adelgids
    • Mites
    • Scale
    • Beetles
    • Praying mantids
    • Spiders
    • Bees
    • Moths

  • Inspect a Christmas trees before purchasing or cutting it down. Oregon and Washington pest management specialists recommend looking on the undersides of branches for egg cases and removing the affected branches. Remove bird nests. Avoid trees that have small holes or sawdust-like powder along the trunk.
  • Shake the Christmas tree before purchasing it or bringing it into your home to dislodge any insects. Remove any bird nests in the tree, too.
  • Inspect natural greenery and floral arrangements for insects before bringing them into your home.
  • Do not spray the Christmas tree or other greenery with pesticides. The chemicals are flammable and may be toxic if inhaled.
  • Unpack and inspect your holiday decorations outside for signs of pests if you don’t store them in hard plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. Signs include of pests include rodent droppings, gnaw marks and holes. At the end of the season, store holiday decorations in hard plastic boxes.
  • Inspect firewood for pests and only bring in pieces that you plan to use immediately. To prevent infestations, keep the woodpile elevated, dry and 20 feet away from your home.

The surprises in your home should be under the tree, not living in it. If you accidentally introduced pests into your home, use a vacuum to get rid of them. For a major infestation, remove the infested greenery from the house right away and vacuum. If the infestation is too big to handle, call the experts at Eden.

[ Photo by: EliJerma , on Flickr, via CC License ]

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