Christmas has its share of unsavory characters, like Scrooge. But there are other, nonfictional characters you should be on guard against this winter: pests.

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When everyone is busy with snowmen and stockings, certain sneaky pests make their move and invade your home. Take steps now to help ensure you don’t receive a creepy-crawly gift on Christmas morning.

Here are the most common winter pests and the steps you can take to help keep them from interfering with your holiday plans.


Don’t be fooled: Termites are all-weather threats. There are types of termites that swarm during the fall months and reproduce well into February.

This can be the case if you store or bring in firewood near your home, which can attract termites. Needless to say, termites can cause expensive property destruction.

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Keep your firewood off the ground and away from your house. If you place the firewood on a raised platform, you can discourage termites from inhabiting the wood.

Also, when you bring firewood inside your home, be sure to thoroughly inspect it. Look for tunnels lined with mud. Those are a sure sign of termite infestation, and although these termites are not likely to survive, there is clearly an active infestation in your firewood pile that should be evaluated by a professional. Be sure to contact a termite control professional to treat your home.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs are globe-trotting pests. They love to latch onto clothing, luggage and purses and travel into your home. The risk for bed bug infestation increases when people travel a lot, such as around the holidays.

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If you stay at a hotel, remember to check under the sheets and the mattress for signs of bed bugs. Do you suspect that you’ve unwittingly transported some bugs home? It’s best to remove clothing items before you enter the main area of your home. Wash your clothing if they are washing machine safe and dry them if the manufacturer's instructions allow.


Spiders are another all-season pest, and traditional pest control methods often do not work with spiders. Because spiders don't often come into contact with treated surfaces, they can avoid coming into contact with pest control treatments.

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That doesn’t mean that insecticides are futile — the fewer other insects you have in your home, the less the food spiders have to eat. Controlling other insects in your home means spiders have less to eat, which is why they are there in the first place.

Help get rid of spiders by finding openings outside of your home and sealing them. Spiders, and the many other insects they eat, typically enter through holes in the walls, cracked doors or loose door jambs. Vacuuming is also a key weapon in the fight against spiders. Also, leaving windows or doors open can allow many small flying insects into your home, which provide a steady diet for spiders.

Crazy Ants

Crazy ants are common in Southern states, and they infest in very large numbers. While other ants move in a straight line, crazy ants get their name for their erratic trailing patterns or travel patterns.

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An effective way to help identify a crazy ant infestation is to maintain a well-manicured lawn, so you can spot an infestation. Because there are a variety of ways to treat infestations, and because treatments can be species-specific, it is best to work with a pest control professional to help remove and prevent infestations.

Box Elder Bugs

These overwintering bugs consume seeds released from box elder and maple trees in the fall. Cold winters are prime infestation time, when box elder bugs seek out warm spaces. Typically, they occupy the inside of exterior walls of a dwelling, attics or wall voids.

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In order to help prevent boxelder bugs from entering your home, seal exterior cracks and crevices of your building. Also be sure that the limbs of box elder or maple trees are not touching the structure.

There are numerous pests that look for warm, cozy spaces to spend the winter. Be sure to take the necessary precautions and to contact a pest control professional to keep your holidays merry and insect-free.