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Got Bugs? Blame the Christmas Tree

You had a magical holiday season with your family and life is finally getting back to normal. The presents are put away, the lights taken down, and the kids are even back in school. Unfortunately, Santa brought you something you just hadn’t bargained for: bugs!

As if you needed another reason to switch to switch to an artificial tree next year, studies have shown over 80% of all “real” Christmas trees harbor pesky pests. While some arerelatively harmless, other insects that have been known to reside on holiday trees can do damage to your home or your family’s health.

The most common type of “live” Christmas tree purchased across America is the Pine, with Douglas Firs a close second. Their decorative branches and fragrant smells has made them centerpieces of American holiday celebrations for decades. Pine and fir trees however, with their sap and layered bark, make a haven for pests of all kinds. Not only are you paying good money for the tree, you’re also shelling out cash to transport bugs right into your living room.

Some of the more common insects found on Christmas trees include mites, lice, and aphids. While these pests can certainly be annoying to deal with they’re not particularly harmful to your health. Bark beetles have also been known to hitch a ride on holiday trees and can quickly make themselves at home in cabinets or crawlspaces.

Termites, while rare, have unfortunately been shown to enter homes on Christmas trees year after year. Once these destructive bugs are in your house it becomes much, much harder to get them out so it’s important to check your tree carefully for burrowing holes or white, winged insects or skeletons before bringing it into your home. Spiders are one of the more common tree bugs and can be poisonous, depending on the variety. Most simply eat other insects and do not pose a threat to humans.

It’s important to check your tree carefully before you bring it home from the lot. Does the trunk and bark look solid? Are there webs or any other tell-tale signs of infestation? Many Christmas tree lots now offer a “shake” method that vigorously shakes the tree to (in theory) rid it of any fallen needles or unwanted bugs. Shaking doesn’t always remove all the creepy crawlies, so beware. Whatever you do, never spray your tree with an aerosol bug spray as these are extremely flammable. The best defense against bugs brought into your home via Christmas tree is a comprehensive pest protection plan. Designed to stop infestations before they start, these plans typically include quarterly visits. If you suspect you’ve got bugs call your local pest protection company today to set up an inspection and minimize any long term damage.

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