Here's a scenario no one asked for: you're wrapping presents and placing them under the Christmas tree, and suddenly you discover that there’s a surprise for you in the tree.
Those who enjoy having a live tree for the season don’t often expect bugs to be an issue, simply because bugs are less visible in the winter. However, live foliage always brings a chance of insects living within it. The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program cites that “pine trees are susceptible to damage by over 20 different kinds of insects”, which means it’s not impossible for pests to be overwintering in or feeding off of your tree.
The good news is that insects that prefer to live off pine tend to have low survival rates indoors because the air is usually too warm and too dry.
Shake Your Tree
Most Christmas tree lots and farms have mechanical tree shakers – don’t pass up the opportunity to give your tree a good shake before tying it to the roof of your car. This will not only get rid of loose pine needles, it will also dislodge pests lingering on the surface of the tree. Once you get the tree, give it a day or two to rest before decorating. Before you start decorating, do a final inspection with a flashlight and final shake. The warmer temperatures inside your home could disrupt the diapause of insects nestled in the tree, causing them to stir and be more visible.
Avoid Aerosol Pesticides
It seems like a logical next step but, please, don’t mist your tree with aerosol pesticides. These sprays are highly flammable, and most label instructions will advise against using them indoors.
Vacuum Up More Than Pine Needles
Some insects can stain upholstery or carpets if they are squished. If insect gremlins do sneak inside via your tree, it’s best to just vacuum them up. If you unwrap a large infestation that is too difficult to handle, simply remove the tree altogether. If you have to resort to purchasing a backup tree, vacuum the area in which the tree will sit, and check your ornaments before you hang them.
Avoiding pests is a year-round job. Contact your local Squad to renew your mosquito and tick control packages today!