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  • Chelle Hartzer

The Grinch Stole Christmas (AKA: Me, we’re talking about me)

Yeah, I know I’m going to get some hate for this. So before we get into this let me say that I don’t completely hate the holidays. There is lots of great stuff like… um… well… cookies. The holidays also bring lots of pest related issues more than any other time of year.


Let’s start with food. I have a special cookie recipe that I only make in the winter, they are so good. Lots of people are cooking and baking tons of extra food. Don’t forget that they are buying tons of extra food too. I’m not going to judge you if you buy cookies from the store, cookies are cookies! All this glut of food can cause pest issues. First, there is all the extra food being brought into the home (or office or wherever) and pests like cockroaches can easily hitchhike around. Then there is the sheer volume of extra food sitting around. That 50lb bag of flour that you swore you would use all of… yeah, it’s now sitting stuffed in the back of the cabinet and a few months later you are wondering why you have flour beetles crawling around the kitchen.


Speaking of extra food, there is all the food waste. The wrappers, the end bits, the spoiled food that sat too long. All of that is now sitting in a trash bin and attracting flies, rodents, and more. The pests are getting their extravagant and humongous holiday dinner too! While we are trash talking, let’s not forget about recycling. My recycling bin is often more filled than my trash bin (save the earth folks!). I’m totally guilty of not washing out those plastic tubs, soda cans, and glass bottles as well as I should. I’m not alone and this is why small flies and large flies find more than enough breeding grounds to expand their families. We won’t go into the extra wine, liquor, and beer containers that are being consumed this time of year (fruit fly heaven!).


Moving off food for a bit here, everyone loves their holiday decorations. The stupid stores start pushing their winter holiday wares before Halloween starts! Most people already have that stash of holiday cheer and it has been sitting boxed up for nine months in the garage, attic, back closet, storage unit, or wherever. Plenty of time for pests to invade and set up a comfy home. Just pulled an old box of my parent’s stuff from the attic and there was more mouse poop than decorations. (Remember safety when cleaning up rodent infestation.) Cockroaches love cardboard and I’ve seen infestations of cigarette beetles chowing down on anything they can chew up.


Speaking of cardboard, how much extra is being delivered? Shopping online is a great convenience but those boxes getting delivered in can come with some extra friends. Please be kind to your delivery drivers.

While we are on extra friends, there is so much more travel during this time of year. People are visiting family and friends, possibly staying in homes, hotels, rentals, even cruises. You know what also loves travel right? You got it: bed bugs. There is going to be an influx of bed bug issues because people are staying somewhere that may have them, then transferring them around.


I mentioned live plant and live tree pests in this episode, and in addition to that there could be firewood. Many wood beetles are inside those logs, sleeping away the cold winter. Until they are brought inside and warm up. They come out looking for spring and instead they find someone’s house to fly around in.

I think the excessive use of lights may also bring pests closer to structures. Okay, this isn’t an issue where it is cold, but in our southern states where termites swarm into December and spiders build their webs around lights to trap flying insects, who knows?


I haven’t even touched on all the open doors, people coming and going much more than usual. All that warm air and good smells coming out of structures are sure to draw in those nearby rodents looking for their holiday presents.


Let’s recap: holidays equal more potential for pest problems plaguing people and producing appeals to professional pest persons to procure pest-free places. The moral of this story: inspect your incoming goods, watch older foods, be nice to your delivery drivers, and save some cookies for your pest control professional.


From your unfriendly neighborhood Grinch who is off to add extra rum to the hot chocolate and eat all the cookies: I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe, and pest free winter holiday.

Lagniappe - for anyone still looking for a gift for me.

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