It feels like only yesterday that we were celebrating Christmas last year, but once again the festive season has quickly thrust itself upon us!
I don’t know about you, but for me it starts to feel like Christmas not when the famous soft drink commercial starts playing on the television, but when we put up the Christmas tree in our home – there’s just something magical about seeing that tree all lit up with lights and sparkling decorations.
Unfortunately, there’s something else other than Santa Claus that you could be opening up your home to this Christmas, pests – Well, only if you, like me, enjoy having a real tree in your home during the holiday period.
Christmas tree insects
However, don’t worry though, as not all Christmas trees contain this many pests. But if you’ve freshly cut yours down (with permission) from a local forest rather than purchasing one from a Christmas tree farm shop, then your new festive edition could be more prone to pests inhabiting it.
If you’ve read some of our other blogs you’ll know that insects are more of a summer pest, so why are they in our Christmas trees?
Well, it’s because they are hibernating for the winter.
It’s actually the heat from our warm homes that wakes them up. This confuses them a bit, as they can start to think that it’s already spring and, if you pardon the pun, spring back to life!
Common Christmas tree pests
There are a range of different pests and insects that can squat in your Christmas tree during the winter months and this can vary depending on which type of tree you have.
Other factors, such as where you live in the world, can also determine which pests might be living in your Christmas tree as well.
However, there are a handful of common Christmas tree pests that could potentially be dwelling in your festive decoration such as:
Aphids are small insects which love to feast on sap – hence why they can be found on your Christmas tree.
Aphids can be a nuisance, particularly in your garden, by causing damages to a range of plants and flowers due to their feeding habits.
Spiders can sometimes be found nesting in Christmas trees. If you think about it though, it’s a pretty good idea considering how many insects inhabit them. It’s like a free buffet for them!
Interestingly, did you know that Eastern European folklore explains that the origins of tinsel on Christmas trees came from spider webs?
Bark beetles consist of around 6,000 different species of beetle. Each species has it’s own favourite type of tree or plant to infest.
Generally speaking, bark beetles only feed on dead and decaying trees. However, in some instances, they have been known to attack and kill healthy living trees.
Mites are closely related to ticks and are mostly a pest of plants and animals with very few affecting humans.
In some cases, depending on the species, the skin and faeces that mites shed can cause allergic reactions in humans.
What’s interesting about moths is that it’s actually their larvae which are the pests. Their feeding habits can cause a range of damage to your beautiful Christmas tree by feeding on the needles (this does depend on the species though).
How to prevent Christmas tree pests
I know all this talk about pests in Christmas trees might have you a bit worried but the majority of the time the insects which could be on your tree are nothing to worry about. They mostly just live in the tree, not off it. To add to this, due to the lack of food in your home they will quickly dry out and die.
However, if you are concerned about inviting some unwanted pests into your home this Christmas then there are a few suggestions that you could follow:
Christmas tree pest prevention tips
- Before buying your Christmas tree, thoroughly inspect it for pests and other insects by checking leaves, needles, branches and even the trunk.
- Give the tree a good shake (not too roughly though) to help remove any pests that might be living within the branches.
- Wipe down the tree with a cloth to help remove any eggs and stubborn insects.
- As an extra precaution, place your Christmas tree from any other indoor plants to deny any potential pests of a tasty treat.
Hopefully, your Christmas and Christmas Tree stays pest-free and from all of us here at Rentokil we wish you a very happy festive season!