AGAWAM, Mass. – For many people, it just isn’t the holiday season until their home has been properly adorned with twinkling lights, wreaths, trees and family-favorite items of décor. However, Braman Termite & Pest Elimination reminds eager homeowners about the importance of thoroughly inspecting holiday decorations, especially greenery, for signs of pests before decking the halls.
“Decorating is a traditional part of the holiday season, but pests such as spiders, ants and even rodents can easily hitch a ride indoors if boxes and greenery are not thoroughly inspected,” said Jerry Lazarus, third-generation owner of Braman Termite & Pest Elimination. “We tend to receive a lot of calls this time of year from homeowners dealing with mice. With all the friends and family people host for the holidays, a pest infestation is the last thing they need to be worried about.”
Hand-cut Christmas trees and other fresh greenery frequently house insects, spiders and their eggs. Boxes of decorations that have sat in storage during the past year, if not properly sealed, can become infested with rodents and their droppings.
“Mice and rats can carry harmful diseases, like Hantavirus,” said Lazarus. “Once inside your home, mice get into stored food products where their urine, fecal droppings and hairs quickly contaminate your cabinets, counter tops and cooking surfaces. Mice contaminate 10 times more food than they eat.”
Rodents can also damage property by chewing through wiring and insulation. “Stored holiday decorations can provide excellent nesting conditions,” said Lazarus, “so it they should be thoroughly inspected when unpacked.”
Lazarus and his team at Braman offer the following tips for preventing pests in holiday décor:
- Shake off trees, wreaths and garlands and carefully inspect them for pests or eggs that may be hiding in the branches before bringing them inside.
- Do-it-yourselfers creating natural decorations for their homes should also thoroughly inspect all foliage and greenery outside the home before beginning projects indoors.
- Store firewood on a raised structure that is located at least 20 feet away from the home and brush off wood before bringing it in the home.
- After pulling decorations out of storage, unpack them outdoors to check for pests, such as mice. Look inside boxes for rodent droppings or gnaw marks, especially on strings of lights to ensure the wiring is fully intact. Discard damaged items.
- When storing décor after the holiday season, use durable, sealed containers that pests can't chew through instead of cardboard boxes or plastic bags.