What types of images does the word “holidays” conjure? Cooler temperatures? Pumpkins and evergreen trees? Changing leaves? Football games? Turkeys? Camouflage? Snow?
For Pest management professionals (PMPs), we begin to think about our “slow” season, continuing education, training, hiring new employees, and possibly taking a few days off! Our customers are also preparing for the next few months, and for many that means heading out to storage buildings, basements or attics to retrieve holiday decorations.
Occasionally, holiday decorations harbor uninvited holiday guests. Many pests can be transported indoors by the homeowner on holiday decorations or their boxes. Brown recluse spiders, silverfish, cockroach ootheca (egg cases), Asian lady beetles, brown marmorated stink bugs, and even rodents and their droppings can be brought in.
Firewood is also a culprit for hitchhiking pests such as cockroaches and mites or spiders.
If the decorations are or were food based, stored product pests such as meal moths or beetles can be present. If your customer is bringing in live plants such as greenery or poinsettias, hay bales or other living or dead plants, these can function as a courier for pests. Firewood is also a culprit for hitchhiking pests such as cockroaches and mites or spiders.
Unfortunately, there is very little a PMP can do to stop these vagabond pests. Any repellent or barrier products we may place in/around the structure are bypassed by the customer.
The best control method is to educate your customers about the proper storage and re-introduction of holiday decorations.
If you feel the infestation warrants a pesticide application, avoid using insecticides or pesticides on decorations if possible. Focus treatments in storage areas and cracks and crevices in the structure.
Always read and follow any pesticide label directions.
Director Product Development & Regulatory