Cooler weather is a favorite for many, as it notifies us that Thanksgiving and Christmas are upon us. Time to spend with family and friends and enjoy the warmth of our homes, pests and rodents are looking forward to some heat of their own-in OUR homes.
Pests and rodents can pose serious risks for people and homes. They are known to pass on diseases including Salmonella and Hantavirus. Cockroaches can also spread disease and their saliva and droppings can trigger asthma attacks, especially in young children.
Below are a few tips from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) that you can do to keep these unwanted guests outside during the fall and winter:
- Keep kitchen counters clean, store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. Pests are attracted to areas of moisture, something they need to survive.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery well-trimmed. Removing areas where pests can hide near your home can reduce the chance of them finding a way inside.
- Avoid leaving pets’ food dishes out for long periods, they are very enticing for all kinds of pests and rodents.
- Screen attic vents and opening to chimneys, and any other areas where homes may be open to the outdoors.
- Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter. Some rodents can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the foundation and windows.
- Have a proper outdoor drainage system. Installing gutters or repairing an existing system will help water and moisture away from your home, preventing any leaks or build up that might attract pests.
- Inspect items such as boxes of decorations and package deliveries before bringing them indoors. Shake out or inspect anything that has been left or stored, indoors or outdoors. Pests can find creative ways to get inside your home.
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens. Torn window screens and cracks under doors are an ideal entry for pests.
The best way to protect your home and prevent any type of pest or rodent infestation is to follow these tips. However, if you think you have an infestation, be sure to contact Clark’s Termite & Pest Control for us to assess the situation and recommend treatment.
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) can become a serious nuisance pest when large numbers are able to invade your home in the fall.
The word marmorated means having a marbled or streaked appearance; which is fitting since BMSB adults are about 1/2 inch long and have
shades of brown on both the upper and lower body surfaces.
BMSBs can be identified by looking for white stripes on the antennae, alternating bands of brown and white on the other edges (lower left and right) of the abdomen; and faint white bands are also on the legs.
Where did they come from?
The BMSB (Halyomorpha halys), is a plant pest, that was accidentally introduced into the United States from Japan, Korea, and China. It first was seen in 2001 in Allentown, PA, but since, it has spread throughout the Mid-Atlantic States and is very slowly moving South.
Eat your Fruits & Veggies – Before they do!
The BMSB feeds on crops by sucking the juices out of the inside tissues with its straw-like mouth (stylets). This feeding not only causes direct damage to the crop, but pathogenic bacteria and yeast can be transmitted causing rot.
What to do and NOT to do
- Perform a “light leak test” and seal up any cracks and crevices
- Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from your home’s foundation to keep from attracting pests.
- If your home has a fireplace, cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out pests.
- To get rid of dead (and alive) BMSB, hand-pick them up and toss them back outside. They may release the “stink” when they are threatened – so be gentle.
- Don’t squish them – they release a very foul odor – kind of like the powerful smelling spice – coriander.
- Do not leave a bunch of dead MBSB around as they will still stink and can attract other insect pests and they can stain surfaces.
They come around every couple of years…
Door-to-door pest control salesmen that blanket neighborhoods with a scripted sales pitch. Sometimes they try to scare our customers into believing that we use substandard products, or that we are not doing a good job because they found a spider web on the fence or in the yard somewhere. My advice to homeowners is as follows:
- Ask them how long they’ve been in business
- Read the fine print on any contract
Clark’s has been around for 56 years, and we don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. Remember the adage; If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
Alan Wilson, Technical Director/Entomologist
- There are currently over 3000 species of spiders in North America but thankfully in our service area we only have to be concerned about the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow.
- Spiders have horrible eyesight. A spider is even unable to see a human until they are about a foot away from it!
- Unlike other insects, spiders do not clean themselves, so spiders can crawl through the pesticide all day long and not die. This is due to the fact that pesticides work by having the pest crawl through the dried pesticide, get it on their feet, clean themselves, ingest the pesticide and die.
How to Prevent and Get Rid of Spiders in your Home
If your home currently has spiders or you would like to prevent spiders from entering, these few tips will help:
- Vacuum up all webs along with the actual spider.
- Perform a light leak test and seal all cracks and crevices around doors and windows.
- Replace exterior white lights to yellow lights. This attracts fewer flying insects which will lead to fewer spiders.
- Trim bushes around the house.
