This Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving – a gastronomical delight that has few equals when it comes to the consumption of so many tasty culinary delights. Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie – the list goes on and on!
According to the National Turkey Federation, Americans so love the main entrée of the day that we consumed an estimated 736 million pounds of turkey last year! That’s a whole lot of bird right there.
As you start your preparations for hosting the big event on Thursday or packing up your green bean casserole and homemade dinner rolls to take to Aunt Carol’s house in Santa Monica, Scottsdale or Henderson, remember there are other guests who would be more than happy to take a seat at the table (or in your pantry, cupboards or garbage can!).
These guests are not the third-cousins on your mom’s side that you only see once a year and are always first in the buffet line, but unwanted guests of smaller dimensions and certainly more devious intentions!
These “guests” are mice, rats, ants, various types of beetles and Indian meal moths – all of whom have their sights set on turning the tasty ingredients or leftovers of your holiday feast into their own personal buffet. Below are some tips to make sure you aren’t unknowingly inviting them to share your family feast.
Rodents are the kings of leftovers – they’ll literally take anything back to the pack to devour. Once your Thanksgiving feast is over and the relatives head home make sure your garbage is placed in rodent-proof garbage cans with tight fitting lids. DO NOT leave your garbage in plastic bags next to the garage lest you desire a Black Friday nightmare of your own when rodents (as well as wildlife including raccoons, skunks, opossum, coyotes or yes, even bears) tear through the bags in search of a 4:00 a.m. snack.
Ants love a good mess and amid all the hustle and bustle preparing the Thanksgiving feast food spills are common. Two species of ants – the pharaoh ant and thief ant – are particularly fond of sugary spills like syrup, spices, honey, nuts, cake mixes, and dairy products. Both species – which look quite similar – are known to frequent cabinets, pantries and countertops in search of food.
Be sure to clean up food spills on floors, countertops and in cupboards and use tight-fitting plastic containers to store your baking and cooking supplies to keep ants and other pests out. Here in the West, we often have great outdoor weather during the holidays, so if you’re guests partied outside or you decided to deep fry your turkey make sure not to miss any spills on the patio or near the barbeque.
Who doesn’t love a heaping helping of stuffing? I for one never pass up the opportunity to help myself to a second portion and unfortunately so do annoying pantry pests. Pantry pests include various species of beetles and moths that enjoy invading the grain products in your pantry.
The merchant grain beetle and red flour beetle enjoy feasting on flour (big surprise there!), baking mixes, spices and nuts – all staples of holiday cooking. The confused flour beetle likes spices and the Indian meal moth is fond of crackers and chocolate. When these nuisance pests gain access to your pantry leaving not only a bad odor and taste behind but they also spoil baking and cooking supplies which can put a real damper on holiday food plans.
Aspiring chefs can prevent pantry pests from ruining the ingredients for stuffing and pumpkin pie by storing them in tight-fitting plastic containers; checking for signs of pest infestation such as torn/opened bags or a bad odor when they unload shopping bags following a trip to the grocery store (pests can easily hitch a ride in a shopping bag), and; cleaning up food spills on the kitchen shelves.
Another pest to be on the lookout for, especially if you are traveling this holiday season is bed bugs. Ugh! These nasty little – and I mean small – creatures can easily hide in luggage, shoes, backpacks, even clothing and are willing travelers. If you are checking into a hotel while away be sure to inspect your bed for the signs of bed bugs (small, dark spots on white sheets are a dead giveaway), pack your clothes in sealable plastic bags leaving them in the bags during your visit, and carefully inspect your luggage once you return home.
If you have questions about pests who you are not thankful for, give Western Exterminator a call or send me an e-mail at AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com. I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with information on how Western Exterminator can help.
Until next time, have a pest-free day and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and enjoy the holiday!
And a special ‘thank you’ from me for making Western Exterminator “The Final Word in Pest Control®”