How To Stop Ants From Going After Sap On Christmas Tree

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One of the most common holiday pest problems is ants going after sap on the Christmas tree. There are a few things you can do to prevent this problem. First, make sure your tree is healthy and free of any pests before bringing it into your home.

Second, keep your tree well-watered and away from any food sources that might attract ants. Finally, if you do find ants on your tree, try to remove them as quickly as possible to prevent them from causing damage.

The Culprits on Christmas Tree

common pest on Christmas tree

Christmas trees are a popular and fun holiday decoration, but they can also be a magnet for pests, especially the most persistent critters of any household-Ants!

As you may already know, ants love to nest beneath the floor or in the walls and travel long distances to find food. Therefore, one of the most likely explanations for why these insects are crawling on your Christmas tree is that they are searching for sap.

Consequently, keeping the same in mind, it’s critical that you keep an eye out for these unwanted visitors as you’re putting the finishing touches on your Christmas tree.

And, if you discover an ant on your Christmas tree, don’t freak out! Although they may sting or bite, it’s unlikely that they would.

More importantly, focus on defending the tree’s sap and, ultimately, your beautiful Christmas trees from these tiny critters.

What types are ants most harmful to your Christmas tree?

Generally, ants that are foraging on trees are hunting for the delicious sap, or they are constructing their home in trees with cavities and decaying wood. Moreover, most of the time, ants don’t inflict a lot of damage to trees. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule!

How to Stop Ants from Going After Sap on Christmas Tree

To keep your tree safe this holiday season, here are three ants to keep an eye out for:

Odorous house ants:

Odorous house ants are categorized among the most common ant species in most of the United States. These ants are small, brown, and have a disagreeable smell when crushed. They form long lines while foraging and patiently wait their turn to cross an obstacle.

Odorous house ants are not very hazardous. However, they are often regarded as nuisance pests, especially because they can be difficult to get rid of. They are attracted to the sap on Christmas trees and will swarm all over them in order to get it.

Once they are inside a home, they may create nesting areas in your tree, destroying its beauty on their way.

Red imported fire ants:

Red imported fire ants on leaf of trees

A popular invasive species, the Red imported fire ants can be very harmful, as they can sting and bite humans and pets. Consequently, these pesky creatures can ruin the fun of your Christmas celebration, posing a danger to you as well as your beautiful tree.

That said, if these ants are spotted near the base of your tree, be very careful not to touch or disturb them as they will sting humans and other animals. If they start attacking sap on your Christmas tree, contact your arborist about an insecticide immediately.

Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants are a common type of pesky ant that can be found in many parts of the world. They are attracted to sap and other sweet liquids, which makes them a nuisance around Christmas trees.

Moreover, stacks of sawdust at the foot of your Christmas tree indicate the presence of swarming black ants. In this situation, you should contact an expert to assess whether the tree requires removal.

Keep in mind that carpenter ants only burrow in deteriorating tree wood; therefore, a plant infected with carpenter ants is likely already weak; therefore, the carpenter ants readily digging into it may increase the risk of toppling it over!

Some other common Christmas tree bugs

Close up shot of a ladybird in a real christmas tree.

Tree Aphids

Aphids are tiny arthropods with soft bodies that feed on the sap of plants. A number of variations are observed in this species, but all of them have one thing in common: they can be a major nuisance to gardeners and Christmas tree owners.

Initially, aphids are wingless when hatched, but they may produce winged offspring if a Christmas tree remains indoors for an extended period of time. This is why it’s important to take your Christmas tree outdoors as soon as possible after the holiday season is over.

Tree spiders

Christmas trees are often home to spiders, and the most common type of spider found on them is the tree spider. These spiders are not usually dangerous to people or pets, but they can be a nuisance.

Thereby, if you want to get rid of them quickly, you can vacuum them up or knock them down with a broom. You can also try using a spider deterrent.

Bark lice

Bark lice are small, winged insects that can be gray or brown in color. They feed on sap and are often found near the base of a Christmas tree, where they can cause damage to the bark.

There are a few ways to prevent them from going after sap on your tree, including using pesticides, horticultural oil, and wrapping the trunk in sticky tape.

Recognizing the early signs of ant infestation in Christmas trees

Black garden ants on the mango leaf feeding on the egg of insect. Used selective focus.

