Don’t let hitchhiking pests spoil your holiday season

(BPT) – As the days get shorter and a wintry chill sets in across the country, families are beginning to prepare their homes for the most wonderful time of the year.

Though it is all too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) urges homeowners to take precautions against hitchhiking pests such as rodents, ants, spiders and mites that may be hiding in holiday decorations.

“The holidays are a time for families and friends to come together, and pests are not a welcome part of that equation,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA.

“Insects and arachnids, and their eggs, can use Christmas trees, wreaths and firewood to hitch a ride into your home, while rodents may take up residence in decorations that have not been stored in pest-proof containers.”

The NPMA offers the following tips for keeping pests outdoors this holiday season:

* Shake off trees, wreaths and garlands outdoors and carefully inspect them for pests or eggs that may be hiding deep in the branches.

* If copying a DIY natural decoration from Pinterest or another craft site, thoroughly inspect all foliage and greenery outside the home before beginning the project.

* Store firewood on a raised structure that is located at least 20 feet away from the home and check the wood for pests before bringing it indoors.

* After pulling decorations out of storage, unpack them outdoors to check for pests, such as mice. Look inside boxes for signs of rodents such as droppings or gnaw marks, especially on strings of lights, to ensure the wiring is fully intact.

* When it comes time to pack up decorations after the holiday season, use durable, sealed containers that pests can’t chew through instead of cardboard boxes or plastic bags.

* For more information and holiday decorating tips, visit

Following these easy pest prevention tips will go a long way in protecting your home and your family’s health this holiday season. For information about common pests and how to prevent them, visit

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