4 Holiday Decorations That Can Attract Insects and Rodents
Cooler weather usually means fewer pests, but holiday decorations are a seasonal exception. Whether they hitch a ride indoors or they’ve been patiently waiting for the festivities like the rest of us, here are the critters that may be attracted to your decorations and how you can prevent them.
Potted Plant Pests
A potted plant is a great way to add some greenery to your holiday decor, but you might bring more nature into your home than intended.
Soil-dwelling pests like fungus gnats thrive in the moisture-rich environment of potted plants like poinsettias and paperwhites. Keep an eye out for small, dark, mosquito-like bugs flying around the soil below the leaves. You can also check the soil for tiny white larvae before you bring your plants inside.
Speaking of poinsettias, there’s one insect in particular that loves them: whiteflies. These small, winged bugs hide on the bottom of leaves. This might make them look like ornaments on a tree, but if you don’t want these bugs decorating your plants, wipe the leaves with a mixture of dish soap and water.
The attic is a place where decorations are out of sight and out of mind until next year, giving critters plenty of time to explore them. Taking these bins and boxes out of their dark, undisturbed places can stir up bugs like centipedes and bring them back downstairs.
Mice in particular may find comfort in the warmth of your stored items. If your boxes aren’t sealed tight, you may find that your string lights and other decorations have been chewed through.
Try placing cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil in your attic to deter creatures from getting too cozy in your decorations. If nothing else, they should smell festive when it’s time to hang them up.
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Pest-Free Tree
Clark Griswold learned the hard way — you never know when a squirrel will decide to take a cozy winter nap in your tree.
While incredibly unlikely, if you’re worried your tree could be topped by more than a star, check for signs of nibbled branches or droppings. Squirrels can also get in your home, and potentially your tree, when looking for warm shelter, so make sure large gaps in your home are sealed.
A pest you’re more likely to find in your tree is an aphid. These small green or black bugs are attracted to Christmas trees for their sap. While they’re usually dormant in the winter, their eggs could be hidden in the branches. Once inside, the warmer indoor temperatures can cause the eggs to hatch well before spring. Give your tree a good shake before you bring it indoors to knock off any stowaways.
Candy canes and popcorn garlands are classic decorations, but they can also be an attractive treat for pests. If items like these aren’t stored in airtight containers, cockroaches and ants will make quick work of them. It’s probably best to throw these decorations away at the end of the year so their scent doesn’t become a problem.
While not as appetizing for humans, wooden decorations are also at risk of being eaten or damaged by bugs. Termites and wood-boring beetles can sniff out wooden ornaments if stored improperly. Check these ornaments for tiny holes or nearby sawdust piles before you display them.
Keep Your Holidays Pest-Free
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