The National Pest Management Association shares ways to deck the halls without inviting pests
According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, putting up holiday decorations early in the season can make people happier. However, before homeowners rush to deck the halls, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) says to proceed with care as décor could also bring uninvited pest guests into the home this holiday season.
“Although festive decorations certainly bring us joy, some can also carry unwanted pests capable of ruining holiday celebrations,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Real greenery, such as wreaths, garland and trees can harbor hidden spiders and mites, while boxes of decorations can easily become infested during the holiday off-season. To avoid any added holiday drama, take a few extra steps to inspect items and keep pests outside.”
The NPMA and its consumer education site, PestWorld.org, offers this advice to keep pests from ruining holiday cheer:
Inspect Greenery: Wreathes, trees and garlands provide the perfect shelter for spiders and ticks, as well as their eggs. Carefully inspect and shake all greenery outside before bringing indoors, and routinely vacuum around the base of trees.
Unpack with Care: Stored for long periods of time — usually in attics, basements or garages — boxes of decorations can serve as ideal homes for insects and rodents. Unpack boxes and bins outdoors and check for signs of rodent droppings or gnaw marks.
Store in Plastic: When it’s time to pack up, use hard plastic containers with airtight lids rather than cardboard boxes. A sealed container can keep pests out and help preserve decorations.
Keep Wood at a Distance: Holidays at home are even cozier with a warm fire glowing in the fireplace. Store wood on a raised structure at least 20 feet from the home and brush it off before bringing indoors. Pests like termites, spiders and ants can get inside aboard logs.