The Bug Box: Hitchhikers on your Christmas tree

North Carolina State University


This bug is creeping around your property. He may be friend or foe.

Name: Several

Alias: Hitchhikers on your Christmas tree. Whether you go out to the hills and harvest your own tree or buy one at a lot around town, you have a chance of bringing in unwanted bugs on the tree. Should you find yourself in this situation and see insects scurrying among the presents, don’t worry. They will not become permanent residents of the house. If you have yet to bring in a tree from outside, it may be wise to check it for bugs. Such things as egg cases, cocoons, webbing, small holes in the bark, white specks on the needles (although these may add to the festive look of the tree) and other indications of insects can alert you to their probable presence (or is that presents?) Check for these indications before purchasing or cutting your tree. Before bringing the tree into the house, you may want to shake it to dislodge insects and spiders that may be hiding among the boughs. Once inside, any lingering bugs will probably wake up or eggs missed in the predecorating inspection may hatch and begin to move about. Common pests that may be seen are aphids, spider mites, adelgids, scale insects and spiders. There is also the possibility of finding bark beetles or seeing fine sawdust on the floor or on the presents from their meanderings underneath the bark.

Crimes: While seeing insects bustling around on your Christmas tree or presents beneath it may be disconcerting, there is nothing to be overly alarmed about.

Redeeming Qualities: Fodder for aspiring young entomologists.

Sentence: They will not make your house their home, as they much prefer the great outdoors and the indoor environment will be too dry and hostile for them to survive for any length of time. Applying pesticides is completely unwarranted.

For more information on dangerous and beneficial bugs, call agent Wayne Jones at the Bonneville County Extension Office at 208-529-1390.