Check for Pests Before Decking the Halls

The National Pest Management Association offers tips on preventing hitchhiking pests

FAIRFAX, Va. (December 10, 2014) – Decorating the home is a favorite holiday tradition for many families. However, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners to inspect décor for signs of pests before decking their halls. Seemingly innocuous items such as wreaths and trees can hide pests that would love nothing more than to set up camp in a warm home.

"Decorating for the holidays is certainly fun, but be sure to take a few moments to inspect décor for signs of pests before bringing items indoors," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "No one wants to deal with a pest infestation-especially during the holidays when we would rather be entertaining and spending time with family and friends."

Boxes of stored decorations, firewood and greenery - including those hand-cut Christmas trees - can all hide rodents, ants, spiders and even spider eggs. The NPMA offers the following tips for keeping pests outdoors this season:

  • 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.
  • If copying a DIY natural decoration from Pinterest or other craft site, thoroughly inspect all foliage and greenery outside the home before beginning projects.
  • Store firewood on a raised structure that is located at least 20 feet away from the home and brush off wood before bringing it indoors.
  • 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.
  • When storing décor after the holiday season, use durable, sealed containers that pests can't chew through instead of cardboard boxes or plastic bags.

Following these pest prevention tips will go a long way in protecting against unwanted intruders this winter. If you suspect an infestation, a qualified pest professional can evaluate the problem and recommend an action plan.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information visit