How to Perform a Light Leak Test
To perform a light leak test you must do the following:
- Wait until dark and then turn on all interior lights and close all blinds, curtains, shutters, windows and doors.
2. Go outside and see if there is any light “leaking” through.
If you have a spider problem, our Quarterly Pest Control Service guarantees spider control on the inside and within the treatment zone on the exterior, and we also have Spider Control service for yards, landscaping and other areas as well.
Bed bugs (pictured left) likely get their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. They are found in virtually every place people tend to gather, including homes, hotels, schools, offices, retails stores, and even public transportation. The good news is bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.
Signs of Bed bugs:
Bed bugs are about the shape and color of a very small to medium sized apple seed. This means that they are small but it is possible to see them without the use of a magnifier. Beside visual confirmation of a bed bug you can look for the following signs:
- Black-rusty-reddish fecal spots sheets, mattresses and/or box springs
- Pale yellow skins that have been shed by growing bed bugs
Bed Bug Prevention:
There are a few ways you can help prevent your home from getting bed bugs.
- While traveling:
- Upon arrival at destination:
- Place your suitcase in the bathtub (bed bugs have a hard time climbing up smooth surfaces).
- Inspect the mattress and box spring by gently peeling back the covers into the middle of the bed. Look for signs of bed bugs. Definitely check the seams and don’t forget those plastic corner guards – bed bugs LOVE those hiding spots!
- Upon arrival at destination:
- Upon returning home:
- Place your suitcase in the bathtub and unpack it, shaking each item into the bathtub (bed bugs are hitchhikers and can be shaken off clothing easily, and bathtubs are usually light colored and bed bugs are darker colored, so you should be able to see them easily).
If you have any suspect items, place them in the dryer on high-heat setting for 20-ish minutes (anything above 125 degrees Fahrenheit will kill all stages of bed bugs).
- While at home:
- Never bring second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into a home without thoroughly examining for signs of bed bugs.
- Bed bugs like humans best, but do feed upon pets, so regularly check where pets rest and sleep.
If you find yourself with some unwanted house guests this summer, we offer one-time or quarterly pest control treatments that can leave you with peace of mind that your home is protected against pests. If you already have pest control services and are interested in what makes them effective, look below for a brief description of our pest control services:
The interior and exterior of the home are treated to build up a barrier against pests during the initial service. Once the barrier is established, the exterior treatment will cover 98% of covered pests from entering the home and is maintained quarterly. Your pest control is guaranteed between services and we will come back out if you experience any issues following the treatment.
For the interior treatment, the cracks and crevices along the baseboards are treated throughout the entire home. We place an insecticidal dust around appliances, in plumbing voids and around large pieces of furniture. If you have a garage, the corners and along the ceiling are spider brushed. A liquid treatment is applied to the cracks and crevices along the baseboards. Two monitors will be placed on either side of the garage door.
On the exterior, treatment includes spider brushing under the eaves and around the windows and doors. A liquid treatment is applied under the eaves and around the windows and doors as well. The perimeter of the home is treated 2 feet up and 3-5 feet out. An insecticidal bait will be placed in a around the exterior of the liquid treatment.
Did you know? If you already have termite protection with Clark’s, you can receive pest control at a discounted rate! Call us to start pest control service today at 866-781-4991 or email us at ClarksCSR@ClarksPest.com.
Not many things are more enjoyable than a southern summer evening outdoors. If your outdoor parties leave you with some unwanted mosquito bite favors, take a look at these 6 ways you can help prevent mosquitoes:
- Keep mosquitoes outside
- To keep mosquitoes outdoors, use air conditioning or screens for windows and doors.
- Use insect repellent
- The CDC recommends the following here:
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
- The CDC recommends the following here:
- Eliminate standing water from the immediate area of your home
- Certain species of mosquitoes breed in standing water which can be collected in receptacles such as unused plant pots, tires, children’s toys, buckets and trash cans. Ensure stagnant water is removed to reduce mosquitoes.
- Wear light-colored clothing
- Did you know that mosquitoes can be more attracted to dark colors? They use visual cues to locate humans.
- Plant a garden
- These plants naturally repel mosquitoes:
- Lemon Balm
- These plants naturally repel mosquitoes:
- Cover up
- If mosquitoes are particularly bad, wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts can reduce the likelihood of getting mosquito bites.
These tips in combination with our people and pet friendly treatments can keep the mosquitoes in your yard at bay.
How can we help?
