Christmas is the most magical time of the year ! It’s the time for friends and family to get together and eat delicious food. It’s a time to indulge and eat cookies and candy and drink mulled wine and get buzzed on eggnog. Christmas is also an excuse to decorate your home so you can live in your own little wonderland for a month or so! And when you start decorating for Christmas, you have to have a Christmas tree! It is Christmas, after all, and Christmas isn’t Christmas without the Christmas tree! And that tree sits in your house, bright and glowing with the presents underneath and nothing gets you more in the Christmas spirit than that tree. You open your door after a long day of work and you are greeted with that fantastic pine tree smell. It’s glorious. And that Christmas tree lives in your house from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. Sometimes much longer. And are you one of those people who doesn’t take their tree down until March? It’s okay. You are not alone.
But did you know that your magical tree, filled with the spirit of Christmas, may also be filled with creepy crawlers and critters that have invaded your home? They have hitched a ride from the tree lot to your house and now they are getting comfy in their new home. I’m talking about bugs people. Bugs that may be cuddling up right there in your Christmas tree as you read this.
Now, I am not trying to be the Grinch who stole Christmas and I am certainly not trying to yuck your yum, but I do want to inform you about this problem so that you can go put on some protective gear or douse your apartment with bug spray. Now is the time. And I know what you are thinking, “Don’t bugs hibernate during the winter?” Well, that is not exactly true.
And do you want to hear something really gross? Okay cool. I am going to tell you anyway. Tree-dwelling insects tend to go dormant in the cold weather. And when they are all cozy in your living room while you are relaxing with a hot toddy, they come back to life…and then they eat your brains. Just kidding! But the first part was true.
Now, if you usually go for a fake tree, then this article obviously isn’t for you. This is for those Christmas fans out there that need a real tree. They need to smell that pine scent and they wouldn’t dare have a fake tree for Christmas. And while a real tree can certainly make your holiday dreams come true, it comes with risks. And by risks I mean bugs.
While the tree is now in your living room, just remember that it was once outside in nature. It grew on a tree farm, where bugs were free to crawl and roam. Technically, that tree was their house before it was your decoration.
So one bug that you want to look out for are aphids. These are small black and brown bugs and are often found on these types of trees. You can also keep your eye out for scale insects, bark beetles, psocids, and mites. Oh sorry. Were you eating? Not anymore!
By now, I am sure that you are scouring your Christmas tree looking in every nook and cranny for a creepy crawler. Well, if you don’t see the actual bug, look and see if you see feeding trails, eggs, or burrows. Do you still love Christmas?
Or if you find something that looks like this tan, walnut-sized mass, make sure that you get rid of it. And fast. But don’t just throw it away in your kitchen trash can. That is a praying mantis egg mass and it will hatch…if you are lucky! It’s a Christmas miracle!
The types of bugs that one can find in a Christmas tree will vary depending on where you live. And while they are mostly harmless, it is still pretty gross. Especially if your tree is close to where you sleep. Sleep with one eye open if it is...
So what can you do to live a bug-free life during Christmas? You are going to get a Christmas tree and I am sure that you aren’t going to let these critters get in the way of that. Well, first you can do a little inspection when you go to get the tree. Look out for what we talked about and avoid any trees that have any unwanted gifts inside. Gifts meaning bugs.
You can also listen to Taylor Swift and shake it off, shake it off. This could help get rid of any hitchhikers that may be trying to get inside. You can make tree shaking a fun part of the tradition and get help from the whole family!
Just stand the tree up and grab the trunk at a height right above your shoulder and shake. Shake hard enough to make those suckers go flying! And no, strapping the tree to your car and driving really fast won’t get rid of them. You can, however, leave the tree in the garage for a day or two before you decorate to get rid of any traveling critters. All in all, try not to care too much and have a very Merry Christmas!