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Remember to check packages for pests as you shop online for the holidays

Posted at 3:38 PM, Dec 08, 2020

As we shop online more this holiday season, pest control experts are also expecting more calls.

That's because those cardboard packages left out in front of homes are basically an invitation for bugs and rats to come inside.

“They're looking for shelter, just like we are. They're cold if they're outside, so a lot of times, they have that fall migration, or early winter migration of rodents to our door, seeking heat and shelter,” said Dr. Brittany Campbell, staff entomologist at the National Pest Management Association.

Some of those pests include American and German cockroaches, silverfish and even booklice. Unlike body lice, booklice are mostly harmless and more of a nuisance.

During this time, it's important that you open up your packages outside. You'll want to do a quick inspection of the exterior of the box.

“So, you'll look for gnaw marks, any type of droppings on the boxes, and then before you bring them in, go ahead and open that cardboard box,” said Campbell.

Once you open up the box, shake out all the items inside and look for fecal droppings, urine marks, egg casings, and any other type of clues that show there were insects inside.

After inspecting the box, it's fine to still use it to wrap your gifts, but make sure to dispose of it as soon as possible after Christmas. Don't let cardboard pile up inside your house.

And if you think you have an infestation, get a pest control expert to take care of it.