Miss The Smell And Feel Of A Real Christmas Tree? Maybe You Won’t After Reading This
09 December 2016 Trending
Once upon a time, when most of us were kids, we would go to a tree lot and pick out our Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving. It was a delightful family ritual, followed by tying down the fresh pine or birch to the roof of the car and driving home. There, it would take center stage in the living room, covered with lovely ornaments and filling the room with the most wonderful aroma of the holidays.
But over the last 20 years or so, more and more of us have switched over to artificial trees. The cost and the convenience are terrific, but many of us probably miss the aroma of a real Christmas tree. There may be one thing you didn’t even know came with having a real tree, however: insects.
Isn’t it too cold for any bugs to survive, you may wonder? Unfortunately, that’s exactly why the little pests may be squatting in your holiday arbor, trying to escape the chill in the air. Now it’s true that they may “hibernate” while your live tree is outside, waiting to be chopped down or purchased from a tree farm.
But those same little fellas come back to life once they warm up by your cozy and toasty fire. Depending on the region of the country you’re in, you may find different kinds of critters on your live trees. If you’re down in Louisiana, for example, aphids are likely to follow you home. In other parts of the country, they could range from mites to beetles to a variety of lesser-known crawly things.
Some of them are too small for the naked eye to detect, so watch for any signs of their presence, such as holes, or anything that might look like eggs.
One tip for keeping bugs out of your house is to vacuum around the base daily. Not only will you pick up any fallen needles, you’ll get accompanying bugs as well.
If all of this is making you feel better that you’ve switched to an artificial tree, we understand. And while they usually are bug-free, it’s a good idea when taking one down from garage storage each year to give it a shake just in case.
Buying a Christmas tree is a beloved tradition for thousands of families, and there’s something nice about having a real pine tree in your home. It smells nice, and it’s so pretty.
However, because they’re part of nature, it also means they can double as homes for several types of insects, many of which will be dormant in the cold but will happily come to life in the warmth of your living room.
Aphids, which are small black or brown bugs, are some of the most common offenders.
Other insects include scale insects, bark beetles, psocids, and mites.
Don’t see any bugs? Keep an eye out for other signs of their presence, like feeding trails, eggs, or burrows.
White blobs like these are a clear indication of adelgids. The tiny bugs create them when they suck the sap out of spruce needles.
And if you find a tan, walnut-sized mass like this on one of the limbs, get rid of it. It’s a praying-mantis egg mass — and it’ll hatch!
The types of bugs you may find will vary based on where you live, and while they’re not exactly brimming with Christmas cheer, they’re harmless — gross, but harmless.
So what can you do? Well, a spot check on site can help if you live in a warmer climate.
However, if one tree has a bug population, chances are, they all do. This is nature, after all.
There are some allies, though. These lady-beetle larvae love to eat Christmas-tree pests.
The best thing you can do after purchasing a tree is to shake it. This will dislodge any stowaways.
Some places even have tree-shakers on site that will do the work for you.
Of course, if you don’t have a tree-shaker handy, you can do it yourself. You may need help, so make it a family tradition.
Simply stand the tree up, grab the trunk at above-shoulder height, and shake it vigorously.
And despite what you may think, strapping the tree to the roof of the car and driving home won’t shakebugs off. Sorry.
Another good way to clear your tree of bugs?
Leave it in the garage for 24 hours before bringing it inside to decorate.
Once you have the tree, be sure to vacuum regularly around its base.
This will keep pine needles off your floor, and will also snatch up any bugs that have decided to climb off the tree and go exploring.
There’s more good news, too. The insects that live in pine trees need the plant to survive. Eventually, the pine tree will die, and so will they. That sounds a little grim, but it’s better than having a full-on infestation.
So if you love a live tree, be on the lookout for bugs and shake it. But if you spot one or two critters inside, don’t fret — your Christmas won’t suffer!
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