Who doesn’t love a good Christmas tree? Every year I always look forward to decorating the tree with different ornaments and lights, filling the living room with some good holiday cheer. For some, this includes buying a real tree instead of a fake one, which honestly, seems like a lot of trouble, but hey, Christmas cheer, right?
Sure, there’s nothing like going out to the best tree farm and handpicking your own Christmas tree that fills your home with the smell of fresh nature, but, did you know that sometimes these trees have hidden bugs in them? Yup, it’s no secret that these freshly cut trees make your home smell amazing, but you are also inviting thousand of little creepy crawlers that are hibernating inside the tree!
According to tree experts, yes that’s totally a thing, the most common Christmas tree bugs are called Aphids. These are little black and brown bugs with six legs and wings. Yikes! There are also bugs called Adelgids, which produce little white masses that suck sap from spruce needles. If you see tiny red specks crawling on your tree, it’s probably scale insects! These bugs can also be known as bark beetles, and honestly, the name says it all! The dark brown bugs burrow themselves into tree trunks and can easily blend in. There could be up to 25,000 bugs in just one Christmas tree! Double yikes!
What Do Christmas Tree Bugs Look Like?
Other types of bugs that might be lurking around include psocids (small winged gray creatures), praying mantises, scale insects, spiders, moths, weevils, webworms ticks, and mites. But obviously, although the idea of having bugs crawling around your tree and your house is scary, most “tree farms” are good at shaking out anything hidden in the tree by using a mechanical tree shaker.
A mechanical shaker will usually dislodge any potential eggs and intruders as well as get rid of loose pine needles. Although this whole talk of bugs is terrifying, I am happy to say that there is no need to panic. Most of these bugs are harmless and won’t destroy your home. Usually, tree insects don’t live off the tree and only in it. Your home’s environment isn’t really suitable for them and will eventually dry out and die before venturing out.
But still, bugs are bugs, and life is better without them. So, how can you avoid these bugs? Well, to make sure there is no unwanted guest in the tree, you can do a quick inspection with a flashlight. Look for anything suspicious such as bird nests, egg masses, and those creeper crawlers! You can also leave your tree in the garage for 24 hours before decorating. And for those of you who decide to make things “easier” and use bug spray to kill these crawlers, BAD IDEA. You should definitely skip using sprays since they are often flammable and don’t do very well with Christmas lights. Let’s just say bugs are better than a tree on fire.
A few prevention steps to avoid bringing bugs into your home include:
- Examine the underside of branches and the trunk. If you see any branches with eggs, cut them off.
- Leave the Christmas tree in your garage for a few days. This allows the eggs to warm up and hatch in the garage rather than in your living room.
- Shake the tree vigorously before to get out any bugs.
- Use a vacuum to suck up any bugs or eggs on and around your tree.
- Use an insecticidal powder while your tree is outside instead of aerosol pesticide
This post was originally published on November 26, 2018.