Keep Unwanted Christmas Pests Out
In rare circumstances, the Christmas tree that you bought on the lot can come with holiday pests. There are a couple types of Christmas tree pests: those that actually feed on the tree and that are pests from the tree growers, and those that are just hitchhiking on the tree.
The two most common grower pests are spruce spider mites and aphids. The white pine aphid is a black insect that can be found on pine trees. These grower pests are usually killed by treatment before the trees are cut for sale. Growers say that only about one in 100,000 cut trees are accidentally shipped with pests. If you cut your own tree or greens, you’re much more likely to be bringing home some harmless Christmas tree pests.
Christmas Trees Can Hide Hitchhikers
The second group of pests is those that have crawled into the tree looking for shelter. These include spiders, sowbugs, ants, and beetles. These pests may have been hiding in the tree when cut or may have moved in during transport, storage on the lot, or even while the tree sat in your yard for a couple of days. A evergreen tree provides winter shelter for all kinds of pests. Once the tree is moved indoors, the insects become active again. Sometimes a praying mantis will lay an egg case on a branch. It looks like a beige chunk of Styrofoam. Simply cut it out and dispose of it.
This makes it sound like all Christmas trees are infested with pests. Most of the time, the tree won’t have any pests. None of the Christmas tree pests can cause any damage to your home, they don’t bite or sting, they are simply nuisance pests. Remove the pests by hand or vacuum up those that have left the tree. They won’t reproduce in your home either since most will die quickly once they are in a drier indoor environment.
Inspect Before You Buy or Cut Your Tree
Look for aphids or other small insects along the branches ,where the branches meet the trunk. Look for spider webs and look at the bottom of the branches, too. Look for powder-like sawdust and tiny holes on the trunk that are an indication of bark beetles. Bring a flashlight if you’re shopping at night.
When You Get the Tree Home
Before you bring your tree inside, shake the tree and pound the base of the trunk on the ground to remove any insects or spiders. Cut out any egg cases. Remove dead needles and debris. You can even hose down the tree if temperatures are above freezing.
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