’Tis the season for holiday pests

|  November 6, 2019 0 Comments
PHOTO: ISTOCK.COM/MPHILLIPS007

PHOTO: ISTOCK.COM/MPHILLIPS007

The holiday season is upon us, and to many Americans, that means dragging boxes of decorations out of storage locations that haven’t been visited for nearly a year. While some clients have the space to store items on-site, many choose off-site storage options for holiday decorations.

In the U.S., self-storage is a $36 billion industry, with close to 50,000 units available to American consumers nationwide. That’s more than the number of McDonald’s and Starbucks locations combined.

With so many Americans choosing storage facilities to stash their extra stuff, these locations serve as an underappreciated opportunity to spread pests from one home to another.

As “decorating season” approaches, encourage clients to carefully inspect boxes and other storage containers for signs of pests. Stored product pests may infest wreaths and other seasonal décor, with grade school art projects featuring popcorn-bearded Santas and pretzel stick-antlered reindeer topping the list of likely suspects. Mice may leave behind signs of their activity via droppings and rub marks, and build nests in undisturbed boxes.

If the opportunity arises, technicians should carefully inspect for signs of infestation in areas that previously may have been hidden by stored items. Catching an infestation early can minimize pest damage.

Advise clients to store their seasonal items in sealed containers with tight-fitting lids to minimize cross-infestation at storage facilities. Neatly organized storage areas are less conducive to infestation, because inspection is easier. Even if you don’t have access to your clients’ storage areas, instruct them on what to look for, so they can advocate for themselves with a storage center’s management staff regarding pest control needs.

Take the opportunity to empower your customers with knowledge of pest exclusion, and make inspection and education the first steps toward keeping the holidays happy.

Dr. Jim Fredericks

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