Christmas time is here, and Nelon-Cole wants you to have a safe and happy holiday season. Here in the Carolinas, we love to celebrate Christmas, and decorating both our homes and our lawns has become a tradition for many families. While some opt for beautiful and increasingly realistic artificial trees in their homes, many still choose the real thing. Nothing has quite the same look, feel, and smell as a real pine or fir tree (the most common Christmas tree type in the Carolinas). But for those who choose a natural tree for their homes, you may not know that you are also carrying many species of unwanted pests. Here is a look at some of the common pest types that call these trees home (before they move into YOUR home!).
Spiders love to choose evergreen trees such as pines and firs for their winter homes. The foliage can provide both protection and warmth. These benefits serve other insect species as well, giving spiders a nice winter food source. While many spider species are quite harmless to homeowners, some can give a nice bite as they feel threatened by decorating hands reaching into their territory. Look for any webbing near the tree stem and manually spread branches apart while looking for any lingering spiders that may want to hitch a ride into your home. Spiders are most commonly found in Douglas fir, white pines Fraser fir, and spruce tree types that are popular during the Christmas season.
spiders of many species love to hide in evergreen trees like firs and pines
MITES AND APHIDS
Extremely difficult to see, mites can cause premature needle drop and cause small red stains on ornaments, decorations, and even carpets as they drop off. Mites can be found in Christmas trees from top to bottom, but are most commonly found near the tips of branches. While mites are difficult to eliminate from your Christmas tree, many are removed from established tree farms that use a ‘shaker’ mechanism. This rapidly but safely ‘rattles’ the Christmas tree to both remove any unwanted pests and also remove dead foliage that can make a mess in your living room.
Aphids, like mites, can be a difficult spot due to their small size. They are generally found near the lower section of trees, and outward near the foliage tips. Though generally harmless, can leave a purple-red stain on furniture or carpets if stepped on. Both aphids and mites can bite humans, and while mostly harmless they can cause itching and a temporary rash in some cases. Make sure your tree is thoroughly shaken and that the area is vacuumed well around the tree once set. Periodic vacuuming is also recommended until and after the tree is removed after the holidays.
smaller aphids and mites are easier to spot if shaken onto a white fabric
These small, red and brown bugs are quite a bit larger than mites and aphids, but at about the size of a grain of rice, can still be difficult to spot. Mostly found on pine tree varieties, they are generally harmless to people. Bark beetles love wood and will destroy living trees that have been weakened by drought or rot. This is something to keep in mind when you are discarding your tree and be mindful not to discard near other areas of heavy tree growth on your property. If your Christmas tree is erected early, keep an eye near the bottom of the tree throughout the season; if you see sawdust droppings that are falling off you may have bark beetle activity in your tree.
bark beetles should be especially considered when disposing of your Christmas tree
One of the most unique-looking and interesting insects in the Carolinas, the praying mantis has a peaceful look that belies a savage killer instinct. But worry not, the praying mantis isn’t out to feast on the inhabitants of your home, but rather the other insect inhabitants of your Christmas tree. The carnivorous praying mantis can have eggs in your Christmas tree (a single praying mantis may lay up to 400 eggs). These eggs can hatch within weeks, which means that for those who erect their Christmas tree early in the season that happens to contain a praying mantis, you may find yourself the keeper of a praying mantis Christmas tree nursery before Christmas even arrives! While the praying mantis loves to find shelter and food in any type of winter tree, they can be easier to spot due to their size, which can be up to several inches. However, their natural color can so closely match the foliage color that you may need to do a bit of looking to find them. Shake your tree well before bringing it into your home and do a thorough visual inspection for any of these or other insects that may be making a winter home.
a single praying mantis can lay up to 400 eggs in your Christmas tree
Keeping an eye out for unwanted seasonal trespassers is due diligence for any homeowner. Shaking your tree over a white sheet will make any pests easy to see once they fall out. Keep the area around your tree thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed as mites, aphids, and beetles may fall off during the season. You can also lightly dust your tree with Diatomaceous Earth which will help to eliminate any remaining pests.
Nelon-Cole wishes you and your family a safe and happy Christmas season. We are your neighbors and your friends, and we very much value our relationship with our customers and the communities we serve. When you need quality, award-winning, and affordable pest and moisture control services, remember Nelon-Cole and give us a call. 1-888-7-TheWeb. Charlotte Pest Control - Gastonia Pest Control - Asheville Pest Control - Spartanburg Pest Control - Hendersonville Pest Control - Lincolnton Pest Control