For effective and safe mosquito control, we offer one-time or monthly mosquito treatments. We treat standing water that cannot easily be cleared such as bird baths, tree holes and flower pot saucers. In addition to treating small areas of standing water, we treat the bushes and foliage around the home to the perimeter of the yard on the front, sides and backyards where mosquitoes are found. Following our treatment, people and pests are to remain outside of the treated area for 30-60 minutes.
To learn more about our mosquito treatment options and pricing, give us a call toll-free today at 866-781-4991 or email us at ClarksCSR@ClarksPest.com. Contact Clark’s to help take back your outdoor living space!
How do I control weeds throughout the summer?
Summer is the perfect season for a great vacation, but it is also peak season for weeds.
Weeds do not easily invade a healthy stand of turf that is properly fertilized, watered and mowed at the correct frequency and height. Weeds like bare and thin areas which can be caused by:
- Improper fertilization
- Too much or too little of the correct nutrients and/or improper timing of application
- Too much or too little watering
- Overly moist soils are subject to various sedge weeds that can be really tough to eliminate once they take hold
- Failure to control diseases and insects
- For example: fungus, grub worms, mole crickets and moles
There are 3 main ways to control your lawn’s weed population:
The best cultural practice for weed control in your lawn is frequent mowing (weekly if possible). This breaks the weed’s life cycle by cutting the seed heads before they mature, thereby preventing them from spreading. Many weed species do not tolerate frequent mowing.
Mowing at the correct height for the turf type is equally as important as frequent mowing. Mowing too low can cause injury to the turf, and mowing too tall will result in excessive thatch buildup.
Many professional lawn care companies apply pre-emergent herbicides in late winter to early spring, then again in late April to early June.
Pre-emergent is a type of herbicide that prevents the germination of seeds. It typically lasts 4 to 6 weeks depending on environmental factors like rainfall and temperature. Late June, July and early August can be prime time for weeds to flourish based on the last application time of the pre-emergent. When the effects lessen over time, weeds are able to germinate and start to appear in your lawn.
Did you know? If you have a newly sodded home, you cannot use pre-emergent for 6 months as it is a root inhibitor.
3. Post-Emergent Herbicides
Post-emergent is a type of herbicide that kills weeds after they have germinated.
After weeds appear, many lawn care companies will not apply post-emergent weed control when daytime temperatures are over 93 degrees for fear of killing the turf.
Did you know? For new sod, you have to be careful with using post-emergence herbicides until after the turf is well-established.
There are many beautifully maintained DIY lawns out there. If you would like some DIY tips, give us a call. But for many of us, the service and expertise that professional lawn fertilization companies provide is well worth the investment. The burden of results is placed on the professionals, which allows you to utilize your free time for more enjoyable activities.
If you are in the Midlands of South Carolina, contact us today for a quote on professional lawn care toll-free at 866-781-4991 or email us at LawnHelp@ClarksTurfPro.com. Thank you for your business!
Why are they called Fire Ants?
Red imported fire ants get their common name from 2 factors:
- They have a reddish appearance (the color of fire);
- Their ability to inflict painful bites and stings. Some say the pain caused by the sting is same as the pain caused by a fire burn.
“Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch.”
This is how Dr. Justin Schmidt (“The King of Sting”) describes the sting of the Red Imported Fire Ant (aka RIFA). He rates the pain level of the Fire Ant as a 1.5 on a scale from 1 to 4 on THE SCHMIDT INSECT STING PAIN INDEX (See below).
Ouch! What do I do if there are fire ants on me?
If you somehow get fire ants on you, it may be your first instinct to try and shake them off in a state of panic. Though it is important to remove the ants quickly, shaking will not work. They’ll likely latch on, and shaking will only make them hold tighter. The most effective way to remove them is to quickly and repeatedly brush them off of the skin. If they are stinging through clothes or shoes, promptly remove the clothing and ensure they are gone before re-dressing.
What should I do if I get stung by fire ants?
There isn’t much you can do, except watch the affected area for excessive swelling, itching or redness, or other symptoms like shortness of breath, thickening of the tongue, sweating, etc. that could indicate a severe systemic allergic reaction. If this occurs, seek medical attention immediately.
Is my pet at risk of fire ant stings?
