Christmas Tree Pests

Christmas Tree Critters

Yule Tide Selection

Tis the time of year to bring forth the focal point of most home’s Christmas Décor, the Christmas Tree.  The heritage that Christmas Trees bring to every family household dates back to as early as 1510 in Latvia.  Just the memories of the Christmas Tree Lots or Farms conjure up precious memories for young and old.  Just the smell of the a freshly cut Christmas Tree in a home conjures recollections from the past.

It has only been in recent decades that the debatable Artificial Christmas Trees first started making their debut.  At the time, many shunned the purchase of "Fake Christmas Trees".  Over the years the popularity improved, as did the designs and overall looks.  Some looked very real.

Agreed the enjoyable things about Artificial Trees are less clean up and far less concern for those pesky bugs or critters than can come inside with a freshly harvested live tree.  Some are enthralled with the Tinsel Trees and Imitation Flocked Trees.  But when all is said and done, the Live Christmas Tree embodies the spirit of the season possibly best.

25-30 Million Christmas Trees are purchased annually out of the over 300 million trees on tree farms throughout the United States.  Truly a sensible, sustainable and ecological program.

Environmentally, nothing compares to the harvested live tree for providing habitat for local wildlife, not to mention the actual clean air filtration the Tree Farms supply.  Central and West Central Illinois have several Christmas Tree Farms available for the family’s selection.

         Fraser Fir Pictured
     America’s Most Popular

Which Christmas Tree to Choose
Deciding on the appropriate Christmas Tree for a home or business can be a tumultuous task.  Not too tall. Not too short. Bulky or slender?  Flocked or Natural?  So many decisions.  Plus, that does not include the illumination, garland, ornaments and tinsel dressing. 

Here is a link to the Michigan State University Extension Site to assist you in understanding the pros and cons of Christmas Tree Varieties for selection.  As mentioned, presently the Fraser Fir is America’s Favorite Christmas Tree Variety.  Check Out MSUs info on your Christmas Tree of Choice courtesy of the MSU Extension.  Michigan produces over 1 million trees annually.

  • Fraser Fir
  • Scots Pine
  • Douglas Fir
  • Blue Spruce
  • Black Hills Spruce
  • White Pine
  • Balsam Fir
  • Concolor Fir
  • Korean Fir
  • Canaan Fir

Michigan State University on Choosing the Right Christmas Tree

 Prior to the Christmas Tree purchase.

Food for thought.  All agree that your tree purchase should be as fresh as possible.  Check the needles and how moist or dry the tree seems.  Here are some quick checkpoints to ask.

  1. Tree Date of Harvest 
  2. Has Tree Been Treated with Pesticides – Allergy Sensitive – Eco-Friendly Products Only
  3. Has Tree Been Treated with Fire Retardant – The Less Flamable the Better – Allergies Considered
  4. Will they Shake and Bag Tree for you
  5. Will they load and properly tie down your tree purchase

   Grady’s Christmas Tree Farm
     Located East of Canton

Christmas Tree purchasing actually will be quite easy and simple if the Tree Farm and Tree Lot is well established and considers the needs of its patrons.  The recommended check list is not only for the protection of the family but also the safety of any coming into contact that might have allergies.  Be sure to read our comments and others on Proper Christmas Tree Care.

As a short reminder, be prepared for the elements when venturing out to find that precious family Christmas Tree.  It can be a bit chilly out on the farm in the country.  Boots required?

 Proper Christmas Tree Preparation

The first line of defense from bringing the chosen tree and its ‘critters’ into your humble abode is a good shaking.  Normally most Tree Farms and Tree Lots do a last-minute shake by machine or by hand to rid the tree of excess needles and bugs.  A good shaking normally will rid the tree of eggs from bugs and from bugs themselves.  Seldom does the occasional squirrel hang around after a solid shaking.  Although the "SQUIRREL Scene" in Christmas Vacation can occur, rest assured your odds are somewhere around 1 in 100,000 trees will provide such furry company.

Hopefully the final tree netting at the Tree Farm or lot and the ride home on top of the chosen method of transportation will also blow excess needles and unwanted bugs from the tree.

Upon arriving home, many experts suggest letting the tree rest in the garage overnight to acclimate the tree to its new surroundings.  It also always for the extra free loaders to fall off and walk away.  Remember, in most climates, you are taking a tree from cold conditions into a warm and toasty home.  The perfect place for things to hatch or awaken. 

Note that this is the time to also prepare the tree for the journey into your home.

  • One more shake to rid final excess needles and bugs
  • Cutting the trunk end of the tree for proper level and height & moisture allowance
  • Trimming branches for shaping or allowing for tree skirt
  • Attaching the Christmas Tree Base or Stand
  • Wrapping the Christmas Tree in a Tree Blanket or Sheet for the journey inside

How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Fresh Longer
A Guide from Popular Mechanics on Proven Methods

Popular Mechanics offers some very tried and true tips to ensure your fresh Christmas Tree lasts for a long period of time.  Especially pay attention to watering your tree on a frequent basis.  Providing adequate moisture is imperative in sustaining your trees interior presence.

A moist tree is vital to the welfare of the tree and the safety of your household.  A dry tree is literally a tinder box inside of your home.  Add the drying effect from a forced air furnace, fireplace or room heaters, and you have the formula for disastrous consequences.

Ralph water the tree daily.  Plus be sure to check that he did.  Read these other tips from Popular Mechanics.  Especially like where they cut the tree base and stick the tree in a bucket of water for a drink before going inside.  Take note, a good tree stand does hold at least a half-gallon of water.

Popular Mechanics Article; How to keep a Christmas Tree Fresher

Removing Critters in Christmas Trees

Amphids, Spiders, Mites, Bagworms – Oh My!

If you have followed the instructions of the various sources, you should have now successfully shaken your new Live Christmas Tree at least three times and hopefully four before bring it into your dwelling.  Remember, this Living Tree played home to a host of Bugs, Birds and other critters you do not want dwelling with you.

Rule 1.   Never spray your tree with a pesticide.  It could be flammable or cause excessive drying.
Rule 2.   Read rule one again.  Additionally, spraying trees causes future allergens in the home.

Probably one of the best sources for understanding pests in your Christmas Tree and how to successfully and safely deal with them is the United States Department of Agriculture Third Edition of Christmas Tree Pest Manual.

Regardless of the tree, region of country or type of infestation, this manual gives tremendous incite into dealing with the majority of issues you might encounter with your Christmas Tree Pests. 

As always, should these suggestions or articles prove less than helpful in eliminating your unwanted guests in your home, (critters that is), please call Spoon Rive Pest Control for immediate assistance. 

Here is theUSDA’s Christmas Tree Pest Manualto dig further into situations and solutions.

For Additional Insight, Facts and Suggestions on Christmas Trees and Christmas Tree Selection and Management, please try:

The National Christmas Tree Association website.

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