H Is For Holidays – But Not For Pests

Olive trees around poolSipping tasty sangrias by the poolside.  Reading the latest Dan Brown book on your sun lounger. Drinking your early morning cappuccino whilst people watching in the main piazza at the start of another blissfully baking hot sunny day. Whatever a holiday means to you, we all know we couldn’t do without it. And, if we are lucky enough, some of us manage to go on several holidays per year.

Spare a thought then for your common household pest. Pests do not go on holiday.  Sorry to bring this up, but it’s true. In fact, occasionally we manage to transport some pests back home with us – bed bugs just love to travel home in our luggage – as highlighted by Alicia’s Christmas bed bug warning post.

Whilst we are away being busy holidaymakers, pests continue to go about their own busy, daily routine….at home (or should that be your home?). Ants continue to work hard to forage for food, wasps noisily buzz around your sweet smelling roses (which, you have hopefully remembered to water before going away!).

When we had an ant problem in our kitchen, we discovered it after being away only one night, camping in a friend’s back garden in Wiltshire. Don’t think that constitutes a holiday, but it just goes to show what can happen even in a short space of time.

I still don’t know to this day what attracted those ants into our kitchen. I am not an obsessive cleaner, but I am house proud and I do clean regularly. There were no obvious crumbs left lying around, no sticky substances to entice them – but it happened anyway.

There was however, a teeny, tiny crack in the wall by our front door, which gave them access inside and once in they headed right down the hallway directly leading into the kitchen – perhaps ants have a keener sense of smell than us and they just knew that would be best place to find food?

Whilst I am busy writing endless lists of things to remember to take on holiday (everything but the kitchen sink it seems!) I am reminded that I should add basic household chores to my list to make sure the house is not too much of a mess and relatively clean before leaving. I want my house to be as unappealing to pests as possible.

My Household Chores to Prevent Pests

Goodness knows when I am going to fit these tasks in before our early morning drive to Gatwick airport, but if it is on my list then I am far more likely to do it, so I urge you to try the same tactic.

  • Vacuum lounge before leaving.
  • Tidy toddler’s toys away into her toy boxes.
  • Sweep kitchen floor and mop the floor too – to clean up remnants of child’s last dinner, which she managed to flick off her spoon onto cabinets and white tiled floor (for the upteempth time!)
  • Sweep up and tidy up utility room – this room gets lots of traffic in and out of the garden and the sink there is used to wash up child’s clothes messy from dinner time (the sink has food debris in it, which I must hike out!)
  • Ensure all windows are shut properly – we have to remember to take off the draft opening and close completely as flies can still get inside when they are opened even slightly.
  • Empty all bins – including toddler’s dedicated nappy bin…. for obvious reasons.

Have I missed anything crucial off this list? Let me know!

Here’s for a pest-free holiday abroad and at home.

I is for Insects
F is for Flies

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