Your Christmas tree can be susceptible to a variety of pests. These pests are often dormant in cold weather or their eggs are present. When the tree is brought indoors to a warm environment, these dormant insects become active, and the eggs start hatching. This can lead to a nuisance as these insects are seen crawling on the tree and the presents underneath.
Most of these pests are small and may only become visible when present in large numbers. Aphids are a common issue with evergreen trees, and the warmth indoors can trigger the hatching of overwintering aphid eggs. Cinara aphids, which are large brown or almost black aphids, may appear on your tree but rest assured, they do not bite or spread diseases and won’t harm your houseplants.
In some cases, your tree may contain adelgids, which produce cottony secretions over their bodies, giving your tree a festive snowy appearance. Spider mites may also inhabit Christmas trees, appearing as tiny red and brown dots. They produce fine webbing and may create small red stains on carpets, ornaments, or furnishings. However, these mites only feed on the tree and die quickly after the tree is cut.
Larger Christmas tree insects include beetles and praying mantids. Adult mantids will have left due to the cold, but mantid egg cases can hatch when exposed to the warmth of your home. This might result in hundreds of tiny mantids wandering in search of food. Additionally, Christmas trees often harbor non-threatening species of spiders.
The good news is that none of these insects or spiders that emerge from your tree will cause harm or damage to your tree, home, furnishings, or occupants! They cannot bite or sting and will not live long enough to grow or multiply. The low sap levels in the tree provide an inadequate food supply for sap-sucking insects, leading to their demise due to starvation or drying out. Similarly, spiders will not find enough food for growth and development, so they will briefly wander before expiring. You can easily remove both live and dead insects with a vacuum cleaner.
It’s essential to avoid spraying Christmas trees with pesticides, as this may do more harm than the insects themselves. To minimize the risk of pests, always shake your tree before bringing it indoors. In case of an aphid infestation, you can turn off the lights and spray soapy water on the tree to kill them, ensuring it’s completely dry before turning the lights back on. Never use aerosol bug sprays on the tree as they are highly flammable.