Unwanted Christmas Guests: The Top 5 Holiday Pests - PEST UK

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Unwanted Christmas Guests: The Top 5 Holiday Pests

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With less than a week to go until Christmas, the last thing you need is unwanted Christmas guests (or should we say pests). Here at PESTUK, we have listed our top 5 pests that you may come across this holiday season, and what to look out for.


PESTUK’s Top 5 Christmas Pests:


1. Bed bugs

Unlike many pests, bed bugs are not affected by seasonal fluctuations and as such do not hibernate. They will remain active throughout cold temperatures if there is a food source, i.e. humans. Although bed bugs do not transmit diseases, their bites leave itchy raised bumps on the skin that can cause irritation.

Bed-bugs can hide in clothes, suitcases, furniture, and other belongings and can therefore travel from one destination with ease. You could be bringing bed bugs into your home without realising it. This is often the case with second-hand furniture or luggage brought into the home after travelling.


What to look out for:

  • Small dark spots of blood, known as ‘faecal pellets’, are produced after feeding and may be present on your mattress.
  • Dark stains on your bed could indicate bed bug excretion.
  • Live adult bed bugs – bed bugs are very small and resemble small flat discs, and are tan or light brown in colour. When they feed on blood they will become darker and increase in size.
  • Shedded ‘skins’  bed bugs have 5 different nymph stages of development, and at each stage, they shed their exoskeleton.
  • Bites that often appear overnight, located predominantly on the neck, hands, arms, and legs are a sign that you may have a problem.



2. Mice

Not a creature was stirring, not even a… What’s that scratching noise? Unfortunately, mice infestations are increasingly likely during the colder weather. Mice stay active throughout the year, however, in Winter food sources become less reliable. Because mice are so adaptable, and will happily invade your home and steal your food sources.

Mice are a problem because they can contaminate food-preparation surfaces. Their faeces contain the bacterium that causes food poisoning (salmonellosis) and that’s not what you want when you’re cooking for relatives.


What to look out for:

  • Droppings – mice droppings are 6mm long and pointed on both ends.
  • The smell of urine
  • Evidence of gnawing or nesting such as shredded paper or cardboard.
  • Scratching noises – mice are nocturnal so any activity is likely to be heard at night. They will mostly nest in the loft/attic areas and use cavities for movement in and around the house.



3. Cockroaches

Cockroaches are the last thing you want when you’re cooking Christmas dinner. Cockroaches can contaminate food, utensils, and preparation surfaces as they move. They are capable of carrying organisms that cause food poisoning in humans and also other bacteria that are harmful.

There are many types of cockroaches, however, the two most common in the UK are the German and Oriental cockroaches. The main difference in appearance between the two is the colour and size. German cockroaches are darker in colour and larger, while its oriental counterpart is much smaller and appears a yellowy-brown colour.


What to look out for:

  • Cockroaches omit an unpleasant odour, and this tends to linger on objects or surfaces that they have contaminated.
  • Shedded skins –  like bed bugs, cockroaches can shed their skins as much as 8 times before they reach maturity. 
  • Dark stains and droppings could indicate cockroach excretion.



4. Squirrels

Squirrels in lofts and attics are a common problem throughout the colder months. They are often perceived as being harmless, but they can cause significant damage. They are much more destructive than rats or mice. They can cause structural damage by tearing up loft insulation for bedding, chewing timbers, pipework and stored items, and posing a fire hazard by stripping insulation from electrical wiring and chewing cables. What’s more, they can make a tremendous amount of noise.


What to look out for:

    • Gnawed electrical cables.
    • Scratching noises in your loft/attic or wall cavity.
    • Droppings
    • An increase in squirrels around your property, particularly near your roof
    • Bird feeders being disturbed/knocked over, or bird feed balls being stolen.
    • Holes in vents or damage to insulation.


5. Flies

The abundance of food and Christmas waste over the holiday season means that flies are likely to be attracted to your home. House flies will travel several miles to feed, mate and lay eggs. They are disease carriers and can contaminate food, while their larvae feed on rotting organic material or animal faeces. Cluster flies are also common in domestic premises. The warm temperatures can deceive Cluster flies into thinking Spring has arrived allowing them to emerge from hibernation. While harmless to human health, they can be a nuisance.


What to look out for:

  • Stains – flies can leave behind excrement which can stain walls, furnishings, and fabrics.
  • Maggots – the presence of larvae could indicate a potential breeding site for flies.
  • Regular sightings of flies – Cluster flies, in particular, congregate en masse and are easy to spot.


Don’t let unwanted Christmas guests ruin your holiday season. Contact PEST UK on 0330 100 2811 or email at services@pestuk.com or visit our website for advice on the prevention and treatment of pests. 



Woking pest control

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. Therefore, with PEST UK you can have peace of mind knowing that you are dealing with a professional pest control service that is near you.


PESTUK have offices in Bracknell, Edgware, Salisbury, St Albans, Stevenage, Swindon, Thame, Wantage, Ware, Watford, and Woking.

For an updated price list for all of our services please click here.


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