Christmas is one of the most magical times of the year – a time for appreciating friends and family, giving and receiving gifts, eating great food and making priceless memories.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a Christmas tree.
Coming in all types and sizes, each year we put up our Christmas tree and decorate it with tinsel, baubles, lights and all sorts of other festive decorations. However, sometimes we end up with more decoration on our Christmas trees than we’d hoped for, in the form of wriggling, crawling critters that seek to spoil the holiday spirit.
No one likes bugs in their homes at the best of times, so it’s no wonder that – at one of the most special times of the year – you want these critters gone from your Christmas tree.
Why are there bugs on my Christmas tree?
If you choose a real Christmas tree – usually a fir or spruce tree – then, naturally, they’re likely to be carrying a bug or two, as they provide shelter for bugs in the wild.
More than this, particular types of bugs – aphids – feed on the leaves of plants, so trees provide an excellent source of food, not only to aphids, but to other bugs who target the herbivorous insects, or their eggs, as their prey.
So, it’s fairly likely that your Christmas tree will bring a few unwanted guests into your home.
What kind of bugs can you find on your tree?
There are a number of different types of bugs that you can find on your Christmas tree.
Some of the most common include aphids – as already mentioned, who feed on the leaves of trees – and adelgids, which leave a cottony-looking wax in their wake, coating the pines of Christmas trees with their white secretions.
Another common inhabitant of Christmas trees include Christmas tree mites, which are tiny spider-like creatures with a fat body and spindly legs. Though they’re harmless, they can cause the pines of your Christmas tree to drop prematurely – and, let’s face it, they’re a little gross.
Bark beetles and bark lice are also commonly drawn to the bark of Christmas trees, whose wood is their source of food.
How do you get rid of bugs on your Christmas tree?
Before taking a Christmas tree into your home, you should give it a good shake outdoors to dislodge as many insects as possible from the plant, so that you don’t bring them into the house.
If, however, you’ve already put up your tree in your living room before you notice any bugs, then there are a number of ways you can make sure that your Christmas stays bug free.
If you’re intent on getting rid of aphids from your Christmas tree, in addition to mites, beetles, lice and adelgids, all of whom can be found wandering the plant, then there are a few solutions.
For aphids and adelgids, spraying water on the affected parts of the plant can help to tease them off the surface of the leaves, allowing you to more easily remove them.
You might then be able to remove all the bugs from your tree with a vacuum, which will suck the critters – and hopefully any eggs – off your Christmas tree so you can enjoy the festive period without the intrusion of any creepy crawlies.
If, however, you want to take a more comprehensive approach to eliminate the bugs on your Christmas tree, then diatomaceous earth is a good option to use inside your home. In contrast to insecticide, diatomaceous earth doesn’t leave a chemical smell and is safe to use around pets and children, yet is deadly to bugs such as mites, lice, bed bugs, fleas, and more.
How do I keep bugs off my Christmas tree?
As long as you thoroughly de-bug your Christmas tree from the outset, your Christmas tree is unlikely to become infested with bugs a second time, unless you have a separate bug problem in your home – in which case, the bugs may be drawn to the tree by the prospect of shelter and as a possible source of food. Yes it is winter but pests can still abound. Learn more about the importance of winter pest control here.
Moreover, the dry indoor air coupled with the scarcity of food sources indoors will be a further deterrent to bugs, so if you miss a few bugs on your first bug-busting attempt, then rest assured that they’ll be fairly likely to die off by themselves.
So, if you want to embellish your home with an authentic Christmas staple, by opting to put up a real Christmas tree in your home, then make sure to follow the above steps to keep your holiday season – and your Christmas tree – bug free.