Bug experts say your Christmas tree could be filled with eggs just waiting to hatch once they get inside your warm home. Things like praying mantises, spiders and aphids are known to lay eggs inside evergreen trees.
“This becomes an incubator inside the house for a lot of these things,” says John Holt Davis who is a Regional Trainer for Terminix Service. “You can end up hatching hundreds of eggs over a holiday season.”
What?!?!? Hundreds of eggs?!?!? Gross!
“They might have been dormant for a while and all of a sudden they’re introduced to a heat source and now starts the incubation process they’re hatching,” Davis describes. “A lot of them will drop off and look like brown and black dots after they come off the tree. A vacuum is your friend this time of year.”
For most of you, the thought of creepy crawlies hatching inside your home is enough of a threat. However, Davis says the kinds that could be in your tree are not going to harm your family, your pets or your other plants.
The real problem—you!
Davis says you will do more harm than the bugs because your instinct when you see them is to grab a can of something like Raid and just start spraying.
“Really the danger comes from the homeowner,” Davis emphasizes. “A lot of times we overreact and we douse our tree with a pesticide that we might buy at a home goods store. Things that will be flammable when they come in contact with heat sources like Christmas lights.”
Not to mention a pesticide could kill the tree you paid big bucks for or contaminate the presents underneath.
Here’s some steps you can take to keep your tree bug-free:
- Take a flashlight with you when you go pick out a tree to get a better look inside
- Look inside the tree near the trunk and tucked in the branches for things like bird nests and egg sacs (They will look like cottony webbing material)
- Give your tree a good shake before you bring it into your home
- Blow your tree with a leaf blower (not too close or you’ll knock off bristles)
- When the eggs drop, they make tiny brown and red stains on your floor—vacuum them up.
“Leaves are no problem. Every tree that’s on a lot this time of year is going to have leaves in it,” Davis says. “And if you’re like it’s too late we didn’t do any of those things. It’s not too late!” Davis says you can still rid the tree of bugs once it is inside, but you just have to be more tactful.
Right about now all of you fake-tree-users are feeling pretty good. Not so fast. Davis says if you store your fake tree in an attic or a crawlspace, it probably has roach droppings and/or eggs in it. Roaches can get to your tree even if you store it in the cardboard box in which the tree came. When you take your fake tree out, shake it outside before bringing into your home. You can also store the fake tree in sealed, plastic bins to keep the bugs out entirely.