Nothing compares to filling your house with the aroma of fresh pine during the holiday season — right team #RealTree? Even though a visit to the tree farm is as quintessentially Christmas as it gets, there's one extra step between buying a real tree and decorating it in its holiday best: You need to make sure that it isn't full of Christmas tree bugs. Not every single tree on the lot is full of bugs, but there's still a chance that up to 25,000 bugs are living in a single Christmas tree, according to Safer Brands.
Since tree bugs go dormant during the cold months, you probably won't notice them at first — especially since you'll be so mesmerized by your tree's natural beauty. Once the tree is inside your home, however, the warm temperature will wake them up, causing them to move.
Shake your Christmas tree.
The good news is most Christmas tree farms have mechanical tree shakers to do the work for you. "A mechanical shaker will usually dislodge any potential intruders and eggs, in addition to getting rid of loose pine needles," Nancy Troyano, a medical entomologist and director of technical education and training for pest control company Rentokil Steritech, told Realtor. If your Christmas tree comes from your backyard or a small tree farm, just shake the tree yourself before you bring it indoors.
Let your tree rest for 24 hours.
For a more thorough inspection, use a flashlight to look for the tell-tale signs of Christmas tree bugs: bird nest, egg masses, and of course, bugs themselves. Then dust your tree with Diatomaceous Earth, a insecticidal powder that's free of synthetic chemicals and harsh fragrances, and let it sit for at least 24 hours before decorating indoors.
Keep your vacuum handy.
Not only will you need your vacuum for cleaning up fallen pine needs, but it's also the best way to prevent bugs from roaming around your house. If you do see a spider or aphids near the base of your tree, suck them up with the vacuum.
Skip pesticide sprays.
Most bug sprays are flammable (especially aerosols!), so they don't mix well with your sparkling Christmas lights (and that's putting it lightly). After all, a few critters is nothing compared to a tree on fire. Remember: Only one out 100,000 trees is at risk, which means your chances for dealing with Christmas tree bugs more than once is slim.
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