Squirrel eating a Jack o' Lantern

Squirrel eating a Jack o' LanternMany homeowners decorate with pumpkins in the fall as part of seasonal decorations or for Halloween, but the last thing you want to find are nibbled pumpkins or bugs infesting pumpkins and other decorations. It is just as bad when insects or rodents attack the pumpkins and other produce growing in your garden.

Do Pumpkins Attract Pests?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Pumpkins and live pumpkin decorations can attract pests. A variety of creatures eat pumpkins – including ants, fruit flies, squash bugs, groundhogs, and other rodents. Some will consider your pumpkins tasty treats as soon as you put them out as decorations. Other pests will be attracted by the slow deterioration of the pumpkin as it ages and rots.

What Is Eating My Pumpkins?

That is a two-fold question – do you mean pumpkins used for decorations or pumpkins growing in your garden? And yes, some culprits fit both categories.

Mice, such as the white-footed mouse and the deer mouse, will not only nibble on your pumpkins but they will decimate them at all stages of a pumpkin’s life cycle. They’ll even dig up and eat planted pumpkin seeds, though they prefer early stage pumpkin plants.

In the garden; aphids, beetles, snails and slugs, squash bugs, and vine borers will prey on pumpkins. Ants are also attracted by pumpkins, whether on your porch or in your garden.

Rabbits, foxes, moles, and deer will also eat your pumpkins. Here on Long Island though, the squirrels are the mammal most likely to chew on your decorative pumpkins as well as those in a garden.

How Do I Keep Bugs Off My Carved Pumpkin?

First, start with as fresh a pumpkin as possible. The older the pumpkin, the faster it will start to rot… and that will definitely attract bugs. Waiting until you carve the pumpkin can also help. Once carved, a pumpkin tends to last seven days at the most.

Dehydration and oxygenation speed up the deterioration of carved pumpkins. Spraying it with a solution of a quarter teaspoon of bleach to a liter of water will help it last longer. You also need to make sure that all the pumpkin guts are removed when carving.

If you light a candle in your jack-o-lantern, consider a citronella candle. The scent helps deter insects, though only while lit. Of course, follow all fire safety guidelines for using real candles in jack-o-lanterns – such as never leaving them unattended.

Do Rats Eat Pumpkins?

Yes, rats love pumpkins. YouTube even has videos of pet rats eating pumpkins because people find it adorable, but it is not cute or fun to find rats eating your decorative Halloween pumpkins. Carved jack-o-lanterns especially attract rats because of how much easier it is for them to get to the sweet interior.

Arrow Keeps Your Home & Pumpkins Pest-free

Don’t let bugs or rodents get you down or infest your Halloween decorations or garden harvest. Talk to the experts at Arrow to find out how to protect your home from pests of all kinds, all year round. To get started, contact Arrow Exterminating today.

Tips for Keeping Your Pumpkins Safe Serving Long Island, New York City, and surrounding areas

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