Freshly-cut Christmas trees are beautiful, they make our homes smell nice, and they get us in the holiday spirit! Unfortunately, when we bring a live Christmas tree into our homes, it may also come with some uninvited guests in the form of pests. Many types of pests make their homes in Christmas trees including aphids, spiders, and mites. While these pests are typically harmless to humans, their presence could be unnerving. So we’ve compiled a few steps you can take to treat your Christmas tree before you bring it into your home.
Which Types of Insects Live in Christmas Trees?
Entomologists say there could be more than 20,000 insects in a single tree including:
- Spiders and mites: Commonly found on Fraser-fir, Douglas-fir, White pine, and Spruce trees. These pests may leave small red stains on your Christmas ornaments or floor.
- Aphids: Usually found on White-fir, Fraser-fir, Balsam-fire, Spruce, Evergreen, and Pine trees. They are typically found on lower boughs of the tree.
- Bark Beetles: These beetles are about the size of a grain of rice and are red, brown or black in color. They are commonly found on White-fir, Juniper, Coulter pine, Jeffrey pine, and Monterey pine trees.
- Adelgids: Resembles dusting snow; common in fir trees, Scotch pine, and White pine.
The types of pests that live in Christmas trees varies depending on where you live and the species of tree you have chosen. It’s also important to keep in mind that many of these pests are harmless and will die off once inside your home because your home is not a suitable environment for them.
Pest-Proofing Your Christmas Tree
While most Christmas tree lots take preventive measures to help remove pests, below are some additional steps you can take to help prevent bringing bugs into your home.
- Inspect your tree: Look for nests, eggs, and signs of insects on the tree’s trunk and branches. You may want to use a flashlight for this step. If you notice any eggs or nests on branches, prune them.
- Shake your Christmas tree: Layout a light-colored cloth and give your tree a good shake over it. This will not only help remove any bugs but it will also remove dry, loose needles from your tree. Then vacuum up the debris.
- Keep your tree in the garage for a few days: This will allow any eggs living in your tree to warm up and hatch in the garage and not in your home.
- Keep your vacuum handy: Your vacuum is not only effective in picking up fallen pine needles, it is also great at helping prevent insects from spreading. If you see aphids or other insects on or near your tree you can simply suck them up with your vacuum.
- Do not use aerosol pesticide sprays: Aerosol sprays are not needed and are flammable! Insects require humidity to live, and most will desiccate and die within a matter of days.
If your Christmas tree does have a large amount of insects in it, most tree lots will allow you to exchange it for another. If you have any questions about Christmas tree pests or other pests native to the Pacific Northwest, feel free to contact us at United Pest Solutions!