Christmas. It’s the time of year for making snowmen, baking Christmas cookies, building a gingerbread house, decorating your house, caroling…
Did you know that real Christmas trees are prone to bug infestations? Most people think that because it’s winter, they’re safe from tree-dwelling creepy crawlies, but bugs don’t actually die during the cold months. Instead, they hibernate. And once they’re nice and cozy inside your home, they rear their gross heads.
Imagine waking up Christmas morning, only to have bugs crawling all over your presents! Definitely a Christmas to remember!
The most common trees known to carry bugs are spruce, fir, and pine trees. Consequently, one of the most common bugs found in these trees is Aphids. Aphids are usually a black or brown color and very small, so it’s important to inspect your tree closely. Don’t squash these bugs on your furniture, as they leave purple or red stains.
Other tree-dwelling bugs are ticks, scale insects, bark beetles, psocids, and mites. But beware! Even if you don’t see any bugs, there could still be traces of feeding trails, eggs, or burrows, all of which could lead to a mass army of bugs any second.
If you see small white ball-shaped objects on your branches, it’s likely an adelgid. These are formed when a bug sucks sap out of spruce needles and, thus, serves as evidence of an infestation. A brown mass the size of a walnut could very well be a praying mantis egg nest. Best to get rid of this one pretty quick, as they can contain up to four-hundred eggs.
Thankfully, all of these bugs don’t cause any harm, and they can vary based on where you live. Chances are if you go to the Christmas tree lot and find bugs in one tree, they all have them.
How Can You Prevent Them?
Once you purchase a tree, the first thing to do is shake it. Stand the tree upright, grab it above shoulder-length height, and shake vigorously. Some Christmas tree sites have mechanical tree-shakers that will do this for you.
Once you bring the tree home, leave it in the garage for 24 hours. Then, once it’s up, be sure to vacuum around the bottom as frequently as possible. This will eliminate any adventurous bugs.
Spray your tree with neem oil. This will kill any bugs present.
Another way to prevent any bug infestations is to go green with your Christmas tree. Try getting a Rosemary tree, for example. You can grow one indoors, or you can purchase one from your local Whole Foods. These trees have a great smell, can be decorated with ornaments, and also produce herbs for cooking.
Another option, especially for creative types, is to make a cardboard tree. Fake trees, after all, are sprayed with harmful chemicals. With cardboard, you can customize the shape and height of your tree, then add lights or decorations. They’re actually quite charming!
Check this cardboard Christmas tree out!