Post-Harvest Pests on Christmas Trees
source: North Carolina State | A & T University Cooperative Extension website: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/programs/xmas/postharvestpests/
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Prepared by Jill R. Sidebottom, Ph.D.
Area Extension Forestry Specialist, Mountain Conifer IPM
Extension Forestry, College of Natural Resources
North Carolina State University
What to Do if You Have
Do: Shake your tree before setting it up in the home. Christmas trees can have anything from pollen to dust to leaves and dead needles. Shaking the tree will remove a lot of debris. Consider washing the tree with water from a garden house and letting it dry before bringing your tree inside. If post-harvest pests are present, you'll see them falling out.
Don't: Mash Cinara aphids or other pests on carpets or furnishings. They will leave a purple or red stain.
Do: Vacuum pests up using an attachment without a beater bar.
Don't: Worry about the ornaments. The insects won't stay on them until next year.
Do: Treat with an insecticide if necessary. Consider using insecticidal soap to treat the tree for aphids which can be purchased from home improvement stores premixed. Spray aerosol home insecticides can also be used, but remember they are flammable. Set them set off near infected the infected tree, but unplug the lights first.
Do: Remove the tree from your house if the infestation is large.
Do: Return the tree for another one if treatments fail.
Don't: Give up on a real tree. The odds are against your ever having this problem again.