Due to the amount of time dogs spend outdoors, the possibility of them being stung by fire ants is high. Dogs can easily disturb a fire ant mound just by playing or digging nearby. The areas most vulnerable to stings are those with little or no hair, such as ears, nose, or abdomen. Additionally, dog food attracts fire ants. Fire ants often swarm a food bowl, making it not only difficult but also dangerous for your pet to eat. If fire ants sting your dog, move him or her from the source of the fire ants immediately and remove all ants by brushing them off.
Did you know?
Fire ants are attracted to the electric fields created by the high voltage devices. They tend to build nests close to the high voltage switch boxes, invade the electrical equipment, short out electronic gadgets, and cut through the metal wires.
Fire ants can form waterproof clusters up to thousands of ants. They keep the queen and larvae in the mound’s center for protection while the outside ants take turns cycling from the top of the mound to the bottom. The ants can do this for several days while they search for dry land.
Most people associate annoying allergies and symptoms of asthma with warmer weather and outdoor activities. But the fact is you don’t have to step out into the great outdoors to suffer from these common maladies. The allergens generated by a variety of household pests are more than enough to ensure that you can be miserable right in the comfort of your own home.
The Dangers Of Pest Allergens
The National Pest Management Association annually provides a helpful reminder of the risks associated with pest allergens and how you can combat them. Rodents such as mice and rats, dust mites, cockroaches, and other pests are the source of these allergens and can trigger a number of reactions. According to Dr. Jorge Parada, an advisor for the NPMA, “Common pest allergy and asthma symptoms include itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness or pressure, similar to symptoms experienced from seasonal allergies and plant pollens. While most people associate allergy and asthma with being outside in the spring or summer, these symptoms can be triggered indoors all year long. It’s important to identify and reduce exposure to specific triggers both inside and outside of the home. Why not start with adding pest-proofing your home to your spring cleaning list?”
That’s a great idea, and the NPMA offers some easy ways to do just that.
Keeping Your Home Pest Allergen Free
- Seal up your house. The best way to keep allergens out is to keep out the pests that bring them in. Use an appropriate caulk or other product to seal up gaps and cracks in walls, floors, and around windows to deny pests access. It’s also a good idea to use a garbage can with a sealed lid.
- Vacuum often. Vacuum your carpets at least weekly, optimally more. Clean hard floor surfaces regularly with a damp cloth, or even better with a disinfectant cleaning solution.
- Dust every day. Even it it’s just a quick cleaning. Wipe down furniture and counter surfaces once a day.
- Control humidity levels. Attics, crawl spaces, and basements should be adequately ventilated, and humidity levels maintained at approximately 50%.
- Protect your mattresses and pillows. Special allergen proof cases and covers are available to keep mites out of your bedding, and you should be using them. They’re inexpensive and easy to find.
If you have a pest problem, especially if you have asthma or allergies. It’s time to call in the professionals. In South Carolina, that’s Clark’s Termite & Pest Control. Contact them today for a free estimate.
Unless you live in a plastic bubble, it’s almost a mathematical certainty that you’ll experience some type of pest problem during your lifetime. Probably more than once. And when a pest infestation happens, the first reaction most homeowners have, besides being horrified, is that they’ll take care of the problem on their own.
Professional Pest Control or DIY?
While it’s certainly possible for an individual to eradicate an infestation themselves, there are some unavoidable truths that work against providing a permanent solution to the problem. The first is that they simply don’t have the know-how to handle specific situations. Professional pest control services have the training and experience to recognize the characteristics of different types of infestations and apply the most effective remedy.
The other is that, while there are some fine retail products available on the market, they often don’t work for a variety of reasons. They can also be dangerous to the health of family and pets. Here are some things to consider about off-the-shelf products.
3 Facts About Store Bought Pest Control Products
- They’re often ineffective. Even though a store bought product may be a well-known brand, retail products can rarely provide a comprehensive solution. The label may say it kills a variety of pests, but what’s effective on one type of spider, for instance, may not work on another. Also, some types of insects have to be attacked at certain points in their life cycle. Using a pest control product at the wrong time simply won’t work. There’s also the fact that some pests have to be treated inside the structural components where they live, like walls and floors. Doing this usually requires special equipment and knowledge.
- They can be unhealthy. Although pest control products are stringently tested and provide clear warning labels, they can still cause serious respiratory inflammation and skin irritation in humans and pets if not used correctly. And even when used correctly, sensitive individuals can still be at risk. Unfortunately, too many people don’t bother reading the label before using potentially dangerous pest control products.
