A live Christmas tree is one of the best parts of the Christmas season. The sweet smell permeates the house and lifelong memories are made while decorating its branches. However, this Christmas tradition can have a downside, namely, pests. Many homeowners forget that a live tree is still a tree, even after it has been removed from the forest. The smell doesn’t exclusively appeal to humans. All sorts of bugs are drawn to the pine needles of your humble Christmas tree.
Unfortunately, the added decorations do not deter unwanted inhabitants. Christmas tree lights tend to radiate heat. This means that not only is the tree dry and safe indoors, it is also much warmer than outside. This combination of circumstances means that Christmas trees are the perfect draw for pests trying to find shelter.
Pests Drawn To Christmas Trees
There is a fairly specific set of creatures drawn to Christmas trees. Primarily small bugs that need warm, dry climates to function. Thank you to Good Housekeeping for this information.
Oftentimes brown, but sometimes red, these little bugs are drawn to tree sap. They particularly like Douglas fir, white pine, Fraser fir, and spruce trees.
Aphids destroy any plant they climb on, so homeowners with indoor plants should be extra careful of these. They love the lower branches of evergreen, pine, balsam fir, spruce, Fraser fir, and white fir trees.
Adelgids stick white masses to the branches that will kill your tree quicker than almost anything else. These masses suck the sap, and therefore the moisture, out of trees. Their favorites include fir trees, white pine, Norway spruce, and Scotch pine.
Scale insects have hard exoskeletons that are brown or reddish orange. They also feed on the tree’s sap. They are drawn to Scotch pine, Norway spruce, and Douglas fir trees.
Bark beetles, as their name suggests, bury themselves into the trunks of certain trees. Their favorite flavors consist of Monterey pines, ponderosa, Coulter pines, Jeffery pine, white fir, and juniper trees.
How To Prevent Them
Shake The Tree
Simply shaking your live tree before it goes into your home does a lot. Many lots have mechanical shakers that shake off bugs, eggs, and loose needles. However, it is always good to double check it. The simplest way to shake the tree is by lifting the trunk four to six inches off the ground and letting it thump down. Not only does this action shake loose any critters hanging on, it also opens the branches back up after being wrapped.
Prepare your Vacuum & Mop
Nobody wants pine needles being tracked throughout their home, or pests for that matter. The best way to prevent either one is by vacuuming or mopping up anything that falls out from the tree. This is especially important once there are presents under there. Nobody wants a buggy surprise on Christmas morning. The ideal way to prevent this is schedule a time everyday (mornings work best) and make sure the chore is completed daily.