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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Stoddard

Bugs On Christmas Trees And How to Get Rid of Them!

These pests, ranging from aphids to spiders, are likely to make a home in your tree.

While looking to enjoy the holiday season, nothing beats selecting out a freshly cut Christmas tree. However, that tree may bring with it a swarm of nasty little pests eager to enjoy the pleasures of your warm home.

You will want to do everything to buy a bug-free tree, so they do not stay in your house past December. But, specifically, what kind of bugs are you looking for? And what is the best way to get rid of these pests? You will learn everything needed to know about Christmas tree bugs, including where they like to gather and how to get rid of them properly.

Which Christmas tree pests are the most common?

According to Jonathan Stoddard, ACE., an entomologist and CEO of Imperial Pest Prevention, various pests could be residing in your Christmas tree. Take note of some of the most commonly known to be aware of:

These creatures enjoy sucking the sap from your tree. They resemble ticks in appearance, but they have six legs and are only a few millimeters long. Aphids are usually black or brown (but can sometimes be red or green), and some might have wings.

These insects are small, yet the wool-like wax they generate can make your tree look covered in a light coating of snow. They can be seen mainly around the buds, candles, or needle bases of Christmas trees. The insects beneath the surface might be either yellow or purple in appearance.

Scale insect eggs appear on your tree's needles as tiny white specks, almost as if they are droplets of white paint. These contaminated needles frequently fall off early. Small red bugs will hatch if they are allowed to reproduce.


"Spiders are predatory feeders, so they look for insects residing on the tree," Stoddard explains. It is also worth noting that if you see a bird's nest in a tree you like, move on. Mites and other parasites may be present.

Their color ranges from red to brown to black, and they are roughly the size of a grain of rice. They prefer stressed trees to feed on; therefore, it is conceivable they invaded before the tree was cut down. The fact that bark beetles prefer wet wood means that they offer no damage to the structures within your home, such as your furniture.

They are also known as bark lice or booklice, and they are small, winged insects that feed on mold or fungi that may be growing on your tree. They are usually dark or gray in appearance and die quickly in low-humidity environments like residences. They are not like ordinary lice in that they do not bite or feed on humans, despite their name.

According to Stoddard, praying mantises may also be found in your tree in some parts of the country. Their egg casings, which are big and brown in appearance, may even be seen adhering to the branches. In this scenario, you should move that portion of the branch outside to prevent it from hatching inside.

In Christmas trees, where do bugs like to hang out?

The bug determines it. "Aphids and scale insects are sap-feeding insects that can be seen on the tree's trunk, branches, and wooden portions. "You will also find bark beetles and psocids here," Stoddard explains.

Adelgids prefer to live on the tree's branches or green sections. They can produce eggs that are "white and sac-like, with wispy webbing surrounding them," according to Stoddard, who adds that "you will notice them quite easily against the green of the tree limbs."

Spiders, on the other hand, will appear wherever on your tree. "They could be lurking on the tree's trunk or within its boughs," Stoddard speculates.

Should you be concerned if bugs are discovered in your Christmas tree?

While it is unpleasant and inconvenient, these bugs are unlikely to cause damage or hurt you. "If you notice pests on your Christmas tree, do not be alarmed," Stoddard urges. Because most of these bugs prefer to feed on plants, they will not pose too much of a threat. According to Stoddard, some spiders can bite, so it is good to use gloves when touching your tree and setting it up inside.

Bring the tree inside to a warm space if there is an egg mass on it in some situations. Locating the tree indoors will help to expedite the eggs' development and the babies' hatching. "That could cause some concern if hundreds of tiny insects pop up around your tree," Stoddard explains. "However, these instances are uncommon."

How to safely get rid of Christmas tree pests?

Using your vacuum is the most acceptable option. "Just vacuum up the insect and then dump the canister or replace the vacuum cleaner bag," Stoddard advises. "Place the contents of the trash bag into a larger garbage bag, seal it, and transport it to a trash can or dumpster outside of the structure."

You should never apply an over-the-counter insecticide on or around your Christmas tree. "Many can catch fire, and the heat from Christmas tree lights could be enough to start a fire," Stoddard cautions.

According to some publications, diatomaceous earth, a powder that kills insects by drying them out, should be used for treating the tree. "It would kill insects which come into contact with it and are exposed to enough of it," Stoddard adds, "but it takes a long time to function." Furthermore, he points out that the average homeowner may over-apply the substance, resulting in "unnecessary exposure to it by its occupants." You do not want your dogs or animals to get it on or in them if they eat it or play with trees."

Suppose the infestation becomes too huge for you to tackle on your own, immediately eliminate the tree from your home. In that case, the ideal option may be to replace it with a new or artificial one.

How to Keep Christmas Tree Bugs at Bay

When buying a tree, Stoddard suggests following these steps:

  1. Examine the tree. "A powerful flashlight is always a good idea when selecting your tree," Stoddard advises. "Shine the tree's trunk light at various spots and search for insects or eggs." If you see them, go over to a different tree.

  2. Give your tree a good shake. Many locations will have a motorized tree shaker accessible, but if one is not available, Stoddard recommends shaking your tree "vigorously" before putting it into your car or residence.

  3. Inspect it once more. Before you bring the new Christmas tree into your home, it is best to double-check everything.

Again, do not alarm yourself if you see an insect or two in your tree. However, implementing a few preventative actions can go a long way toward keeping pests away from your home.


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