Few things help brighten up your home and put your family into the holiday spirit more than fresh plants. Whether it’s a lively poinsettia, a robust fir tree, or some holly wreathes, this time of year is full of plants and flowers that bring cheer and warmth to an otherwise cold season. Unfortunately, with these festive decorations also comes holiday bugs!
Now, many plant and tree sellers treat their products with chemicals to try to eliminate any live bugs and their eggs. But nobody’s perfect, and it’s common for a few to get by. If you’re looking to buy some holiday plants this season, here are a few bugs you might find that want to celebrate with you.
Common Bugs Found on Christmas Trees
Christmas trees can be home to as many as 25,000 bugs in a single tree! Some common insects you might find in a Christmas tree include aphids, bark beetles, spiders, and mites.
Now, not all of them want to make their home permanent in your house. That said, you certainly don’t want them colonizing your home or infecting other plants. To avoid that, it’s a good idea to:
- Closely inspect the tree before buying it. Look for clusters of eggs or bite marks in the branches and along the trunk.
- Shake the tree before bringing it inside, as that will often get out a number of critters.
- Additionally, there are some over the counter sprays you can consider for treating your tree. However, be sure to use these treatments outdoors to avoid getting any toxic chemicals on your furniture or in the air.
- Vacuum around the tree regularly. This will help ensure that any microscopic insect eggs aren’t sitting around and hatching. Of course, it’s a good idea to replace your vacuum bag frequently when doing this, as you don’t want those eggs to hatch in your vacuum!
Common Bugs Found on Mistletoe
You might hang some mistletoe to steal a kiss from your loved one, but unfortunately, a few bugs might have a similar idea. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that lives off of other trees. As a result, though, it’s packed with nutrients that bugs love to eat as well. Probably the most common one is the Mistletoe Cottony Scale, which get their name from looking like little puffs of cotton.
While benign to humans, they can wreak havoc on house plants, so it’s best to deal with them as soon as you notice them. One easy way to do that is to rub infected areas with a cotton swab doused in rubbing alcohol, which will kill them, but there are also some over the counter treatments you can buy.
Common Bugs Found in Poinsettias
As beautiful as poinsettias are, they attract some of the most destructive insects. At least as far as other plants are concerned. The two most common pests found in poinsettias are whiteflies and mites.
Whiteflies look similar to aphids, as they’re small and white, but they have wings. Whiteflies are like vampires for plants, sucking out their juices and leaving them weak and unhealthy. They also produce a sticky substance called “honeydew,” which can cause fungus to grow on the plants.
There are a variety of mites that can feed off poinsettias, including cyclamen and spider mites. While neither of these are harmful to humans, they can absolutely destroy plants.
Both whiteflies and mites can generally be treated with over the counter plant sprays. Of course, if you ignore them and develop a major infestation, you might need to call a professional. We’re happy to help treat infected areas, hopefully saving your plants and the holidays!
Call in the Pros
If you have a problem with holiday bugs, give us a call. We’re happy to get rid of these pests as cleanly and quickly as possible.