The holidays are filled with age-old family traditions that help define the magic of the season for us each year. Filling up a corner of your home with an impressive pine brought in from the outside world and decorated to mark the season is an exciting time. If you are one of those families that staunchly agree that a real tree is the only kind of tree to celebrate the season, then there are some aspects that you need to prepare for.
Families during the holidays aren't the only ones that love a real Christmas tree. Insects that make their home in your special pine all year long will be even more likely to burrow in and hide away during the cold winter season. Not every tree is bound to be full of bugs, but up to 25,000 bugs can live in a single pine tree that looks healthy at the time.
The Common Pests in a Christmas Tree
Bugs that often live in evergreen trees can easily go unnoticed for a while. They go dormant during the colder months of the year but will be tricked into thinking it is spring when they are brought into your cozy interior. Potential bugs that could have taken up residence in your Christmas tree include:
• Bark beetles
• Bark lice
• Praying mantis
• Scale insects
• Spider mites
This isn't an exhaustive list either, although these are some of the more common culprits. Shake your tree a bit to spur them into movement. Since you don't want it to lose all of its precious needles, though, don't be too rough. If you think you have found the perfect tree, inspect it further to look for any sign of eggs, scales on the branches or needles, or obvious bugs. Be especially vigilant if you have selected a Norwegian pine.
How to Get Rid of Bugs in Your Christmas Tree
It is best to take preventative action with your tree before you find yourself "infested" instead of "festive." Curb your excitement and keep your tree in your garage where it will be warmer than the outdoors. Keep it there for a full day before bringing it in. After this, inspect it carefully once more. If you have any concerns or prefer to be extra safe, spray it with neem oil at the beginning of its quarantine period.
Suppose you notice bugs crawling out of the woodwork at this point. Most Christmas tree lots will allow you to exchange an especially buggy tree for another one. If you have concerns, check with them before making the purchase.
Once you bring the Christmas tree inside and begin to decorate it, and then you notice the bugs crawling out, you can use your vacuum to suck as many as possible out from the bark and branches. Empty the bag, tie it, and take it immediately outside. You can also treat the tree with diatomaceous earth, an organic substance that will kill most insects within 48 hours.
If you ever find yourself overwhelmed by the bugs that weren't welcome at this year's celebration, give professionals a call. At Thomas Pest Control, we are ready to expertly and safely take care of your holiday invasions without interrupting the party.