Your Living Christmas Tree Could Be Crawling with Bugs
Christmas is almost here! That’s really awesome, because Christmastime is a favorite part of the year for many people. Yes, because you get to spend time with your friends and family, eat delicious food, and do other fun stuff. It’s really amazing! Well yes, everything is great until your magical wonderland gets invaded by gross, uninvited guests. And, yes, ladies and gentlemen – we’re not talking about that weird branch of the family — we’re talking about bugs.
We all know that most people don’t think bugs are an issue in the winter, but they’re definitely wrong. After all, it’s cold out, and so bugs are looking for a nice, warm place to camp. And, you should also know that these annoying tree-dwelling insects will go dormant in the cold, kind of like hibernating. However, once they’re inside your warm living room, they’ll come back to life. And, I really think that we all know that these annoying insects have a “bad” habit for turning up just about anywhere, no matter how bizarre. Note: if you have a fake tree, you probably don’t need to worry about insects too much (although it’s a good idea to check, just in case). But, ladies and gentlemen, if you prefer the piney scent of the real deal, it’s a good idea to know what to look for, and how to deal with the issue. Thousands of families buy a Christmas tree every year, and we all know that there’s something magical about having a real pine tree in your home. Yes, this tree smells nice, and it’s so pretty. But, you should be very careful. Why – well, because they’re part of nature, it also means they can double as homes for several types of insects, many of which will be dormant in the cold but will happily come to life in the warmth of your living room.
Here’s what you need to know – have you ever heard of aphids? Aphids, which are small black or brown bugs, are some of the most common offenders. And, you should also know that other insects include scale insects, bark beetles, psocids, and mites. But, what if you don’t see any bugs? Then you should be careful and keep an eye out for other signs of their presence, like feeding trails, eggs, or burrows. White blobs are a clear indication of adelgids. The tiny bugs create them when they suck the sap out of spruce needles. And if you find a tan, walnut-sized mass on one of the limbs, get rid of it. It’s a praying-mantis egg mass — and it’ll hatch!
You should also know that the types of bugs you may find will vary based on where you live, and while they’re not exactly brimming with Christmas cheer, they’re harmless — gross, but harmless.
The million-dollar question – what can you do about it?
First of all – a spot check on site can help if you live in a warmer climate. And, if one tree has a bug population, chances are, they all do. This is nature, after all. There are some allies, though. Some lady-beetle larvae love to eat Christmas-tree pests. And, in my personal opinion, the best thing you can do after purchasing a tree is to shake it. This will dislodge any stowaways. Some places even have tree-shakers on site that will do the work for you.
But, if you don’t have a tree-shaker handy, then you shouldn’t be worried, because you can do it yourself. You may need help, so make it a family tradition. Here’s what you need to do – simply stand the tree up, grab the trunk at above-shoulder height, and shake it vigorously.
And despite what you may think, strapping the tree to the roof of the car and driving home won’t shake bugs off. This is also a good way to clear your tree of bugs – just leave it in the garage for 24 hours before bringing it inside to decorate. Once you have the tree, be sure to vacuum regularly around its base. This will keep pine needles off your floor, and will also snatch up any bugs that have decided to climb off the tree and go exploring.
And, one last thing – the insects that live in pine trees need the plant to survive. Eventually, the pine tree will die, and so will they. That sounds a little grim, but it’s better than having a full-on infestation. We really hope you find this article helpful and don’t forget to share it with your friends and family. Thank you and have a good day.