Tis the season for bringing nature into your home to create a festive environment. Whether it be an evergreen tree to decorate or creating fire with candles or in the fire place – when you bring the outside in there are certain things you should know to protect your home from pest invasions, house fires, and other holiday hazards.
Christmas Trees and Their Pests:
Over 30 million Christmas trees are purchased and placed in homes each year. The only problem is the pests they can hold. It is wise to know what type of bugs you are forced to deal with in those cases.
- Adelgids are wooly little insects that may appear to be a sprinkling of snow. The woolly coat is actually a wax they create, but the bug itself is purple or yellow in color.
- Aphids are along the ride for the sap and are the most common of the Christmas tree-dwelling insects. They look a lot like a tick, but they have six legs. So, count the number of legs if you think you have ticks in your tree. They are black or brown and may have wings.
- Bark Beetles are the size of a grain of rice, these beetles are red, brown, or black. They like moist wood and will especially infest stressed trees where they bore holes into the tree’s trunk. But never fear. They do not want your furniture because the wood is too dry.
- Mites: If there happens to be a bird’s nest in the tree you want, think about walking away. You see, if your tree has a nest, it may contain mites and other parasites. If your tree drops needle prematurely or you see tiny red spots on your tree skirt, you’ll know they are in there.
- Pine Needle Scale is another insect that looks like white specs on the tree. These specs are the eggs of the scale, which is a little red bug.
- Sawflies: The bad part about these saw-looking bugs is that they will do significant damage to your tree. They will cut into leaves to lay eggs in small brown cocoons. The eggs take a month or two to hatch, so they may not even hatch while in your home. But getting the cocoons out is a good idea, just in case.
- Spiders will be on your tree if they are looking for a meal. You see, they eat other tiny insects that live in trees. Spiders often die before you even know they are on your tree. But if you are an arachnophobe, here is the good news. The dangerous brown recluse and black widow do not live in trees. So there is no need to worry.
If you pick that one tree that is infested, do not fret. The best way to ensure you don’t have bugs in the tree before it goes into the home is to give it a good shake outside, and the insects will typically fall right out. To be extra cautious, you can store the tree in your garage or shed for 24 hours before bringing the tree into your home. It is important to note that you never want to use insecticides as sprayed on insecticides are very flammable and are a fire hazard.
Hanukkah and Kwanzaa Fire Safety Tips:
A mainstay of both Hanukkah and Kwanzaa is the lighting of the candles each day. Obviously fire is the most safe when lit in open air, but that is not necessarily the tradition when it comes to lighting the Menorah and the Kinara for their respective holidays. Here are some helpful tips to help you minimize the risks and have a safe and bright Hanukkah and Kwanzaa:
- Don’t leave candles unattended— Never leave a room where candles are lit. Either wait for the candles to go out, or put them out yourself if you need to leave the room or house.
- Put candles on a non-flammable surface — If you’re putting candles on a wooden window sill or any other wooden surface, make sure to lay down aluminum foil or another non-flammable material. An even better idea is to put your menorah down on a stone or marble counter. Glass and metal surfaces also work.
- Put candles on a sturdy surface — Is your dining room table a bit wobbly? Any piece of furniture with wheels is also a bad idea. Opt for a sturdy, safe surface.
- Keep candles away from pets — This might be easier said than done, especially with adventurous cats around, but it’s better to not put lit candles anywhere your pets are known to get to.
- Take precautions when letting children light candles —Make sure that when you let your children light the candles, they are standing on a sturdy surface, are close enough and high enough to safely light it (a stable stool is good, so they can see what they’re doing). Have an adult present and there for support and intervention.
- Make sure your fire and carbon monoxide detectors are working —This is pretty self-explanatory, but easy to forget. Do this a week before the festivities to have peace of mind.
Allow Paraclipse to Help Rid Your Home of Holiday Pests
If any flies or fruit flies get into your home this holiday season, Paraclipse products can help you get rid of them so they don’t ruin your holiday cheer. You can contact us anytime to discuss our unique and effective products and how we can help you stay bug-free!