Christmas Tree BugsThis Christmas, before you deck any halls, consider taking four easy steps to keep from bringing bugs into your house via your Christmas tree. Maybe if Scrooge had followed these steps, he would not have said “Bah Humbug” so much. The fact is, your Christmas tree can be home to thousands of bugs, including aphids, bark beetles, and praying mantises.

The real reason Scrooge said Bah Humbug was because of Christmas tree bugs

Most of the insects will die before you are ever aware of them. But as Scrooge said, “Bah Bugs” (he said that, too). It’s better to be safe than sorry. After all, aphids leave stains when you squish them and praying mantises can deposit hundreds of eggs that hatch several weeks after being indoors. It makes you itchy just thinking about it.

  1. Shake, possibly rattle, and roll your Christmas tree

After you purchase or chop down your tree, and before you bring it in the house, give it a good shake. Many places that sell Christmas trees have a “tree shaker” that encourages bugs to leave at a very high rate of speed. Otherwise, you’ll have to do the shaking yourself. Find an open space, grab the tree from the top and shake, shake, shake. You can rattle and roll too, but those steps aren’t necessary to remove bugs.

  1. Store your tree outside for a couple days, or take it swimming

Once you have shaken things up (and possibly rattled and rolled), put your tree in the garage or somewhere else outside for a couple of days. This will encourage any creepy crawlers to find new digs. While you’re letting your tree air out, keep it in water so it doesn’t dry out. If you have a swimming pool, even better. Place your tree on the steps of your pool. Not only will this ultra-hydrate the tree, it will send any bugs packing.

  1. Spray the branches with neem oil

If you are still worried about bugs, spray the branches with neem oil. This natural pesticide found in the seeds of the neem tree has been used for hundreds of years to control pests and diseases. Do not use a chemical bug spray on your Christmas tree. Most of those are highly flammable, which is not a safe combination with pine needles and hot lights.

  1. Vacuum around your Christmas tree

When you are ready to bring your tree in the house, keep your vacuum handy. Even after your tree is all decorated, you’ll want to make regular sweeps around the tree. If any bugs have stubbornly held their own, vacuum them up with all the pine needles that fall.

Don’t worry too much, these bugs do not consider you a good infestment

Finally, don’t worry too much. None of the bugs that call Christmas trees home sweet home pose any danger. Most of them only like to eat what they can find on pine trees, so there is very little risk they will invade your other house plants. Also, any praying mantis eggs that hatch produce baby praying mantises that are starving. These little creatures are so hungry, they will eat each other if they can’t find other food. They kind of take care the problem themselves, even if the thought of it is more akin to “The Nightmare Before Christmas” vs. “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

If you have any questions about how to de-bug your tree or which products are safe and effective, please feel free to contact us at any of the five Bug & Weed Marts locations. We promise not to greet you with Bah Humbug.

5 Comments

  1. Akshay Sharma April 26, 2018 at 5:02 am - Reply

    Interesting blog, good information given about the importance to get rid of Christmas tree bugs. Thanks for sharing the blog with us.

  2. Jessica November 23, 2018 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    My tree is in my home and I have bugs galore. Little mini flying bugs and green spiders that are so tiny and Blendon. What can I do to spray my tree considering the fact that it’s already in my home

    • J. LaBrie November 24, 2018 at 2:31 am - Reply

      Hi Jessica, sorry to hear about those bugs!

      We have a few different items that come to mind that can help you, and we open Monday following this Holiday weekend. What store are you closest to?

      Yes, there are sprays that you can spray directly onto the tree. There are also aerosol sprays that might be even better, faster, with even less chemical. No matter what we can come up with a safe, effective solution.

      Hope that helps? Call any store Monday, we’ll happily assist.

      Cheers, Joe-Mgr
      Phx Store

  3. Carol December 13, 2018 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    Please help!!! We cut down a Douglasfir and there must have been several pregnant spiders on it… It’s been up and decorated for two weeks and for the last three days I’ve been swapping teeny tiny spiders and tons of cobwebs in my living room! What can I do?? It’s already decorated and up! I need help! I live in Virginia…

    • J. LaBrie December 17, 2018 at 3:56 pm - Reply

      Very sorry for the late reply/tech issues so just now seeing this.

      Quick Answer? Use a pyrethrin spray. Either one that is pre-mixed/ready-t0-spray, or by combining a pyrethrin concentrate with water and then spraying. These won’t hurt the tree, you, your pets, but they act quickly against those and many other insects.

      Give one of our stores a call, and our Phx store can ship to your home. 602-265-0046.

      Hope this helps?

      Thx, Joe-Mesa Store

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