Here are a few helpful tips to keep common household bugs out of your home this Thanksgiving and through the winter months.

bugs at the thanksgiving dinner table
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Store food items securely.

When purchasing items for your Thanksgiving feast, make sure you store food securely in the kitchen and pantry. Cardboard boxes and wrappers are not bug-proof and insects and mice can chew through these materials. Use airtight containers that fully seal to help keep out pantry pests, especially if you’re purchasing items in advance. Also, consider putting boxed and bagged items in the freezer or fridge to protect them.

Keep the kitchen clean. 

If you want to help keep roaches from entering your kitchen, start by giving it a thorough cleaning — and be diligent about keeping it clean. Your food is one of the major attractors of roaches. Make sure any crumbs or food spills are completely swept and wiped up, as roaches may feed on any available leftovers. When prepping food for Thanksgiving dinner, be vigilant about putting away any ingredients you’re finished using. Keeping dirty dishes from sitting in the sink is also key to helping prevent pests. Unfortunately, once you spot a roach, there are possibly dozens of others in hiding. While natural remedies exist that can help with pest control, you’re better off calling in a pest professional.

Banish food trash.

Make sure all perishables are either put away securely or thrown out. As an added precaution, place all trash bags inside a lidded trashcan. Remove the trash from your home as soon as possible. If you can’t put it outside, place the trash in your garage at the farthest point from your home. Make sure it's tightly sealed to prevent attracting critters like rats, raccoons and skunks.

Perform a bed bug check.

If you’re traveling and staying in a hotel this season, there are things you can do to reduce that chance of bed bugs following you home. When you get to your room, perform a quick check. Use a flashlight to examine mattress crevices for bed bugs; they are small but still visible to the human eye. Also, check the sheets carefully for any unusual stains. Bed bugs leave small blood stains in their wake. If you see any sign of bed bugs, request another room immediately.

Once your room passes the bed bug check, take a few other precautionary measures to help ensure you leave bed bug-free. Never put your suitcase on your bed or open it on the floor. Instead, use a luggage rack or chair. Once you get what you need from your suitcase, zip it up completely. When you get home, put all washable clothing from your trip into the washer. Heat kills bed bugs, so use a heated drying cycle if your clothing manufacturer's instructions allow.

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having bed bugs in your home, give a pest professional a call. Home remedies for bed bugs aren’t always effective and can make the problem worse. By paying attention to these tips and reaching out when you need a professional helping hand, you're better-prepared to enjoy your holiday season with only the guests you want in your home. Now that’s something to be thankful for!