Holiday Tree Pests

If you're planning to get a holiday tree for your home, you may find unexpected guests have already made their home in your evergreen selection. Common holiday trees such as firs, pines, and spruces can host pests such as aphids, scales, mites, bark beetles, or even praying mantis egg cases. These pests may be present regardless of whether you select your tree from a local tree lot or go to cut your holiday tree at a nearby tree farm or forest. But don't worry, any insects on your holiday tree are not harmful to you or your home.

Still, there are some things you can do to reduce the pests on your holiday tree.

  • When you have selected your tree, vigorously shake your tree to dislodge crawling or flying insect pests.
  • Before bringing your tree inside, examine the branches and trunk and prune any infested branches.
  • After your tree is inside, continue to monitor and vacuum any insect you find around the base of the tree.
  • Avoid spraying the tree with any pesticide, as they could be flammable and most likely not intended for tree pests or labeled for indoor use. Even if sprayed on the tree while outside, you are still bringing the tree inside and could expose yourself and your family to pesticides.

Rest assured, most holiday trees will be free of pest infestations, but for more information on pests specific to holiday trees in California, please see the UC IPM website information on pests of trees, shrubs, and woody ornamentals.

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By Elaine Lander
Author - Urban & Community IPM Educator