Hot Topics: Don't Let an Infested Christmas Tree Bug You Out!

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If you're noticing lots of creepy crawlies on your beautifully decorated Christmas tree, you may have a bigger problem than you realize. While any real tree is susceptible to pests, most retailers will use mechanical tree shakers to remove many of these insects from your tree before you ever bring it into your home. Once in your home, the remaining critters should die off quickly due to the warmer temperatures, lower humidity, and lack of available food sources.

So, what should you do if you've decorated your tree and notice that it is still bugging out with bugs after a few days or even a week?

Original Post: Christmas Tree Bugs

norcalneil Member

We bought a real Christmas tree this year after a decade of using a fake one.

Right after we put it up we noticed more bugs around the home. It started with small spiders, then some rollypollys. Today we saw some nasty beetle-looking thing.

I noticed though that whenever I try to water the tree, we see these bugs. So, I'm assuming they're living on the tree, and when we move the branches to water it, it's disturbing them.

We shook the tree before we brought it in the home, but seems like it didn't get all the bugs out.

I know we're not supposed to spray the tree w/ insecticide due to it being flammable. However, my wife sprayed in the corners of the room yesterday, so not sure if she should have done that.

The tree has a lot of branches on the bottom. Should I cut those and it will decrease the bugs? Or, does it really matter?

Any advice on what to do?

Highlights from the Thread

PJmax Group Moderator

Interesting problem. I've never had a bug problem with any of my fresh cut trees. It must be either they way they ship them, or where they store them before getting to the retail location.

Furd Member

If it isn't a huge difficulty, I would take it back to where you bought it and try to get a different tree or a refund.

Whoever said that money doesn't grow on trees never bought a Christmas tree!

norcalneil Member

Furd - That's what we ended up doing. I guess the guy who sold it to us was suppose to shake the tree in a machine and spray some kind of plant oil on it. He never did.

They gave us a new tree and did all that stuff. So far so good. Don't see bugs.

PAbugman Forum Topic Moderator

In the future, I wouldn’t hesitate to spray a water-based insecticide on a tree if I felt it was needed. The trigger spray bottles would be water-based, meaning it is a concentrate mixed with water as opposed to how aerosols are made.

Aerosols can be water-based too. Aerosols are quite cold and still have propellants and such in them, so I still wouldn’t use them on a tree, cut or live.

You would want a spray for crawling insects as opposed to flying insects. The crawling insect spray will leave a residual while flying insect spray only kills what it directly contacts. We just put our tree up yesterday; I’ll be monitoring, though right now, three cats are the immediate concern. Tree is secured at top and bottom.

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