Family cooking together

Imagine you’re at the holiday dinner table, and suddenly you see a bug. Not only would it be enough to make you and your holiday guests lose your appetite, it’d also be pretty embarrassing!

With the holiday season fully underway for Long Island residents and people around the world, you’re likely putting the final touches on your holiday dinner menu and planning some baking. Because of the excitement of the holidays, pest issues aren’t always top of mind; there are holiday recipes to round up, turkeys to stuff, and family members to feed, after all, which actually set the tone for incoming pest issues during the holiday season.

Pests generally have very basic needs: food, water, and shelter. When given the opportunity to have those needs met, they’ll literally jump at the chance, and this jump may be right inside your Long Island home if you have what they’re looking for! 

Here are three common pests you may find inside your home over the next couple of months, as well as how to prevent pest infestations by these critters during the holiday cooking season!

Ants in the Kitchen

Family cooking together

Ants are a common kitchen pest because the kitchen generally contains their two favorite things: food and water. Ants are always scavenging for food, and once they find an entry point like a crack or crevice that leads to a food source, they’ll tell all their ant friends! Because ants can make their way into your home through even the smallest spaces, when they catch wind from their colony members that there’s a supply of holiday dishes or cookies nearby, they’ll hit the trail! Ants are opportunistic eaters, so if food is available, they aren’t too picky, however sweets, greasy meals, and straight up garbage are some of their favorites.

How to Prevent Ants in the Kitchen

  • Caulk any voids or spaces around windows, doors, pipes, and utility entrances.
  • Repair or replace a damaged door and/or window screens.
  • Remove and replace any water damaged wood or insulation from your home.
  • Properly store food in your kitchen and or pantry by sealing it in either glass or plastic containers or in the refrigerator.
  • Do not leave food out on counters or dirty dishes in the sink for long periods of time.

Moths in the Pantry

Indian Meal Moths are a common pantry pest that you’ll often see anywhere your food is stored. They’ll generally get inside your home in dry goods purchased from the grocery store which were already infested with larvae laid by female Indian Meal Moths. When these eggs hatch, the larvae infest and feed on that food source. As alarming as this news may be, adult Indian Meal Moths don’t exclusively come inside homes via purchased groceries; they may also enter your home through any small openings around your windows and doors. 

If you’re planning a lot of holiday baking using these dry goods, be aware that some common ingredients are pantry moths’ favorites. Some of Indian Meal Moths’ go-to food sources include dried fruits, grains, flour, seeds, nuts, chocolate, candies, bird seed, dry pet food, and powdered milk. Indian Meal Moths will contaminate your food with eggs and larvae, and should be eliminated as soon as possible.

How to Prevent Pantry Moths

  • Inspect food packages for holes or rips before purchasing them from the grocery store and bringing them inside your house.
  • Remove dry goods from their original packaging, and place them inside sealed glass or plastic containers.
  • Regularly clean out your pantry and get rid of any expired items.
  • Ensure all of your home’s windows have intact screens.
  • Caulk or seal any gaps around exterior windows.

Mice in the House

This time of year, as the weather has cooled down, mice have started looking for warm, cozy spots to call home…like yours! Inside homes, house mice often live and nest behind walls, in attics, basements, crawlspaces, and behind large appliances. If you’re seeing visible mice (especially during the daytime), mouse droppings, holes or tears in packages, oily marks, or nests, it’s very likely you have a mouse infestation.

When you’re doing your holiday cooking, keep in mind that some of mice’s favorite foods are sweets, cereals, grains, and dried fruits. They also love spreads like peanut butter, chocolate, and hazelnut spread, all common ingredients in holiday baking!

How to Prevent Mice in Your House

  • Suburban Exterminating’s home pest control services—mice control is included
  • Seal cracks and crevices in the foundation, and gaps around windows and doors.
  • Place a tight-fitting cap on your chimney, ensure your home’s vent covers are secure, and repair loose or missing shingles.
  • Keep tight-fitting lids on outdoor trash cans.
  • Trim back trees and bushes from the outside of your home.
  • Keep food inside stored in sealed containers or in the refrigerator. 
  • Clean up spills quickly, remove trash, and wash all dishes in a timely manner.

Make Sure Your Holiday Dinner Isn’t Ruined By Pests

The best way to prevent pest infestations during the holidays is to have a pest control specialist’s eyes on your home year-round to inspect your home for any signs of infestations and vulnerabilities in your home. Even if you haven’t been dealing with a pest control issue, with the right pest control expertise, you can often take preventive measures to ensure your holiday dinner isn’t ruined by insects, rodents, or other pests.

At Suburban Exterminating, we offer several annual pest protection plans that offer year-round inspections, expert advice, and peace of mind. To schedule a free estimate for your Long Island home in time for the holidays, call or text our team at (631/516) 864-6900.

How to Keep Pests Away from Your Holiday Dinner Serving Long Island and surrounding areas

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