Dr. Killigan's comprehensive guide to Christmas tree bugs


The holiday season brings the timeless tradition of adorning our homes with real Christmas trees. These evergreens not only add beauty and fragrance but are also a symbol of joy and festivity. However, an often-overlooked aspect is the possibility of bugs residing in these trees. My aim is to enlighten you about these hidden guests and ensure your holidays remain cheerful and bug-free.

Before delving into the specifics of Christmas tree bugs, let's introduce an effective solution to keep them at bay: Dr. Killigan's Six Feet Under Non-Toxic Insect Spray. This product, crafted with natural ingredients, is safe for use around your family and pets. 

Understanding tree bugs

When you bring a Christmas tree into your home, you might unknowingly host a variety of bugs. These pests, though mostly harmless, can include:

Aphids: These tiny, sap-loving hitchhikers are commonly found nestled in the branches of pines and firs. They might look like minuscule spiders or ticks but are quite harmless to your home. These little critters feast on tree sap, which sometimes leads to a yellowed appearance in the tree. Rest assured, aphids typically prefer staying on their green abode, posing little concern to your household. However, there are occasional exceptions, as highlighted by a real-life instance experienced by a homeowner in Washington, D.C. After returning from a holiday trip, she discovered her living room, bathroom and bedroom infested with aphids from her Christmas tree. 'I pulled the tree out of the house and when I dropped the tree to the ground, hundreds of [aphids] went running across the concrete — it was terrifying,' she recounted to WTOP

Spiders and mites: Spiders and mites make their home in an array of tree species. These critters have a diet that includes tree sap and other small insects. Spiders, with their noticeable size, often catch the eye, whereas mites, much smaller in stature, might slip under the radar until they start scuttling around. Both play their part in the tree's mini-ecosystem, usually causing no harm to your festive decor. Mites can cause discoloration or damage to needles and branches.

Bark beetles: Small and cylindrical, bark beetles burrow into the trunks of trees, leaving behind small holes and trails of sawdust. They are particularly fond of fir trees and can cause structural damage to the tree over time.

Praying mantises: Although not as commonly found, mantis egg sacs can occasionally be present on the branches of Christmas trees. If these sacs hatch indoors, they can lead to a surprising emergence of mantis nymphs. 

Selecting and preparing your tree for a pest-free holiday

To ensure a bug-free Christmas tree, consider these tips, in order:

Source locally: Locally grown trees are likely to have fewer bugs. This is because they are acclimatized to the local climate and pest control measures are often more attuned to regional pest species.

Inspect thoroughly: Before purchasing, closely inspect the tree for signs of pests or eggs. Look under the branches and near the trunk for any suspicious activity.

Shake it off: Many tree sellers offer mechanical shaking services which can dislodge most of the bugs and loose needles. 

Quarantine: Consider quarantining the tree in your garage or a covered area for a day or two. This period allows any residual bugs to vacate. 

Spritz with Six Feet Under: Six Feet Under is our ace in the hole against those stealthy tree invaders. Crafted with essential oils, this spray is a powerhouse against pests, yet gentle enough for your family's safety. To get the most out of it, lightly spritz Six Feet Under on your tree before bringing it into your home. It's our secret to keeping your holiday both merry and bug-free.

    By understanding the kinds of bugs that may inhabit Christmas trees and taking steps to choose and prepare a tree, you can enjoy your festive centerpiece without unwelcome guests. Remember, while these bugs are mostly harmless, it’s always better to be proactive in keeping your home bug-free.

    Dealing with different types of tree bugs

    Spraying with Six Feet Under is a thorough targeted approach. However, because of each bug’s unique characteristics, it’s important to dig a little deeper to better understand the absolute best way to treat each bug.


    Aphids and mites: These insects, though usually harmless, can be a nuisance. A light application of Six Feet Under will suffice. 

    Spiders: Spiders, though often feared, are actually beneficial as they prey on other tree bugs. However, if their presence is unwelcome, they can be easily removed by hand or with a gentle targeted spritz of Six Feet Under. 

    Bark beetles: These small insects bore into the trunks of trees. To manage them, thoroughly inspect your tree for small holes and sawdust trails, which are indicators of their presence. Apply Six Feet Under directly to these affected areas, ensuring to target the entry points and surrounding bark. The spray's formula will penetrate these areas, addressing the beetles without harming the tree. Regular monitoring and reapplication may be necessary for complete control. 

    Praying mantis: These insects are less common but can surprise you by hatching indoors. If you find a mantis egg sac (tan and round, about the size of a walnut) on your tree, it’s best to carefully remove it before bringing the tree inside your home. If mantises do hatch indoors, they are generally harmless to humans and pets but can be startling. In such cases, gently collect them and release them outside. If necessary, a light application of our non-toxic spray, Six Feet Under, can be used around the tree area to deter any wandering nymphs without harming them.

    Post-holiday tree care

    Safe tree disposal

    After the holiday cheer has faded, it's important to consider the proper disposal of your Christmas tree. This is not just about tidiness; it's about preventing any lingering bugs from making your home their permanent residence. I recommend removing the tree from your home carefully to avoid scattering any pests or eggs that may have survived. Local recycling programs often offer tree pick-up services, turning your once festive tree into mulch or wood chips, effectively disrupting any bug life cycle. This eco-friendly approach to disposal not only clears your space but also contributes positively to the environment.

    Ensuring a pest-free home post tree removal

    After the tree is gone, a thorough cleaning is essential. Vacuum the area where the tree stood, paying close attention to the corners and under furniture. If you used a tree skirt, wash it in hot water. Remember, some tree bugs can linger even after the tree is gone, so a once-over with Dr. Killigan’s Six Feet Under in the room where the tree was can provide that extra layer of defense against any stragglers. This ensures that your home remains pest-free and clean, ready to welcome the new year.

    Embracing a pest-free and joyful holiday season with Dr. Killigan's

    The enchantment of a real Christmas tree doesn't have to be marred by the worry of pests. By taking the right steps, you can ensure a festive and bug-free holiday. Dr. Killigan's Six Feet Under Non-Toxic Insect Spray plays a pivotal role in this, offering a safe and effective solution that aligns with a healthy, environmentally conscious holiday spirit. Embrace tradition while safeguarding the well-being of your family and home. As we celebrate the season, remember the importance of non-toxic methods in ensuring a joyful, healthy and stress-free holiday. Trust Dr. Killigan’s solutions for a harmonious balance between holiday cheer and a pest-free environment.

    References and further reading

    For those interested in delving deeper into the world of Christmas tree pests and non-toxic pest control, I recommend the following resources:

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