Can Holiday Decor Attract Rats?

Rats Could Crash Your Holiday Festivities

As we enter another winter holiday season, you and your loved ones may already be hard at work preparing your decorations. Whether you’re hosting lavish holiday parties or just getting your home into the spirit of the season, you want to remain on guard against uninvited guests — including rats. These invading rodents can find certain elements of your holiday decor irresistible for various reasons, with results that can range from unsanitary to catastrophically destructive.

The more you understand about the odd relationship between rats and holiday decor, the more effectively you can keep your holiday safe, healthy, and free of pests. Let’s examine some common seasonal problems that can occur when homeowners start putting out their decorations.

Rats and Holiday Foods

Rats enjoy a good holiday feast as much as anyone else. Unfortunately, this preference causes them to seek out any and all foodstuffs you might feature this holiday season — including food items commonly used as decoration. For instance, Thanksgiving decor often includes autumn vegetables such as pumpkins. Even if your jack-o-lanterns survived Halloween, they may fall to an onslaught of hungry rats in November. You don’t have to cut or carve a pumpkin to make it appealing or accessible to rodents. A decorative pumpkin will eventually rot, offering a nice, soft, pungent food source.

Do you decorate your Christmas tree with edible items? Many people enjoy hanging popcorn garlands, cookie ornaments, or candy canes on the libs of their trees. Unfortunately, any time you leave food out and unguarded in your home, you’re inviting pests such as rats to dine on it.

Rats, Cold Weather, and Holiday Storage

Speaking of storage, how long has it been since you opened your box of stored holiday decorations? If you’re like many people, you haven’t glimpsed them since this time last year. Between then and now, rats may have taken it on themselves to review the contents.

Like many other pests, rats seek warmth when the weather starts to cool off. A chilly desert winter will often compel rats to chew their way into homes, where they take up residence in the walls, attic, or other tight, neglected spaces — including storage areas.

Those cardboards boxes that prove so convenient for holding your holiday decorations are equally convenient as bedding material for rat nests, especially after the rats have shredded them with their sharp teeth. Even if the rats have since deserted these boxes, the presence of damage, urine, and feces can alert you to their presence in the house. Don’t handle or re-use holiday decorations contained in former rat residences. Rat urine can transmit dangerous diseases such as leptospirosis and salmonella, making those decorations an unacceptable health risk.

Rats and Electrical Holiday Decorations

Rat’s infamous chewing abilities can create another issue: damage to electrical wiring. If your holiday decor typically includes strings of lights on wires or electrical signage, you need to think about this issue. Rats love to chew through wires for whatever reason. When they do, they strip off the insulation, exposing the bare metal beneath. At that point, a spark or short-circuit can easily cause surrounding decorations, furniture, or walls to catch fire. At the very least, you’ll lose your festive lighting.

Steps You Can Take for a Rodent-Free Holiday

Thankfully, there are plenty of smart steps you can take to safeguard your holiday decorations against rats. For example, give serious thought placing plastic imitation pumpkins in your front yard instead of the real thing. If you insist on enhancing your tree with edible decorations, hold off until Christmas Eve, giving the rats the smallest possible window of opportunity. As soon as you’ve celebrated the holiday, take those food items down for immediate enjoyment or future (secure) storage. If you use an artificial tree, brush any food debris off of it before returning it to storage.

Sensible storage practices can also help you keep your holiday decorations both hygienic and functional. Replace those cardboard boxes with rugged, tightly-sealed plastic or metal bins that can resist rodent teeth. Keep your strings of lights in these bins all year long, removing them only to hang them. If you bring a real tree home for Christmas, don’t forget to check the tree carefully for any “stowaways” that might end up chewing on your lights or other tree hangings. Even a few stray strands of rat hair caught on the needles could alert you to potential trouble.

If you see evidence of a rat infestation that threatens to throw a wet blanket over your holiday season, contact Buzz Tech Pest Control in Phoenix AZ. Our experienced team can evaluate the evidence, locate infestation points, and get rid of those unwanted houseguests.