However, before you panic and toss out your live tree to replace it with a plastic one, there are steps you can take to prevent pests in real Christmas trees. Here are some home pest control prevention tips you can employ as you pick up the tree from the lot and set it up indoors.
Insects in Christmas Trees
The excitement of going out and finding just the right tree is a tradition for many people who enjoy having a live tree in their home during the holidays. The last thing you want to worry about is bringing home an insect or some other pest.
The good news is that the type of pests that often make Christmas trees their home are not the type that will cause an infestation and are, most likely, completely harmless. For example, there is no way to spread bed bugs to your home via Christmas tree as bed bugs do not live in trees. Plus, these pests tend to only be found on field-grown conifers.
Some possible pests include:
- Scale insects
- Bark beetles
- Praying mantis egg masses (found on tree limbs)
- Mites (usually from bird nests)
These insects tend to go dormant on trees during the cold months, but as soon as you bring them indoors and warm them up, they spring right back to life. They will likely not stay on the tree as the tree dries up and try to find other places to make their home.
One of the best ways to deal with this should be right at the Christmas tree lot. Many lots have a mechanical tree shaker. This device does exactly what it sounds like: shakes the tree. This will usually dislodge any potential intruders, eggs and other things, as well as getting rid of loose pine needles.
If you visit a lot that does not have a mechanical tree shaker, then do the shaking yourself. When you get to a clear spot, shake that tree vigorously. It will accomplish pretty much the same thing.
Finally, use a light and inspect the tree. Remove any bird nests or egg masses that you find.
Avoid Sprays, Be Sure to Vacuum
It pays to regularly vacuum around your Christmas tree. This will pick up the pine needles that have fallen to the carpet and will likely get rid of any pests that have decided to crawl down off the tree and start exploring your home.
Do not use chemical sprays! Aerosol sprays, for example, can coat the needles and branches and they are very flammable. Generally speaking, just being indoors and away from their preferred food source will kill off these pests naturally.
Enjoy your holiday season and your live Christmas tree. If you do think that you have a pest problem, make sure to call the experts in all manner of pests like the ones at Ehrlich.