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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Family and friends come home for the holidays, lights go up all over town, and the spirit of giving and generosity is everywhere.

And thanks to those boxes of decorations you’ve been storing in the attic since last winter, you’ve generously given household pests a hiding place.

Many household pests in Pittsburgh find cardboard storage boxes irresistible. Usually kept in dark areas with little human traffic, storage boxes are an ideal vessel for pests to call home. So, when you make your annual trudge up to the attic to untangle that strand of string lights, you might find a little more than you bargained for. Here's what you need to know about pests and Holiday decorations.

Common Holiday Pests In Pittsburgh

Small rodents, particularly mice, are the most common culprits. Mice can take up residence in cardboard boxes as shelter and may harvest paper material for their nests. If you’ve got Holiday tinsel made from popcorn, berries, or other edible items, it’s likely to attract mice in search of food.

Mice may be small, but they’re no small threat. They carry bacteria and parasites that can contaminate your food, not to mention the potential to cause substantial property damage from their relentless gnawing.

Even in the bitter winter months, some household insects manage to survive in your warm home. Although not nearly as pervasive as in the summer months, it’s not unusual to spot a spider, cockroach, or silverfish hiding out in your holiday decorations.

While your average spider probably isn’t an imminent threat to your home, cockroaches certainly are. Cockroaches like to feed on paper and can make a feast out of your cardboard boxes, especially if kept in a dank area like a basement where roaches frequent. These awful insects carry disease and multiply quickly, making an infestation a serious health risk to you and your family.

Silverfish aren’t quite as insidious as cockroaches, but these pests will eagerly chew up paper items that you’ve stored away. Books and print materials are a favorite of silverfish and can be ruined by the little bugs if left unattended.

What To Do About Pests And Holiday Decorations

Pests hiding in storage boxes might not seem like a threat when they’re tucked away in the attic or garage, but once those boxes are brought into other rooms of the house, the pests hiding in your decorations may invade new areas.

If you suspect you have pests hiding in your holiday decorations, there are a few simple steps you can take to check.

  • First, identify all boxes and containers that have signs of pest activity. Some telltale indicators of infestation are bite marks on electronic wires and droppings around the perimeter of your boxes.

  • Next, bring your boxes outside. If anything is alive in there, the worst thing that could happen is letting it loose in your living room. So, instead, pick an open outdoor area to inspect your boxes. If a pest decides to make a break for it, at least it’s out of your house.

  • Finally, rigorously inspect your holiday decorations. Even if you don’t find any critters hiding out with Rudolph and Frosty in that old cardboard box, evidence of pests like droppings and nesting material should be taken seriously.

Protection From Holiday Pests

The best step you can take to prevent pests from spoiling your Holiday traditions is to purchase sturdy storage containers. Choose plastic tote bins that lock or snap shut instead of cardboard boxes. Plastic totes are simply a better option for keeping your decorations safe.

Nothing will ruin your holidays like a pest problem. Luckily, you don’t have to confront your unwelcome critters alone. If you need advice or assistance dealing with pests this winter, you can count on the experts at Witt Pest Management to help.

Witt Pest Management is Pittsburgh’s oldest and most advanced pest control company. With over 100 years of experience in treating pest problems in the area, we know how to deal with a wide variety of pests and how to keep them from coming back. If you’re experiencing a pest problem, contact our experts today so you can enjoy the holidays in peace.

Tags:  cockroaches  |  home pest control  |  mice & rats  |