It’s the holiday season! People are full of cheer and on the hunt for the perfect tree to make this season extra special. If you are a fan of the real deal over the artificial kind, a Christmas tree may be the last step to your merrymaking.

However, you may end up playing host to more than just your family and friends if you decide to use a real tree. Christmas trees around Luzerne and Lackawanna counties can be crawling with unexpected bugs, spiders, or other wildlife.

If you are planning on a traditional tree this year, here are the top nine tips to avoid unwelcome house guests.

How To Keep Your PA Christmas Tree Free of Bugs, Spiders, and Rodents: Top 9 Tips

Unwanted Christmas Guests

The best way to avoid bringing any of these little creatures in your home is to know what to look for on your potential tree. While most of these creatures are harmless, they have no place in your household.

Here a few pests that may invade your perfect tree:

  • Spiders and mites: These tiny bugs are found in Douglas-fir, white pine, Fraser fir, Spruce trees. They can hide away on the trunk or branches.
  • Aphids: Commonly found on trees and plants, these little black or brown insects are often found on pine, evergreens, balsam fir, spruce, Fraser fir, white fir trees.
  • Adelgids: These insects create little white masses as they suck the sap from fir and pine trees.
  • Scale insects: Often found on Scotch pine, Norway spruce, or Douglas fir, these tiny insects have red or brown shells and feed of tree sap.
  • Bark beetles: As the name suggests, these darkly hued beetles burrow in trunks.
  • Praying mantis: These “deadly” insects are more dangerous to each other than they are to us. However, they can leave behind a tan egg mass that can hold up to 400 eggs.
  • Sawfly: Any type of fly can be irritating. These black and yellow flies are drawn to spruce and pine trees, two Christmas favorites.
  • Spotted lanternfly: These insects are not native to the area and could cause some real damage. Spotted lanternflies can be devastating to agriculture.
  • Bird nests: Birds live in trees. Christmas trees are no exception.
  • Squirrels and mice: Squirrels and mice often build their homes in trees as well.

These pests are common Christmas tree dwellers, they can be troublesome, especially if they find their way inside. Before you select your tree and set it up in your home, here are nine tips to keep your home pest-free.

1. Know What to Look For

The key to selecting a pest-free tree is knowing what to look for. Check the trunk and the branches for signs. Mantis egg masses are light brown, and Adelgids can leave little white masses on the pine needles. If there is a hole in the trunk, consider leaving that tree behind. You never know what wildlife could be hiding away.

2. Triple Check your Tree

Pests could be hiding out anywhere on your possible Christmas tree. They can also be quite tiny. Examine the underside of the tree, look at it from different angles, and leave no branch unturned. It’s also a good idea to prune the branches to be safe.

spotted lanternfly the pest rangers blog

3. Shake Your Tree

Before you leave the lot with your tree, it may be a good idea to see if there is a mechanical tree shaker available. This could shake off dead branches, pine needles, and any pests that may be hiding away. If you don’t have access to a mechanical tree shaker, you can also do it manually.

4. Use a White Sheet

Before using a tree, lay down a white sheet beneath your work area. As you shake, you can take note of anything that falls from the tree whether it’s needles or tiny insects.

5. Don’t Bring it in Right Away

As excited as you and your family may be to bring your Christmas tree inside, it’s best to let it rest in the open or in the garage for a few days. If you missed any insects upon your initial inspection, or a stray mouse or bird, they could stay outdoors. This can you escape any unwanted surprises.

6. Try Diatomaceous Earth

While your tree is sitting, try dusting the outside with diatomaceous earth. Any insects present on the tree will be affected and there will be no damage to the actual tree. This way you can get rid of any bugs that may be hiding away while keeping the integrity of your holiday decoration.

7.  Don’t use Pesticide Sprays

Though it’s safe to use diatomaceous earth, it’s not a good idea to use any pesticide sprays on your tree. Most pesticides are extremely flammable. While they may do the job, you might end up losing more than you bargained for. Safety is paramount for you and your family. So, stay away from pesticides.

8. Vacuum Them Up!

If some pests somehow managed to hang on to your Christmas tree, have no fear. You can take care of any leftover insects simply by vacuuming them up. Afterward, you can dump them outside and away from your home.

9. Go Artificial

The only true way to avoid any pest infestation is to invest in an artificial tree. While having a real tree in your home could capture the holiday spirit, more than likely, it’ll bring a few unwanted guests with it.

Concluding Thoughts

While most of these pests, aside from the wildlife, don’t pose a real threat, they can put a damper on your Christmas celebration. If you have your heart set on a real tree, take the time to check your tree thoroughly. Follow these steps and enjoy a pest-free holiday.


Pest Issues? Contact The Pest Rangers Today.