Tired of having a fake tree that has no distinct Christmas scent to it this year? Just first understand what else you bring in your home if you decide on a “real” tree this year such as insects like mites or spiders. Some of these may stay dormant on the tree into winter and could become active after getting warm and cozy inside your home. Although many will stay on the tree, a handful may be drawn to sources of light, including windows. What can you do about this?
The best plan is to prevent these pests into your home before they get inside. Vigorously shaking the tree before bringing it into your home will help any loose insects drop off and will also remove any loose needles. Bird nests, although considered decorative by some people, may contain bird parasites such as mites and lice. They should be removed by hand if not dislodged by shaking. Any egg masses on the trees, including those of praying mantis and Gypsy moth, should also be removed.
Do you think insect spray is a good idea on a tree? WRONG!! Aerosol insect sprays are flammable & should NOT EVER be sprayed on the tree. Any insects that collect on ceilings, walls, or windows can be eliminated with a vacuum cleaner easily without setting the house on fire. It is important to remember that these “critters” are normally found outdoors, on LIVE trees. Warm temperatures, dry air, & lack of standard food conditions typical in a clean homes will usually not allow any life beyond a few days for these insects.
Understand that a Christmas tree usually doesn’t have any of these but, one or more of the following may find its way into your home on your tree. If you’re worried about this just contact us online or call us at 850-682-5354 and have one of our technicians come out and give you a free estimate.
Occasionally, aphids will hatch from Christmas trees in sufficient numbers to cause alarm. Most aphids are tiny, inactive, and usually go unnoticed. With their brownish or blackish coloration and long legs, Cinara aphids may be mistaken for small spiders or ticks. Aphids, however, have only six legs, while spiders and ticks have eight. Also, these insects do not produce silk or webs, typical of spiders.
Several species of minute, dark brown to black beetles may be found on or near the tree. They may be boring into the trunk, creating small holes and very fine sawdust. They are not a threat to any of the furnishings or structural parts of the house because wood inside the home is too dry for these beetles to survive.
Mites can overwinter as adults and become active when exposed to warm temperatures in the home. They generally remain on the tree, where they may prey on insect and mite eggs. Most of these tiny, light-colored mites will go unnoticed. One type, however, is bright red and rather large. These predatory mites are relatives of chiggers, but in the adult state are not a threat to people or animals.
Several species of bird parasites may be found in nesting material after the birds have abandoned the nest. Although these mites are generally not present on the trees in winter, bird nests on the tree should be removed to assure that no mites are brought into the home.
Spiders are usually everywhere aren’t they? They are either overwintering species that have become active or spiderlings that have hatched after being exposed to warm temperatures. If they escape the tree you will see their typical webs in the corners of your home. Just vacuum them up if it bothers tou. Remember that these spiders are not made to live in your home and will die in a short time because of their new, unsuitable environment.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever seen alive in a Christmas tree?