Who doesn’t love the holiday season? This time of year, people smile more, and seem overall happier. Houses are dressed up with holiday lights and decorations – it’s a beautiful sight. Unfortunately, sometimes you end up with unwanted holiday guests. And no I am not talking about your in-laws. I’m talking about insects, mice, and other pests.

Stored holiday decorations are a leading culprit of holiday pests. Occasionally, the pests (such as mice) are already in the attic, but you only find them when removing holiday decorations. Regardless of when the pests arrived, you want them gone. When moving holiday decorations to or from their off-season storage area be sure to:

  1. Inspect the outside of the boxes
    If new holes, bite marks, or stains are on the boxes, stay alert, this could be a sign of new insect or rodent activity inside the box.
  2. Remove items carefully
    Unpack decorations in an open area with a hard surface so if any mice or insects try to rush away, it’ll be easier for you to squish or catch them.
  3. Wash anything you think has been contaminated
    If you believe any holiday decorations have been contaminated by rodents or insects, clean them thoroughly. Pests can spread germs. If decorations are not properly cleaned, anyone who comes in contact with them has an increased risk of getting sick.
  4. Check/replace traps
    If you know there is a rodent problem in your attic or crawl space, a good place to start is setting traps. If traps are set and there is still an issue, it’s time to call a professional.
  5. Clean your attic and crawl space (professional inspections/cleanings are recommended)
    Having your attic and crawl space professionally cleaned, and sealed will minimize your risk of an infestation.

Knowing how to properly store holiday decorations can save you the hassle of worrying about pests the following year. The best advice we can give is: get rid of the cardboard boxes! Many holiday decorations come in cardboard and after the holiday season people tend to repack in the original boxes. We understand the convenience of it, but cardboard should not be used for storage. Plastic totes are the best option because plastic does a better job of locking out moisture and pests. This applies to anyone who purchased an artificial Christmas tree too – ditch the original box and invest in either a plastic tote or an artificial Christmas tree bag.

When putting your decorations into the plastic totes, inspect them first. It’s important to make sure there are no pests, broken pieces, or mold on anything you are packing. Anything that is broken or contaminated needs to be thrown out. It’s recommended to wash delicate items before storing them away for the year. It is also important to inspect the storage room (attic, garage, crawl space, etc.) before placing boxed decorations in there for the off season.

If you want to eliminate holiday pests, call 910-455-5888 and one of May Exterminating’s friendly technicians will be happy to help.