What’s Really Under Your Tree

‘Tis the season for fa-la-la-la-la-ing, jingling bells and rocking around the Christmas tree. Don’t let the excitement of the season distract you though. There could be up to 25,000 creepy crawlies on a single tree you bring into your home. Be on the lookout for these top 5 pests that may have stowed away on your holiday decorations.

Aphid

One of the most common holiday offenders, these small creatures ranging in color from green to black, usually position themselves on the lower boughs of trees. Although aphid eggs usually only hatch in the spring, your cozy fireplace will often expedite this process, leaving you with an unintentional infestation. If your tree’s needles are curling, yellowing or twisting, there’s a good chance aphids have claimed your holiday decor as their home.

Saw Fly

Similar to aphids, saw flies often go unnoticed until they hatch from their cocoons as a result of the temperature increase. Once born, these yellow and black wasp-lookalikes can be found feeding on spruce and pine trees in groups until your “O Christmas tree” is bare.

Spider Mite

These chigger relatives are one of the easier pests to spy on your tree. With a bright red color that leaves behind a residue on anything it touches, these pests are fairly safe to all except the tree that hosts them. You’ll know you have spiders mites by the small red stains they leave behind on ornaments and the premature needle drops they cause.

Bark Beetle

As over-winterers, beetles are similar to our aforementioned critters. The biggest difference? They’re much more aggressive. Instead of causing needles to fall like their counterparts do, these pests actually bore into the wood of your tree, creating sawdust and holes. If a heavy infestation has occurred, your tree might look as if it has been scorched by fire.

Praying Mantis

Adult mantids will be long gone by the time temperatures drop, but don’t worry, they’ll be sure to leave you a present under your tree– walnut-sized egg masses. Each mass can host up to 400 eggs, and once those eggs are introduced to heat, they’ll hatch and begin to swarm for food. Instead of waiting for an infestation, check your tree for their tan, frothy-looking eggs before moving it indoors. If you spy any warning signs, cut the host twig and leave it outdoors.

When you choose your tree, be sure to examine it and shake it thoroughly before bringing it inside. Although most of these bugs will stick to their habitat, your tree, we understand that nobody wants to find a Christmas critter in their eggnog. Whether you’re decking your halls or trimming your tree when you find these pests, contact us to send them packing.

 

 

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