Are There Bugs in Your Christmas Tree?

admin 07 Nov, 2017

Christmas is a time for giving. It is a time for friends and family to visit and the well wishes that follow. However, few people are aware of the visit that they may be receiving from unwanted guests living in their Christmas tree.

Conifer trees are known to host their fair share of common outdoor pests. While many pests die during the winter chill, some insects will try to sustain through the winter under loose bark. Other insects will lay their eggs in Christmas trees, awaiting the thaw of the spring. This winter season has been especially warm, allowing some adult insects to remain resilient thus far. Even though many adult insects may have already succumbed to the cold weather, the warmer conditions of the indoors can mimic the change of seasons and trick insect eggs into hatching in your home.

Here is a list of some of the more common insects that may be invading your tree this Christmas and what to look for.


Overwintering Species: Yes

Egg Concern: Yes

Human Harm Index: Moderate

While not all species of spiders overwinter, a significant portion do. Egg sacks may be primed to begin to hatch when exposed to warmer indoor temperatures. As a predator of other insects, spiders may be less inclined to leave their home in a typical bug-filled tree, but if no source of insects is present to prey upon, your unwelcomed guest may be soon to wander.


Overwintering Species: No

Egg Concern: Yes

Human Harm Index: None

Aphids of many types are found on a large variety of plants throughout the warmer months. They may be mistaken for ticks at a glance, but have six legs rather than eight. While aphids eat plants and are otherwise harmless to people, their sheer numbers upon hatching will certainly not earn them a kiss under the mistletoe.


Overwintering Species: Yes

Egg Concern: Yes

Human Harm Index: Low

Different species of overwintering mites may become active soon after a Christmas tree is introduced to an indoor climate. The predatory and cannibalistic character of mites could act as a slight bit of assisted pest control unto itself. Although a relative of chiggers, few mites are of concern to humans in their adult stage. However, bird mites are parasitic and considered a vector for carrying diseases such as Lyme disease. Bird mites will usually die within two to three weeks of bird removal, but will search out a new host, possibly human, before simply succumbing to a less than plentiful holiday season.

Bark Beetles

Overwintering Species: Yes

Egg Concern: No

Human Harm Index: None

The bark beetle is a dark-colored wood-boring insect that creates small holes in the trunks of trees. Looking for these small holes and fine sawdust is an indicator of this otherwise harmless insect turning into a residential pest. Most wood-destroying insects, like termites and carpenter ants, prefer wood that has died. However, this insect prefers the moist conditions of a living tree, leaving your mother’s dining room table adorned with Christmas dinner safe from invasion.

Other Possible Christmas Tree Invaders: Adelgids, praying mantids, scale insects, and psocids.

Note: Aerosols should never be used to control a pest problem with your Christmas tree, as aerosols are flammable. While some Christmas pests invading your holiday season can be controlled with simple vacuuming, a licensed and local pest control professional is always standing by for a free pest inspection at 1-844-SEC-PEST or use our contact form.