Common Christmas Tree Bugs and How to Get Rid of Them

It’s the question on everyone’s minds during holiday season: Should I use a real Christmas tree or buy a fake one?

Freshly-cut evergreen trees are beautiful and make the home (and business!) smell amazing, getting everyone into the Christmas spirit. But when your customers bring a living tree inside they are also bringing in thousands of little insects that are hibernating inside the tree. To prepare for these insects, advise your customers to pre-treat tree before bringing it inside. Suggest these products:

  • Diatomaceous Earth - An insecticidal powder that uses no synthetic chemicals and leaves no scent or odors. Simply dust a tree while it's still outside and shake off excess dust before bringing it inside.
  • Neem Oil Spray - Apply this OMRI Listed® spray to target insects at every growth stage. Use it before trimming a tree or as soon as pests are discovered.

Check out our infographic below about the most common insects in Christmas trees and how to take preventative steps to de-bug Christmas trese.

Common Christmas Tree Critters

Should You Worry About Christmas Tree Bugs?

The types of bugs inhabiting a Christmas tree are mostly harmless and won’t destroy or infest a home or business.

  • Most Christmas tree insects don’t live off the tree, only in it. An indoor environment isn’t suitable to them so they will dry out and die before ever venturing out.
  • Most Christmas trees aren’t brimming with bugs. That being said, on occasion you’ll hear a Christmas horror story about praying mantis eggs that hatch or thousands of tiny black aphids invading a home.
  • Most Christmas tree farms take precautions on making sure their trees have a minimal amount of pests. Some spray pesticides on the trees, put them through a mechanical shaker and then spray the trees down to get rid of any bugs that might have been living on it.

What Bugs Live in a Real Christmas Tree?

The types of bugs living in your Christmas tree will differ depending on the type of tree and location. The major insects include: adelgids, aphids, bark beetles, mites, praying mantises, psocids, scale insects, spiders, moths, sawflies, weevils, bark lice and webworms.

How to Get Rid of Insects on Your Christmas Tree

The best way to avoid Christmas tree critters is to take these preventative actions.

  1. Inspect the tree branches and trunk for any signs of eggs or bugs. Norwegian pines are known for having the most bugs.
  2. Give the tree a good shake before bringing inside.
  3. Let the tree sit in a shed or garage for at least 24 hours before decorating. This will allow any insects to leave. During this time, spray with Safer® Brand’s End ALL ® to kill Christmas tree bugs in any stages from eggs to adults.
  4. If you notice a large number of bugs, take the tree back to the Christmas tree shop to trade it in for a new one (most shops will exchange if your tree is particularly buggy).
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