Simple Tips to Avoid Holiday Hitchhiking Pests

10% of Americans have found pests in their holiday decorations; Here’s how to avoid unwelcome guests

FAIRFAX, Va.--()--It’s the holiday season, and while many Americans are thinking about decorating their homes and plans to visit with loved ones, many don’t realize that these annual traditions often come with the risk of bringing pests into your home.

That’s why the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is reminding homeowners to watch for pests that could stealthily hitch a ride into your holiday plans. According to a recent survey among 2,069 U.S. adults ages 18+, commissioned by the NPMA and conducted online by The Harris Poll, 85% of Americans say they don’t inspect their firewood before bringing it indoors, which can lead to pest like termites, ants and spiders entering the home. And 84% of Americans report they don’t discard their fresh-cut tress away from entrances to their home, which can attract rodents.

“Winter is all about survival for many common household pests,” said Michael Bentley, Ph.D., entomologist for the NPMA. “As folks begin their holiday travel plans, various pests will also be on the move as they seek shelter indoors from the cold weather. Once inside, these pests can pose significant health and property threats.”

To help pest-proof your holiday decorations:

  • Inspect greenery and natural décor for evidence of pests, including nests and eggs.
  • Store firewood on a raised structure at least 20 feet away from the home; inspect wood before bringing it inside.
  • When disposing of greenery, place it far away from the home.

“The holidays often solicit some of the country’s busiest travel days, so travelers should be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of bed bugs,” said Bentley. “It doesn’t take much for a bed bug to latch onto your travel items. Fortunately, with a few simple tips, people can significantly reduce their risk of unwanted bed bug encounters.”

To keep bed bugs from ruining your travel plans:

  • Thoroughly inspect the room before unpacking, including behind the headboard, under lights, and inside dressers, drawers, sofas and chairs.
  • Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams and box springs, particularly at the corners, for pepper-like stains, spots or shed bed bug skins.
  • Avoid placing luggage on upholstered surfaces. Instead, keep bags in the middle of a tile floor or on a luggage rack after it has been inspected.

If pests become an issue in your home, contact a licensed professional to inspect and treat the problem, and visit for more pest prevention tips.

About the National Pest Management Association

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 5,500 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property from the diseases and dangers of pests. For more information, visit or follow @PestWorld on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok and YouTube.

Survey Methodology

This survey was commissioned by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and conducted online by the Harris poll in November 2022, among 2,069 U.S. adults ages 18+. For more information, please contact


Allie Long
Vault Communications

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NPMA Shares Simple Tips to Avoid Holiday Hitchhiking Pests

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Allie Long
Vault Communications