Have a holly jolly pest-free holiday

As households begin preparations for the holidays, there are several precautionary measures residents should consider to avoid adding pest control to their to-do lists. Before decking the halls, it's a good idea to keep a lookout for signs of unwelcome intruders. This week, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) released its tips for avoiding pest infestations this holiday season.

Inspect the Christmas tree
For many, the holidays aren't complete without a tree. If residents decide to bring a fresh evergreen into their homes, they should check the tree outside before doing so. Homeowners should look for spiders, insect nests and eggs before purchasing trees, wreaths and garlands, the NPMA advises. It's a good idea to shake out any greenery before bringing it indoors.

Keep firewood 20 feet away from homes
Because the fireplace is a popular gathering place during wintertime, homeowners should be very careful about spiders, ants and other insects that make their homes in woodpiles. The NPMA recommends keeping firewood on an elevated platform outside of the home. Residents may also consider wearing work gloves when handling wood.

Be cautious with decorations
It's a good idea to unpack ornaments, signs and other festive home accessories outside, in case mice or other pests have infested them over the year. In addition, after the holidays decorations should be repacked in durable, sealed containers and stored in a dry area.

Keep food pest-free
The NPMA encourages homeowners to check expiration dates on ingredients and look for holes in sealed packages. Residents can place a bay leaf in storage containers and packages of dry goods, as the smell deters many pantry pests.

Bring in a professional
If homeowners suspect or notice signs of an infestation, such as rodent droppings, eggs and insects, they should contact an exterminator promptly. A pest management professional can solve creepy crawler problems quickly and efficiently, so residents can focus on their holiday festivities.


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