Once the last spoonfuls of turkey and dressing are eaten from Thanksgiving dinner, most people are quick to turn Bing Crosby’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” all the way up and begin preparing for the Christmas holiday.
The scent of cookies will often be moving through your home. The comforting sweetness of warm cider will greet each visitor into your winter wonderland. And your freshly harvested Christmas tree will complete your home’s Christmas spirit.
Not only do these Christmas classics attract friends and family, they can also attract pests that are looking for a warm home to spend Christmas. So, homeowners need to know the risks of bringing these unwanted guests inside their home and how to best prevent them.
Pests Come Home With Your Tree
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 25 – 30 million real Christmas trees are bought and sold every year and Safer© Brand estimates that there could be 25,000 critters in only one tree.
Common Bugs Found in Christmas Trees
- These are soft-bodied insects that feed on sap from Christmas trees.
- Although the only venomous spiders in the Alabama area are widows and recluses, many of us still don’t particularly appreciate having to share our living space with them.
- Mites are commonly found on Douglas fir, Frasier fir, and spruces. These mites can be brown or red in color, can cause needles to fall off of the tree prematurely and can stain surrounding surfaces.
- These are found on several types of Christmas tree varieties and are about the size of a grain of rice. They can burrow holes in the trunks of trees weakening them and leaving sawdust in their trail.
How to Prevent These Insects
Before selecting the perfect tree for your home from the tree lot, make sure to look carefully for any of these critters or signs that the tree is infested in them. Often insects will leave dropping or sawdust on top of the needles of the tree.
Then, don’t immediately bring the tree into the home after you buy it. Just before bringing the tree into the house, shake it to get as many insects off as possible.
Lastly, sprinkle some diatomaceous earth over the tree to exterminate any remaining pests. Do not spray aerosol pesticides on your tree. These are flammable and if your tree has any lights or electric elements surrounding it, this can create a fire hazard.
Keep Food Put Away
During the winter holidays, food–especially sweets–are often left out on counters, tables, or as crumbs on the floor for days at a time.
Many pests, not just the insects found in Christmas trees, are attracted by foods that we typically enjoy during Christmas. So, as you and your family are feasting during the holiday season, be sure to clean up after yourselves.