Is there anything that puts you in the holiday spirit like a fresh Christmas tree? The smell, the bright green needles in contrast with sparkling lights and decorations, the promise of time spent with loved ones… Unfortunately, your tree might bring more than excitement for the holiday – it could also be carrying thousands of insects.
Experts say there could be as many as 25,000 insects on one Christmas tree, but don’t panic! Even though you don’t want them partaking in your holiday celebrations, the majority of these festive fiends are harmless. So who could be hiding in your tree, and what can you do to prevent them from crashing the party?
Pests commonly found inside Christmas trees include spiders, mites, moths, beetles, mantises, and spotted lanternfly. The spotted lanternfly, in particular, has recently become more of a threat to Massachusetts than in previous years. This past fall, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources asked residents to report sightings of this invasive tree- and plant-killing insect in order to survey and contain infestation.
Many insects survive winter elements by entering a state of dormancy; however, if brought inside on your Christmas tree, the warmth of your home can prompt them to become active again.
What can be done to prevent this? If you’re trained to recognize webbing or egg casings, a visual inspection of the branches can be helpful; others may simply give their tree a quick shake before bringing it indoors to reduce the risk of unwanted guests. Depending on weather, some may choose to either let their tree sit outside for a couple of days before bringing it inside, or rinse the tree with a high pressure hose and let dry. Whatever your methods are, it is also wise to vacuum any debris or insects that fall from the tree while it stands in your home.
Still concerned about Christmas tree critters? Call the experts at Burgess Pest. And don’t worry about your holiday budget – an estimate with us is always free.
For even more winter pest control tips, download our free Winter Pest Guide, and find our holiday pest control checklist here!