You’ve finished up the pumpkin pie and now it’s time to decorate your home for Christmas. The lights! The smell of fresh pine! The…bugs? If you’re bringing a live Christmas tree inside this season, you may be bringing some unwanted hitchhikers along with it, as a large variety of bugs make their homes in evergreen trees in coniferous forests.
Luckily, your home isn’t the right habitat for these insects, so they won’t move in long-term, but the last thing you want is a slew of pests that wake up from their winter naps once inside your warm house. Although most of the bugs will stay on the tree, some will be attracted to the lights inside your home, including the windows, and some will crawl around the presents nestled beneath your tree as well.
The best prevention to Christmas tree bugs is to carefully check your tree before you bring it inside. Look for signs of small insects. If there are any small holes with trails of sawdust, chances are your tree has bark beetles. Be sure to check the undersides of branches as well as the trunk. If you find any sign of egg cases, make sure you remove them. Once inside your warm home, it will feel like spring and induce the eggs to hatch. And, although bird nests can be charming, be sure to remove them as they may contain mites, lice, and other bird parasites.
Vigorously shake the tree before you bring it into your home. This will not only help shake loose any stray insects, it will also remove any loose needles. Make sure you never use aerosol insect sprays around or on your Christmas tree as they are extremely flammable and dangerous.
Some of the most common bugs found on evergreens include:
Aphids: Aphids are tiny, inactive bugs that are harmless and usually go unnoticed. However, if your tree remains indoors for a long period of time, they may reproduce, and you may have an aphid colony on your hands.
Bark Beetles: These small, dark brown or black beetles are commonly found on evergreens. They like to bore small holes into the trunk that leave sawdust, but never fear, your wood furnishings will be safe from harm as it is too dry for them to survive.
Spiders: The spiders typically found on Christmas trees are there to eat other insects and aren’t dangerous to you or your pets. They’ll usually stick to the tree, but if they decide to explore you’ll notice small webs on the walls, furniture, and ceiling close to your tree. Simply vacuum them up and don’t worry—this outdoor species of spider won’t survive long in your warm home.