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Christmas can come with a few unwelcome surprises.

spittle bugs on a tree branch in jupiter florida

The holiday season is upon us. All around, people are making preparations for Christmas and the holiday season.

As fantastic as Christmas can be, it also comes with a few unwelcome surprises. If you’ll be erecting Christmas trees around your home or elsewhere, you should know that sometimes these trees act as home to what have now become popularly known as Christmas pests.

Here are a few Christmas pests to beware of:

Mites

Mites will always pose a problem even in the biting cold. Spider Mites in particular are very stubborn and must be controlled continuously. They have the ability to spin fine silken webs over tree foliages. Some spider mites are called red spiders because of their distinctive red color. They feed on all kinds of deciduous trees.

Aphids

Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that suck juices out of plants. They may or may not possess wings. The insets attack almost all trees. So, don’t be surprised to find them on maples elm, willow, spruce, white pine and so on.

Pine Bark Beetles

Pine bark beetles are small but are aggressive and can cause extensive damage to stressed and dying pine trees. They feed and breed in the inner bark of pine trees introducing fungi into the tree causing the death of the tree as a result.

Other Christmas Pests

Eastern Spruce Gall Adelgids

You can tell an eastern Spruce Gall Aldelgid infection by the green, cone-like swellings at the base of most spruces, particularly the white spruce. The swellings are a sign of the feeding by young nymphs and often cause needles to grow abnormally. They also attack the Red and Colorado blue spruce.

European pine sawflies

European pine sawflies are naturally early spring feeders but are equally a disaster during Christmas. Larva that are visible around this time are olive green in color with wrinkled skins and narrow pale white stripes concentrated at the center of the back. The larva feed on one and two-year old needles of red pines, scotch, and Jack.

European pine shoot moths

These small, 1/5 inch, dark-brown larva overwinter inside buds with caterpillars remaining active until April. Eggs are deposited on needles, twigs, and buds. The pest attacks almost all species of pines with Mugho Pine and the Red Pine being the most affected.

Northern pine weevils

Adult weevils are about ¼ inch long. They are brown with visible white spots as you approach the rear of the back. The weevils go through winter as adults cutting pine stumps, slashing fir and spruce stumps. Since larvas develop in cut limbs and stumps, slashings should be properly collected and burnt.

Pine spittle bugs

While spittle bugs don’t cause major damage to trees, the white spittle masses in which the nymphs feed are usually conspicuous. When nymph population is high, branches and trunk become wet with spittle.

Pine needle scales

Pine needle scales are quite common and usually show up as scattered white spots on the needles. Moderate to severe infestations often cause yellowish to brownish discoloration of needles. Sometimes death of trees may occur. The scale attacks all trees grown for Christmas as well as Spruce and Douglas fir.

Spruce budworms

This insect prefers spruce, hemlock, and fir but will also comfortably feed on pine making it a potent Christmas tree pest. They pass the winter as a larva inside silken cases, boring into needles and developing buds.

White pine weevils

If there is one reason why white pines are rarely used for Christmas trees, it’s the White Pine Weevil. The adult insect pest is about ¼ inch long with a brown body and white patches as you approach the rear end of the back.

There are plenty of actions you can take on your own that can drastically reduce the number and frequency of pests that you encounter both inside and outside your Florida home around the holiday season. However, do not let an infestation get out of control before you contact Nozzle Nolen for their pest control expertise.

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