Choosing between a real Christmas tree and an artificial one is an annual holiday season tradition. It’s much like the yearly debate as to whether you should spend an hour with your in-laws, or half an hour instead!
There’s plenty of upside to chopping down your own tree. A freshly cut tree adds sentience and scent to the season, lifting the holiday spirit in your home. You can tastefully decorate it with your favourite winter ornaments, and it’s a sentimental experience sitting around a real tree with family and friends.
Having said that, taking in and setting up a real Christmas tree can bring unexpected and unwanted house guests indoors. Besides those in-laws, real Christmas trees have the huge downside of Christmas tree bugs.
Those Christmas bugs and Christmas tree insects were likely hibernating when you forcefully emigrated them into the warm confines of your home. If you’re thinking, ‘why are there bugs on my Christmas tree?’, they’re probably thinking ‘is it springtime already’? Before you know it, you could have a brand-new infestation of Christmas insects to hang out with over the holidays.
While most of the microscopic Christmas tree bugs aren’t dangerous to people, there are certain species that can become problematic. These bugs on real Christmas trees have been known to contaminate common areas throughout homes.
Here are some of the Christmas tree insects that could be lurking in and amongst your presents this year:
Typically hiding on the lower boughs of trees, Christmas tree aphids are the most common Christmas tree insects that families encounter. Christmas tree aphids primarily harbour in evergreens, pines, spruce, Fraser fir, and white fir trees.
If you do notice an aphid infestation, remember to avoid squashing them on furniture. Christmas tree aphids leave a ghastly purple or red stain when crushed.
Pine Needle Scales
Pine needle scales simply don’t look like Christmas tree bugs. They look more like white specs on the needles or branches of trees. When they hatch, however, their red exterior makes them the perfect Christmas contrast – and easy to spot. They reside in Scotch pines, Norway spruce, and Douglas-firs.
Hopefully you can pick out the brown cocoons that nest black-and-yellow sawflies before bringing them into your home. Sawflies are one of the bigger Christmas tree insects you’ll encounter, assuming you have a spruce or pine tree that is.
Named after English singer-songwriter Adele (no, not really), adelgids are virtually undetectable outdoors. This is because adelgids mimic a coat of snow dusting on trees. They’re commonly found in fir trees, white pines, Norway spruce, and Scotch pines.
These cylindrical, hard-bodied bugs are about the size of a rice grain, coming in red, black, or brown. Small holes and sawdust trails on your real Christmas tree’s trunk, or just beneath the tree’s lower boughs, strongly indicates that Christmas tree beetles are harbouring there.
How To Ensure There Are No Extra Gifts (Bugs) Under Your Tree
Follow these five precautionary steps to prevent Christmas tree bugs from breaching your home this holiday season:
- During the tree-choosing process, conduct a thorough inspection of the undersides of the branches, and the base of the trunk. Then prune any branches necessary.
- Don’t set up your freshly cut Christmas tree immediately – leave it in the garage for a few days first.
- Grab an expendable white sheet and shake your Christmas tree out zealously to toss off any stray bugs.
- Vacuum any residual tree insects on or around the tree.
- Dust your Christmas tree with Diatomaceous Earth or use Christmas tree bug spray with neem oil to eliminate any bugs that have managed to stick around for the holidays.
Don’t let the fear of Christmas tree insects deter you from adding an important holiday tradition into your home. Most Christmas trees aren’t brimming with bugs. However, you will hear about the odd horror story of praying mantis eggs hatching in Christmas trees, or aphid infestations invading homes.
Being precautionary and acting proactively should be enough to get rid of Christmas tree bugs that have hitched a ride inside your home. And if worse comes to worst, they’re a great excuse to shoo other unwanted house guests from your home over the holidays!
Save Yourself The Struggle And Leave Christmas Bugs To Our Pest Control Professionals Instead
Terminix Canada is backed by over 90 years of professional pest control experience. If you’re having an issue with Christmas tree bugs, or other pest control problems, we specialize in fast and environmentally friendly pest removal services. To find out more about the pest control options available in your town or city, visit our Branch Locator, find your nearest Terminix Canada branch and give them a call.