(NewsUSA) – For those who look forward to dusting off their Christmas decorations and unpacking strand after strand of twinkling lights, discovering a nest of mice or other creatures can be alarming.
“Rodents, spiders and other pests can find their way into homes and nest 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 National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
Holiday decorations that sit in boxes, undisturbed for long periods of time in the attic, basement or closet, provide the perfect hiding spots for pests. The usual culprits are beetles, mice, spiders and weevils. Mice will make nests out of cozy stockings, spiders will spin webs into your wreaths and weevils will burrow into your potpourri.
In order to keep your decorations free of pests and prevent nasty surprises this December, NPMA recommends these prevention tips:
• Avoid storing decorations in cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes can barely keep out dust, let alone hungry pests. Instead, keep wrapping paper and ornaments in large plastic totes and containers. The containers should have tightly sealed lids to keep the contents dry and secure.
• Keep cloth or wool items in sealed plastic bags. All stockings, tree skirts and other cloth decorations should be washed and sealed in plastic bags. Damp or dirty table linens can be a pest haven and also harbor germs and bacteria. Plastic bags will help keep items fresh and safe from insects.
• Inspect decorations each year for mold or damage. Not all decorations are meant to last forever, and some should be thrown out after one season. Remember to go through your collection and check for moldy or damaged articles. Since mold and moisture can attract more pests, it’s best to discard those items.

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