Few things evoke the holiday season quite like a towering, brightly lit Christmas tree. It’s no wonder many retail stores put up and decorate their own trees this time of year! Unfortunately, some insects love pine trees even more than people do. If you’re thinking about putting up a tree in your store, you should also be thinking about pest control.
The last thing your business needs this time of year is a band of bark beetles caroling in the corner. Protect your property and customers by arming yourself with knowledge of the most common Christmas tree pests. Knowing the basics behind Christmas tree pest prevention will help make sure you have a happy holiday this year.
What are the most common Christmas tree pests?
The primary Christmas tree culprits include aphids, spiders, mites, and bark beetles. These pests are drawn to different varieties of trees and manifest in different ways:
Aphids are tiny, sap-sucking insects that come in a variety of colors and resemble ticks. They frequently nest on the lower branches of evergreen, pine, balsam fir, fraser fir, and spruce trees.
Spiders and mites
Spiders and mites infest douglas fir, fraser fir, white pine, and spruce trees. Watch for more needles falling than usual—it’s a telltale sign that spiders or mites are taking up residence. These pests also tend to leave behind small, reddish-brown spots on the branches.
Bark beetles are particularly fond of—you guessed it—your Christmas tree’s bark. They usually attack ponderosa, white fir, and juniper tree bark especially.
Unfortunately, bark beetles tend to tunnel into tree trunk, which makes them difficult to identify. Look for small, reddish-black, cylinder-shaped bugs. Before you buy your tree, peel back the bark in a couple places to look for tunnels.
How can I prevent or remove Christmas tree pests?
Preemptive inspection of your Christmas tree is the most important way to prevent a pest infestation. Spiders, aphids, and other pests nesting in your Christmas tree enjoy a free entry pass when you bring your tree inside. Deny them this free entry by vigorously shaking the tree before bringing it indoors. It’s simple, but undeniably effective! A good shake will knock off bugs clinging to branches and remove dead needles at the same time.
Look for the signs of aphids, spiders, mites, and bark beetles we mentioned above. Pay special attention to abnormal colors, since aphids can be all kinds of colors. Take a moment to peel back a bit of bark near the top, middle, and bottom of the tree’s trunk. The most common species of bark beetle all attack pine trees in a different fashion. Western pine beetles, for example, start mid-trunk and make spaghetti-like tunnels all over the place. Red turpentine beetles start burrowing near the bottom (and stay there). Engraver beetles tunnel near the top.
Once inside, the heat of your building will probably kill many common Christmas tree pests quickly. Look for dead bugs on the ground around the tree. As another line of defense against tree infestation, try holding some paper beneath a group of branches. Then, simply tap the branches. Spotting tagalongs is easy with this method.
What should I do if I find Christmas tree pests in my decor?
We know how important reputation management is for any commercial property owner. Tree pests may not be the most visible invaders, but they’ll put a serious damper on your holiday cheer nonetheless.
If you find any unwelcome pests in your Christmas tree, just give Assured Environments a quick call. Our experts will help protect your business or property’s reputation and set up better exclusion practices for the future. Happy holidays!