What pests do pumpkins attract?
What pests do pumpkins attract?
As Halloween approaches many people will get into the festivities and carve pumpkins, leaving them in windows, on their doorsteps, or in their gardens. However, have you ever thought about what pests pumpkins can attract?
Common pumpkin pests
Some pests that will feed on a pumpkin, depending on your location, can include – rabbits, squirrels, deer, rats, mice, moles and insects. Some more common pests are as followed:
Rats and mice
Rodents such as rats and mice will enjoy feasting on pumpkins, especially if they’re carved and open to reveal the delicious fruit inside. Rats and mice aren’t particularly fussy when it comes to food – they will eat the flesh and seeds of pumpkins. They are naturally nocturnal creatures so it’s likely that they’ll only venture out at night for a late-night snack.
Pumpkins placed outside can lure rodents to your home, which increases the risk of an infestation in or around your property. We advise that your home is sufficiently proofed from rodents if you wish to leave pumpkins around the outside of your property. Rodent infestations pose a risk to human health as rats and mice can both carry diseases, and should be dealt with quickly.
Although pumpkin isn’t one of their favourite foods, squirrels will still eat them out of instinct. Squirrels are extremely destructive pests and will create a huge mess when tucking into your neatly carved pumpkin. If a tastier option is on offer – for example, sunflower seeds, peanuts or crackers – they will have their fill without spilling pumpkin guts all over your garden. Despite this, laying down any other form of food will still attract additional pests.
If a squirrel infestation makes their way into your home they can cause a lot of damage, especially in lofts. Ripping up insulation for nests and chewing through cables, squirrels can be a nuisance in your property.
It’s no surprise that leaving food out will attract a whole range of insects, but your pumpkin doesn’t have to start rotting before the tiny pests make an appearance.
Snails and slugs – Snails and slugs will love the flesh of young pumpkins. A freshly carved pattern in your pumpkin can be seen as a doorway to dinner for these slimy pests.
Flies – Inside or out, flies will show up more and more as the pumpkin is left out. Not only will they cover the pumpkin but also the surrounding area. It’s likely that these pests will lay eggs in the fruit and increase their numbers as the pumpkin rots. If your pumpkin is near the entrance to your home, these pests will likely fly inside whenever you open the door.
Ants – Undoubtably ants will take any opportunity to infest a food source, especially one as big as a pumpkin. Although ants don’t pose much of a risk to human health, they can become a nuisance in numbers, particularly once they find their way indoors. Ants found near a food source, most frequently in a kitchen, are a common problem and can be solved quickly with an insecticide spray.
Preventing pumpkin pests
There are a few ways you can prevent these pests from feeding on your Halloween pumpkin. The first being using reusable, artificial pumpkins. Decorative pumpkins made from plastic or paper mache can be reused every year and won’t attract pests to your home.
Alternatively keeping real pumpkins indoors after carving and away from any potential entry holes to your home. If your home is sufficiently proofed from pests such as rodents your pumpkin shouldn’t post too much of a risk. Just remember to dispose of your pumpkin after a short while as any food left out to rot will attract pests, inside or not!
In addition, use a battery-powered, artificial candle as opposed to the real thing. Lighting a candle inside your pumpkin will increase the rotting process and encourage infestations sooner.
If you’re worried about your pumpkin attracting insects, we do offer a residual insecticide spray. Our technicians will spray this around the pumpkin to eliminate any insects attempting to feast on the winter squash.
PESTUK are full members of the BPCA, the governing body for pest control in the UK. Using a BPCA member company ensures you have a qualified, fully insured company treating your pest problem.
Call us on 0330 100 2811 to book an appointment regarding pumpkin pests today.