Tis’ the Season to Be Wary of Household PestsNPMA Staff
Friday, December 2, 2011
By NPMA Staff
When the holiday season approaches, families across the country
will begin pulling out boxes of decorations and digging into
pantries for baking ingredients. But with these annual traditions
comes the risk of bringing a variety of pests - from mice, rodents and spiders to a group of insects known
as "pantry pests" -
into homes. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA)
encourages homeowners to use caution to prevent unwelcome pest
guests this season.
"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," says
Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA.
"They create homes in these undisturbed items and then find new
places to infest once these boxes are moved into family living
quarters such as dens and kitchens."
To prevent such pests from hitchhiking into homes, NPMA
recommends that homeowners keep holiday decorations - especially
items like dried foliage, potpourri and Indian corn - in airtight
containers during off-seasons. Decorations should be unpacked
outside and inspected carefully. Similar caution should be taken to
inspect live foliage that is brought indoors during the holidays,
including Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands that can harbor
Pantry pests, meanwhile, earned their name because of their
tendency to be found in pantry foods including flour, cereal, dry
pasta, spices, dried nuts and fruit. They can also be found in
decorations that contain dried flowers or potpourri. The most
common pantry pests include beetles,
ants, weevils and Indian
"Pantry pests are often brought into homes through infested
packages of food from the store," says Henriksen. "It is important
to carefully examine pantry items before use - especially items
that haven't been used since the past year. If you do find pantry
pests, consult with a pest professional to keep them from
multiplying and contaminating other foods."
The NPMA also recommends the following tips to keep pantry pests
- Store food items in insect-proof containers such as glass or
plastic, with tightly sealed lids.
- Do not mix old and new food items, as this can spread an
- Never purchase groceries if the packaging is broken.
- Keep cabinets, pantries and countertops clean and free of
- Dispose of any food that is expired or shows signs of a pest