The can damage your home
Many of the chemicals used in pest control products can cause permanent staining and discoloration on fabrics, furniture, and walls. Professionally-trained technicians will know when and where to safely apply treatments to avoid accidental damage inside the home.
Why not solve your pest problems completely and permanently the first time? Clark’s Termite & Pest Control has been serving the residents of South Carolina since 1963. Contact them today for a free estimate.
As winter approaches and cool weather sets in, there’s no better way to keep your home warm and comfortable than by lighting up your fireplace. Wood fires bring an old-fashioned charm that modern heating can’t match, not to mention a pleasant, smoky smell that fills the house. But they also require bringing wood into your house. Depending on where you got it, firewood can harbor some unpleasant and unsanitary bugs. By taking it inside, you risk carrying these firewood pests into your home. Thus the next time you’re gathering wood, watch out for:
The most common type of insect to appear in firewood. Powederpost beetles lay eggs in the wood; the larvae then hatch and tunnel their way out, leaving small holes and a cover of dust. Powderpost beetles tend not to be a threat to wood floors and walls, provided that you varnish and sand those surfaces regularly. But they can infest your furniture, so avoid storing firewood anywhere near furnishings that contain significant amounts of wood.
This is a dark brown cockroach that is common along much of the East Coast. These insects take shelter in wood and will spread through your home if you bring that wood inside. Luckily, they are relatively easy to deal with. Simply keep an eye on the wood and swat any that emerge before they have a chance to get into your things. Even if you miss a few, they won’t be able to last long indoors. So there’s little risk of them multiplying and infesting your home for the long haul.
Among the most serious firewood pests you can bring into your home, carpenter ants burrow into wood to make their nests. Once inside, they can easily spread from firewood into wooden walls and floors, tunneling into it and causing serious structural damage. They can only survive in wood that has significant amounts of moisture in it. So you can minimize the risk of an infestation by only bringing wood inside if it is completely dry. You should also keep standing water and moist objects away from the wood once it is indoors.
Like carpenter ants, termites tunnel into the wood in your home, creating structural issues. And as with the ants, you can keep the risk to a minimum by only bringing dry wood inside and keeping it separate from moisture sources. Termite control also requires being careful about how you store wood outside. Avoid stacking firewood against the side of your house, as this will attract termites.
For more information on insect control for firewood and all other activities, contact Clark Pest Control today.
With fall fading into winter and temperatures on their way down, you might assume that you’ll get a break from winter pest control. It’s during summer and spring, after all, that bugs have the heat and moisture to come out in full force, so it makes sense to think of winter as a reprieve.
While it is true that insects must take shelter from the cold, that doesn’t mean you’ll be free of them. It all depends on where they seek that shelter. Odds are, it’s not as far away as you think. As winter approaches, look out for pests in your:
The worst possible place where pests could go is also one of their prime targets. Not only is your home warm, but it contains ample moisture and food. Combined with the fact that it provides cover from harsh weather, your house is vulnerable to:
- Ants– Ants come into your house in search of food and then stay for the warmth and shelter. Some varieties of ants, such as carpenter ants, can also infest firewood. You’ll bring them in when you carry that wood indoors. These insects are always a health issue, and carpenter ants specifically threaten the structure of your house.
- Cockroaches– As an insect that is suited for tropical environments, cockroaches are especially attracted to the heat of your house. They share with carpenter ants a tendency to seek shelter in wood, so more of them may end up in your home if you bring firewood inside.
- Cluster Flies– A type of fly that seeks tight, remote spaces, this insect is hard to remove from your house once it is established. You’ll likely find them hovering around the windows of rooms you rarely use.
Besides insect pests, winter weather can send mice and rats into your house. These rodents are a serious health and comfort risk in themselves. They often bring fleas and other insects into your house, making bug problems worse.
In addition to entering your house, insects and other pests can find shelter by burrowing into piles of wood. Carpenter ants and termites are particularly likely to do this, as they are suited specifically for life in wood. Cockroaches, moths, and flies also sometimes see wood piles as suitable places to lay their eggs.
Even if you never bring wood directly into your house, it can still harm your home and your quality of life. If you pile wood next to your house, for example, termites and carpenter ants will have an easy time spreading from such piles into the building. Thus if you need to store large piles of wood, make sure to place them somewhere as far from your home as possible.
Clark Pest Control is committed to eliminating every variety of pest in South Carolina. For more information on keeping your home pest-free during the winter and throughout the year, visit our website today.
