You might have more than ornaments in your Christmas tree.
(NewsUSA) — For many Americans, colder weather means seasonal decorations and holiday baking — but if you’re one of those who set out gourds and holly or cookies for Santa, you might be opening your home to some unwanted guests.
“Mice, rodents, spiders and other pests find their way into homes by hiding in boxes of holiday decorations that have been stored in attics, basements and garages since last season,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). “They create homes in these undisturbed items and then find new places to infest once these boxes are moved into family living quarters.”
The holiday season may also bring out pantry pests, which make themselves at home in pantry foods like flour, cereal, dry pasta, spices, nuts and dried fruit, as well as in decorations made from dried flowers and potpourri. The most common pantry pests are beetles, ants, weevils and Indian meal moths.
So, what can you do to deter unwelcome holiday guests? The NPMA offers the following tips:
• Store seasonal decorations in airtight containers. Items like dried foliage, potpourri and Indian corn should be carefully stored in the off-season. Keep them in a dry environment, such as a closet or office, and unpack them outside.
• Inspect fresh decorations before you bring them indoors. Look over wreaths, Christmas trees and garlands to make sure you’re not bringing insects into your home.
• Store food properly. All food should be stored in plastic or glass containers with sealed lids. Keep cabinets, pantries and countertops clean and free of crumbs.
• Examine pantry items before you use them. Check packages before you bring them home from the store. Never buy any item that appears damaged. Throw out expired ingredients. If you have any ingredients that haven’t been used in the past year, inspect them before use.
If you do find pests, contact a pest professional. They will know the best way to treat an infestation. For more information on preventing pests from crashing your home this holiday season or to find a licensed pest professional, visit www.pestworld.org.