Yes it’s getting to be that time of year when homeowners across the country make their annual pilgrimage up into the dark abyss to once again bring down costumes, decorations and those dreaded Christmas lights that by now are a tangled mess. Now some folks don’t use the attic to store these holiday adornments instead opting for their shed but the results are almost always the same and bug companies everywhere will soon be getting the calls for help.
I’m not sure why it comes as a surprise to these people but the horror of finding a dead mouse in their Halloween decor or the Indian corn that has maggots, moths or weevils is almost always a shock. Artificial trees in old beat up cardboard boxes make a great retreat for roaches and the silverfish love the collection of Christmas cards and popcorn strings. Carpet beetles can make lunch out of your favorite wookie suit that you were gonna wear at this years Spooky office party and let’s not forget the funnel weaver spider who has spun her trap on the cardboard handle cutout in the box of Christmas tree balls.
It’s not always so obvious that these pests have taken up residence in your holiday storage and more times than not you don’t see the rascals right away. Somewhere between the many trips up into the attic and placing the boxes in the living room these pests will make their escape and go about the business of being insects in their new environment. It may be the same day or several days later when the tree is up and the semi untangled lights are blinking in the holiday spirit that you begin to notice these unwanted guests. At first you don’t give a bug or two much thought but about the third or forth day you are definitely aware of this unwelcome pattern.
Tips for prevention
Hind sight is 20/20 and once the bugs are in you should take steps to treat the home quickly and depending on what pests have escaped it is usually an easy job of crack and crevice spray and inspecting the boxes to get any bugs still left under the cardboard flaps. My advice is to resolve to start next years pest prevention at this point since everything is down already.
First you should consider getting large plastic bins with snap on type lids to have ready when the chore of repacking all your holiday decorations comes at the end of the season. This will protect your things quite well and actually makes stacking the boxes so much easier. You can also now throw away those beat up cardboard boxes that have probably lost their shape and strength anyway after all these years.
Second, even though these bins seal up fairly well I would suggest placing silverfish packs in each bin or maybe a moth ball or two. Never spray liquids in the containers because it’ll just pool at the bottom and the residual will not be of any benefit. Glue stations are good in theory but the attic or shed heat will only keep the glue in a semi liquid state and cause more of a mess than it will catch any wayward strays.
Third, since you have the silverfish packs that you no doubt bought from the pestcemetery supply store, why not toss a few in the attic around the area where you store your bins and even the attic entry way itself. You could also sprinkle some Niban granule bait in the same places and this will give any insects left up in the attic who used to depend on your stored boxes and items for food something else to eat. Mouse bait is fairly heat tolerant and I always place some dried pellet or meal form in the attics I service as mice are well adept at living in the expanse above your ceiling.
Preventing holiday surprises is a fairly simple process and each year almost everybody I service with this problem vows to buckle down and finally get to it this year. Unfortunately those same people make the same claim about once and for all carefully winding up the mile and a half of Christmas lights in such a way that they’ll just roll out with ease the next year but that too seldom gets done. So next season when the cardboard boxes come down and those lights are still in a knot don’t be alarmed when you see that familiar bug or two again just like in years past. The holidays are after all a time of joy and celebration and wouldn’t be the same without at least a few surprises.