These are the most prevalent indications of an ant infestation in a Christmas tree.

Presence of worker ants on or near the tree’s base

The first and most visible indication of an infestation is a substantial proportion of ants on your tree or at its base. Typically, these ants are worker ants that forage for food and other resources. And if they are abundant around or on your tree, they have likely established a colony there.

Piles of wood shavings

Ants, such as carpenter ants, establish their nests by consuming wood. As a consequence, they often leave behind mounds of wood shavings. Consequently, if you see these mounds near the base of your tree, you likely have a significant infestation.

Faint rustling noises

Another common sign of infestation includes faint rustling noises.

In order to construct their nests, ants must tunnel into the tree. This process often makes subtle sounds, and if you listen closely, you may be able to hear the rustling.

Holes on the tree

In order to establish their nests, ants often burrow through trees. Ants regularly enter and exit these pores, making them often simple to identify. Therefore, if you are able to trace an ant trail and it goes to a hole in your Christmas tree, you have an ant infestation.

How to Stop Ants from Going After Sap on Christmas Tree?

mother and a girl are decorating christmas tree outdoors with show spray

If you are noticing ants going after sap on your Christmas tree, don’t worry! You can undertake steps to get rid of them. 

In fact, there are a number of efficient pest management strategies you may use to keep ants away from your Christmas tree’s sap, including:

Dishwashing liquid and oil. 

If ants are invading your Christmas tree, there is a simple way to stop them. Dishwashing liquid and oil work together to form a slippery barrier that the ants cannot cross.

You can proceed by combining two teaspoons of liquid dish soap with one and a half tablespoons of cooking oil (olive oil and canola oil work best). Follow this by pouring the mixture into a spray bottle and releasing it onto the ants.

They will be unable to cross the barrier and will eventually give up their search for sap.

Borax and sugar

In order to stop ants from going after sap on your Christmas tree, you can use a mixture of Borax and sugar.

As sugar attracts them, the worker ants will consume part of these sweet mixes. They will also bring the remainder back to the nest for the queen and other ants, thereby ending the invasion.

Additionally, the borax and sugar mixture can be sprayed around other house plants to keep ants from invading and spreading.

The mixture is safe to apply around plants but should be avoided near areas where children and animals play. At the same time, it is essential to remember that Borax is toxic to both humans and animals, so take caution when using it.

White Vinegar

Another effective technique includes the use of white Vinegar. It is a variety of Vinegar that is distilled from white wine. It has a high acetic acid content, which makes it an effective exterminator of ants.

You can use it to spray around the areas where you have seen ants or apply it directly to the ants.

Vacuum Them Up!

Vacuuming up the ants that have taken up residence in your Christmas tree can eliminate the problem. Regardless, be sure to get rid of all the bugs (including any eggs or larvae).

After that, you’ll be able to dispose of them somewhere away from your house.


Nematodes are worms that can be found in most soil types. They are harmless to humans and plants; however, they are natural enemies of ants and enter their bodies, killing them.

Consequently, these organisms can be included in order to achieve the objective of eradication.

In fact, nematodes are a natural way to stop ants from going after sapping on Christmas trees, and all you need is a bottle and some nematodes to get the job done.

Just fill up the bottle with nematodes and spray the affected areas to stop the ants in their tracks.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a type of natural organic insecticide made of diatoms – an algae species common in open water. Diatomaceous earth can be used to stop ants from going after sapping on Christmas trees.

It is a powder that you can sprinkle around the tree, and it will kill the ants.

Ant killer gel. 

Amongst the number of ways to stop ants from going after sap on your Christmas tree, another popular way is to use ant killer gel. This is a poison that the ants will ingest, and it will kill them.

It poses no threat to your plants, so you can use it without worry.

Professional extermination. 

In case you have tried all of the methods mentioned in this article, and the ants are still clustering around your Christmas tree, it may be time to consider hiring a professional exterminator. They will have access to more powerful methods of extermination and will be able to get rid of the ants for good.


Ants are one of the most prevalent insect species on Christmas trees. These pests are especially drawn to the plant’s delicious sap. And although they may not be completely destitute, they may be extremely annoying.

However, a variety of tactics may be used to prevent ants from feeding on the sap of Christmas trees, including Viner, nematodes, diatomaceous earth, and others!

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.