Winter is a tough time for wildlife and rodents. When their food supply dwindles drastically, they seek warm places to take shelter while they wait out the cold spells. Unfortunately, your home can offer them a solution to both if you don’t take steps to prevent them from becoming unwanted long-term residents in your house. The following are a few ways to let wildlife and rodents know they are not welcome in your home.
Tips on Keeping Rodents and Wildlife from Invading your Home
- Check for holes on the outside of your house: Leave the lights on inside and see if you see light coming from any holes in the exterior. Also check for drafts coming from the inside. Both will be clues that you have entry points for small guests to come inside your home.
- Cut back plants near the house: Rodents like to hide behind plants, wood piles, and piles of junk that you may have close to your house. They are trying to stay warm and simply waiting for an opportunity to enter your house at the first available chance when someone forgets to close the door or they can find that secret hole that leads into the house. Also trim trees that have limbs close to the house. Animals will use the limbs to climb onto the roof and enter through a chimney to get in. Cut any ivy or other climbing plants back from your house before animals use it as a ladder to gain entrance to your house.
- Seal off windows and doors: If you think you might have your doors or windows for any period of time, make sure to place a screen to keep pests out. Seal any cracks with inexpensive caulking or foam. Check the weather-stripping to make sure it is still in good condition.
- Cover vents with screens: If you have any open vents on the inside of the home, such as vents in the kitchen area, cover them with screens. That way you can still allow air to flow through, but prevent small critters from coming out to play when you are not looking.
- Don’t leave food out: Rodents and other wildlife have a keen sense of smell for food. Be sure to clean up at the end of the day, putting any extra food in containers or in the refrigerator. Wipe down your counters, sweep your floors, and do your dishes. Be sure to either have a tight-fitting lid for your trash inside the house or take your trash out at the end of the day.
If you suspect that the wildlife around you are trying to gain entrance to your home, or might have already, it might be time to call an expert on pest removal. Or if you simply want to assess your home and make it more pest-proof, why not call the friendly experts at Clark’s Pest Control of South Carolina? Like you, we won’t be satisfied until the pests are gone.
Cutting down and buying your own Christmas tree is a cherished and honored event for many families. However, there are lots of critters that may be living in the Christmas tree that you could inadvertently bring home with you. Also, a natural Christmas tree in your house could attract a host of other pests. Don’t let a few little animals ruin the holiday fun. A few simple tricks can keep the animals at bay while you can enjoy Christmas with your loved one and without unwanted guests.
Tips for Keeping Bugs and Other Animals Away from the Christmas Tree
- Look inside and under the tree: Before you bring the Christmas tree inside your home, look underneath branches and inside them. Remove any nests or animals that you might find. Nests can store various parasites from birds including lice and mites.
- Use a mechanical tree shaker: Many Christmas tree lots offer a free shaking down of the tree that you picked out. Not only is this helpful for removing little bugs and other animals, it also shakes out extra needles, so you have less of a mess when you set up your tree.
- Avoid bug spray: When faced with an infestation it might be ever so tempting to grab the nearest bug spray. However, most bug sprays are highly flammable. Between all the candles, Christmas lights, and wood place fires, bug spray could be very dangerous and create some real Christmastime trouble.
- Apply diatomaceous earth to the tree: Sprinkle diatomaceous powder over the tree to kill any remaining bugs. You might let the Christmas tree sit in your garage for a few days to let the diatomaceous earth do its magic. At the end of the three-day period, bring it inside and set it up.
- Grab the vacuum: Vacuum the trunk for any bugs that you see. Lay a white blanket down underneath the tree. That way if any bugs escape, you will be able to see them and vacuum them up. As soon as you are done, remove the vacuum dust bag and set it in the outside trash can so that the bugs cannot make their way inside again.
- Turn up the heat: Bugs that come in from the outside are used to the cold conditions. They will flee your house if the thermostat is turned up. Your house will also be a lot more comfortable too.
- Hang candy and other edible goodies on the tree the night before Christmas: Sweet treats are just as appealing to mice and rats as they are to humans. By minimizing the amount of time these goodies are hanging on the tree, the less likely they are to attract pests and the problems they bring with them.
- Inspect the tree occasionally: Check the tree every so often for signs of animal life. Suspicious clues are animal droppings, wet spots on or around the tree, unpleasant odors, and changes in the texture or color of the leaves.
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