It’s the most wonderful time of year – for uninvited guests, that is. Unfortunately, we aren’t talking about the two-legged kind. The month of December is one of the easiest times of the year for pests to creep into your home without your knowledge.
As the temperature drops in December, most of us fill our homes with Christmas cheer followed by the most important holiday decoration of all, our Christmas tree. As you rejoice in the smell of fresh pine that fills your living room after bringing home your tree, the last thing you’re thinking about is the collection of critters that might have traveled back with you in your new Fraiser Fir.
If your Christmas tree happens to be your favorite piece of holiday decor, here’s the type of pests you should look out for and how to protect your home from new unwanted houseguests:
Types of Bugs Commonly Found in Christmas Trees:
A small insect (⅛ inch long) that thrives on sap from trees, especially those found in homes around Christmas time. These pests can transmit plant diseases, that will end up killing your plants and trees. They are usually found on lower boughs of trees such as Evergreen, Pine, Balsam Fir, Spruce, Fraser Fir and White Fir. Aphids feed in large clusters and eventually grow wings as they enter adulthood. As they feed, this pest secretes honeydew, which can easily attract ants and other critters to your home.
Spruce Spider Mites:
If you can spot tiny red and brown dots on your tree, you could have Spruce Spider Mites thriving off of your Christmas decor. These critters are usually found on Douglas Fir, White Pine and Spruce trees. These pests can become a nuisance when they cause premature needle drop and create small red stains on carpet and ornaments.
These critters are very similar Aphids, as they also love to feed on the sap of Fir and White Pine trees. Entire forests have been knocked off the map by Adelgids and they certainly aren’t a pest you want in your home, as they also secrete honeydew and can attract ants into your home.
Pine Needle Scale:
This pest is an armored scale that can be found on Scotch Pine, Norway Spruce and Douglas-Fir trees. Pine Needle Scales look like oyster-shell white blisters on needles and can eventually kill the entire tree. Signs of an infected tree are yellow tinted leaves or needles, excessive needle shedding and a silvery tint from a distance.
This type of pest has been around for about 250 million years and look like wasps or yellow flies. Sawflies feed in large groups, which enables them to quickly deconstruct trees and plants. These insects are usually found on Spruce and Pine Trees.
The traditional Bark Beetle is the size of a grain of rice and can be found on Monterey Pines, Ponderosa, Coulter Pines, Jeffrey Pine, White Fir and Junipers. Damage usually starts on the surface of bark as the insect makes its’ way inside. In heavily infested Pine trees, you will begin to notice the leaves change to a reddish-brown color.
Steps to Prevent Bringing Unwanted Pests Into Your Home:
- Leave your tree in the garage for a few days to air out.
- While your tree is still in the garage, take this time to fully examine tree. Look for weak needles, brown tint and bark that seems to be destroyed.
- Before bringing your tree inside, shake it thoroughly.
- Dust tree with Neem Oil to kill any bugs that could still be on your tree.
No one wants a pest problem over the holidays. If you sense that you have a pest problem on your hands from insects within your Christmas Tree, call Palmetto Exterminators to come take a look and come up with the best solution for your pest infestation.