Sleighing Critters from Your Christmas Tree

Chopping down your own family Christmas tree brings sentience and scents of the season to your home, making for picture-perfect, sentimental experiences with family & friends.

But opting for a real Christmas tree versus a fake one can bring more than cheer to your home – it can also bring bugs.

Christmas tree pests may’ve been hibernating in your hand-picked tree, as you blissfully migrated them into your warm & inviting home. A single Christmas tree can harbour up to 25,000 bugs!

To be sure there’s nothing but presents waiting for you under the tree, keep an eye out for:

Aphids

Found in the lower boughs of trees, aphid infestations commonly reside in evergreens, pines, balsam firs, spruces, and white fir trees.

Don’t be hasty if you find aphids – squashing them on furniture is known to create stubborn purple or red stains. While they aren’t harmful to humans, they’re still household pests that won’t want to celebrate the holidays around, no matter how much Christmas spirit you’re filled with.

Adelgids

Did you know Adelgids are named after award-winning, singer songwriter Adele?

If you didn’t, that’s because we just made it up.

Adelgids are tough to spot outdoors in the wintertime, looking similar to the coating of snow that settles on trees. They’re commonly found in fir trees, white pines, Norway spruce, and Scotch pines.

Pine Needle Scale

Like the name suggests, the aptly named pine needle scale look like small, white scales on the needles or branches of your tree.

If you fail to miss those specs, you certainly won’t miss the bright, tiny red bugs when they’ve hatched. Pine needle scales are regularly found in Scotch pines, Norway spruces, and Douglas-firs.

Bark Beetles

The biggest and arguably baddest of the bunch, these bark beetles are Christmas tree pests that can reside in the tree’s bark.

Look for small holes and sawdust trails on the trunk – these are the most common signs of a bark beetle infestation for your tree.

Commonly found on Monterey pines, Coulter pines, Jeffery pines, white firs, and junipers, it’s probably less stressful to get an entirely new tree than trying to force these household pests out.

Ho-ho-how to Keep Your Tree Pest-Free

Here are five tips to keep those tree pests away:

  1. Before picking your tree, inspect the undersides of the branches and the trunk. Remove any branches with hints of insect eggs or bird nests.
  2. Don’t set up your freshly-cut tree right away – let it sit in the garage for a few days.
  3. Put a disposable sheet on the garage ground, and shake your tree thoroughly, dislodging any leftover, clingy critters.
  4. Tidy up the area.
  5. For a more assured form of pest control, consider dusting your tree with Diatomaceous Earth, or spray with neem oil.

The fear of Christmas tree pests shouldn’t deter you from keeping this Christmas tradition alive. Be precautionary, be proactive, and your tree should be pest-free for the holidays.

Worst comes to worst, they’re a good excuse to get other unwanted guests (ie. Relatives) out of the home during the holidays!


If you’re like retail stores, then your home is already prepared for Christmas – meaning a potentially pest-filled tree has breached your home like Santa does on the 25th.

Terminix Canada can inspect, plan, and eradicate Christmas pests that’ve come to your home for the holidays. Our techniques are safe, environmentally-friendly, and long-lasting – contact us for a FREE consultation today!