Check Your Christmas Tree
With Christmas approaching, many families will be looking at buying Christmas trees to complete their Christmas decorations. Pest control for Christmas trees may be at the bottom of your Christmas list, but it’s something you need to consider.
However, while there’s much joy to be had finding and decorating your Christmas tree, there are a few key safety checks you will need to carry out. We’re specifically talking about pests that inhabit Christmas trees.
This is a problem that many people encounter every year. Checking your Christmas tree should be high on your list of priorities if you’re looking to have a pest-free Christmas.
What Pests Inhabit Christmas Trees?
As you can imagine, the most common group of pests that inhabit Christmas trees grown outside are bugs and insects. It’s not uncommon for insects to hide within Christmas trees to try and find a way into your home. Spiders are notorious for finding their way into our homes during the colder months in search of warmth.
The most common Christmas tree pests are:
Aphids – these are the tiny green insects that are commonly found among flowerbeds and vegetable patches. Fortunately, they are generally harmless Christmas tree insects.
Bark Beetles – as their name suggests, these are beetles that are known for living within the bark of trees. This makes them a common Christmas tree pest and can be hard to spot because not only are they camouflaged by the bark, but they dig and live inside the bark. They’re not likely to cause too many problems as they prefer the warmth of the bark and will likely stay in there throughout the Christmas season.
Mites – common pests that largely go unnoticed. They become active when exposed to warmer climates, but despite this, they don’t cause too many problems for people.
Psocids – these insects mainly feed on fungus and mould, and they’re commonly found within shrubbery and damp, moist areas. While they are a Christmas tree pest, it’s unlikely they will survive once your tree is inside, as they won’t be able to survive in the warmth of your home.
Woodlouse – woodlice are a common insect, they require damp areas in order to survive. Their diet consists of damp foliage and rotting wood, so unless your tree has come into contact with damp, or it’s rotting, it’s unlikely woodlice would target your Christmas tree.
Termites – known for eating away at the nutrients found in tree bark, termites can cause severe damage to Christmas trees but only in large numbers. Fortunately, they need contact with soil in order to survive, so even if they do find themselves on your tree, they won’t last for long (unless you plant your tree in soil).
Spiders – very common and probably the most noticeable due to their distinct appearance and size. It’s unlikely you will encounter any dangerous spiders on your tree, but there has been an increase in the number of false widow spiders in the UK over the last few years, so look out for these. Spiders are also known to breed rapidly, so be sure to remove them from your Christmas tree if you spot any.
Once these pests have been transported inside via your Christmas tree, some may begin to spread throughout your home. While this may not be an immediate problem for some of the pests, they can cause issues if they’re left to multiply.
Can Insects Damage Christmas Trees?
Fortunately, it would take a large amount of pests to properly damage your Christmas tree. Pests such as bark beetles, termites and woodlice are known for eating away at the nutrients found in tree bark. Again, it would take a large infestation for them to have any lasting effect on the condition of your Christmas tree.
Also Check for Christmas Pests in…
Firewood – another common mistake people make is chopping up wood, storing outside and then bringing it inside without checking for pests. If the wood has been stored somewhere damp outside (or it’s rained), this is the perfect platform for woodlice breeding. Make sure you check your firewood for woodlouse and mites.
Unpack decoration boxes outside – your decoration boxes have probably been left upstairs, or in a dark cupboard for a year, so you might want to check for bugs and pests. You’re likely to encounter pests if your decorations were stored in humid, quiet areas. So, we advise that you unpack your decorations outside, just to be on the safe side.
Are Christmas Tree Pests a Threat?
While pests that are brought in via Christmas trees can be a nuisance, it’s unlikely they’re going to cause any immediate damage to your home. Most pests on our list will not be able to survive the climate or habitat change. However, in terms of general hygiene and cleanliness, we advise you to double-check your Christmas tree, firewood and coal buckets before bringing them inside.