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New Year Checklist

Happy New Year!

Now that the hustle and bustle are over for the next 11 months it’s time for the cleanup. Here are a few tips to consider as you put your house back together:

Over the holidays did you bring in any live plants like a Christmas tree or wreaths or Poinsettias? As beautiful as these holiday decorations are they can also harbor live insects.  After all, where do trees and plants live? Outside. And where do insects make their homes?  In trees and plants.

When these plants are brought into your nice warm home the insects can become active. It’s like spring has come early for them! So they crawl out of the pots and trees and take up residence in your home – often without you noticing. This is where your vacuum becomes your best pest control tool.

After you take the tree out and toss the other greenery, vacuum thoroughly. You want to be sure to get up all the needles, pine cone pieces and dust – anywhere tiny insects or eggs could be hiding. Then be sure to hit the crevices under your baseboards. Look up. Do you see spider webs? Get them while you are vacuuming and then run the wand around the windows and back side of your drapes. If you want to catch an insect you have THINK like an insect.

But we aren’t quite through. Did anyone bring you a dried flower arrangement? What about potpourri? Did you pull that Indian corn display down from the attic? You need to check all of these places for stored products pests. These are bugs that infest dried goods and are often the most overlooked source of certain insect infestations. When you check them, if you find little tooth marks or tiny “worms” or cocoons, you might have a problem that will only get worse if you don’t address it NOW. My suggestion is to put it in a plastic bag and then into the trash. But if you just can’t part with it, you can freeze or bake the item. Clear a space in your freezer and put your item in a bag and then into the freezer. I would keep it there for 2 weeks. You want to be sure to kill all stages – egg through adult – before removing. If you don’t have that kind of space, you can “bake” the item at about 200 degrees for 30-60 minutes. But be careful. NOT everything is safe to put in your oven.