I’ve always heard you should shake your Christmas tree before bringing it inside to help avoid unwanted pests from entering your home. This year, we picked up a tree from a local farmer, and I assumed when they shook off the extra needles, the bugs would go with it. Imagine my surprise when I found dozens of black bugs falling from my tree this weekend—and this was after the tree had been decorated and in my house for two weeks. Yuck!
They looked like ticks, which made me extremely anxious with a new baby and pets in the house. As I was just about to take everything off the tree and throw it to the curb, I decided to take a picture of these nasty pests and send it to the local Terminix entomologist for identification. He told me not to panic and they were aphids.
Unlike ticks, aphids do not feed on mammals and do not carry disease. What a relief! There must have been an egg sack in the lower branches of my tree so the pests fell off as they hatched. Thankfully, it all happened in the course of an afternoon so I can keep my tree and focus on filling the space under it with presents for my family!
- Always shake the tree before bringing it inside your home
- Turn off the lights and then spray soapy water on the tree to kill aphids. Be sure to wait until it’s completely dry to turn the tree back on.
- Never spray aerosol bug sprays on the tree—they are highly flammable!