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01 January 2013

The Christmas gift I could have done without

Getting a Christmas tree this year was exactly what I needed. With the move and dissertation stresses and work chaos, the sparkling lights of the tree and the scent of evergreen throughout the new house was just what the doctor ordered. What did the doctor NOT order?

Aphids. And lots of them.

As it turns out, evergreens are occasionally infested with a wonderful little species called Cinara Aphids. Especially evergreens in North Carolina. How do you know if your tree is infested? You find these nasty little creatures all over the floor beneath your Christmas tree. As your tree warms up inside from the cold, the little creatures come alive and start moving. As I was cleaning up the house yesterday morning, I looked at the floor beneath my tree -- don't ask me why -- and it looked like there was a carpet of black bugs moving all over the hardwoods.

I did my best to not freak the hell out, but, of course, I failed miserably. I thought for sure they were ticks, and, with three dogs in the house, I kinda lost it. I swept them all up into a glass container (to show JD because I knew he wouldn't believe me when I told him) and googled the phrase "I found black tick-like bugs under my Christmas tree." Seriously. And I got about one million returns. (No joke. You can google the phrase yourself.)

Breathing a huge sigh of relief after discovering that they were aphids and not ticks, I then discovered that they die and fall from the tree after giving birth to LIVE YOUNG. That sealed the deal. The tree had to go. I usually wait until Epiphany to take down the Christmas stuff, but everything changes when your Christmas tree has literally thousand of bugs crawling all over it.

Thankfully, the bugs were just skeevy and not really dangerous. They only eat conifer trees and don't bother furniture or fabrics or animals. But still ... they were gross. And the best part? They make a nasty purple stain when they are smooshed so you have to be really careful when getting rid of them.

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