Bugs In The Christmas Tree◀ Back To Blog
December 15, 2015
Are you apprehensive about getting a Christmas tree because someone told you that bringing a real tree into your home will also bring bugs in? We understand. The last thing you need in your home are pests that like to live in or feed on wood, but we have good news for you—well, more specifically, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Plant Industry has good news for you. As it turns out, the bugs that are hiding inside your Christmas tree are not as bad as you thought. They're still bad, but not as bad as you thought. Here are a few of the pests you can expect to find, and what it means for you and your home.
The spiders that leave their egg sacks on Christmas trees are not the kind that are dangerous to people or pets, but they are still pretty disturbing when an egg sack filled with spiders thinks it is spring because the tree has been brought into a nice, toasty home. Most Christmas tree sellers have tree shakers that dislodge spider egg sacks before the tree is sold to you. Of course, it doesn't hurt if you give that tree a good shake, as well, before bringing it inside. Bear in mind that the spiders living on a Christmas tree are not going to be an indoor species. Thus, they will not be equipped to live in your home and should die in a relatively short period of time.
Many species of predatory mites overwinter on Christmas trees. These light-colored insects will mostly go undetected, but there is one species that is bright red and fairly large that could give you a little scare. Don't worry, although it is never enjoyable to have insects crawling around your home, these mites are not dangerous to people or animals. Giving that tree a good shake can dislodge these insects, or the bird nesting material that may contain them.
These small, winged, soft-bodied insects are often referred to as bark lice, but they share no similarities with lice. In your yard, psocids are actually beneficial creatures that prey on harmful lawn-destroying pests. In the unsuitable environment of your home, these insects will die quickly.
These aphid-like creatures that are often found on white pine will sometimes enter into a spontaneous "flocking" behavior that can cause them to get noticed by you, or someone else observing a branch on your tree, but this is okay. These creatures don't leave the tree and are completely harmless.
Sometimes, in the warm environment of your home, aphids will hatch to a large enough degree to cause alarm, but don't worry. Though these creatures can have a tick-like appearance, they won't do any harm to you or your family. Aphids on Christmas trees are host-specific which means they can only survive by feeding on certain plants. There is a good chance the plants those aphids need are not growing in your home. So, your houseplants are safe.
Other common pests that can be found on Christmas trees include: scale insects, praying mantis, and bark beetles; all of which may startle you a bit, but are of no real threat to your home or your family.
It is never fun to have bugs in your home, but take solace in the fact that the creatures that may be living on that live Christmas tree are generally harmless. They aren't equipped to feed on the things in your home, including you. Just remember to shake that tree well and don't do anything dangerous like spraying insecticide on it. Insecticide is flammable, and THAT can be a real danger.
Happy holidays from your friends at Thomas Pest Services!