Q: My family traditionally buys a real tree for the holidays, but last year, after bringing our tree into our home, I saw lots of little bugs dead on the carpet. Did my Christmas tree have bugs? Should we get a fake tree this year?
A: Without seeing a photo, it’s hard to be sure, but I am guessing your home fell victim to the giant conifer aphid – aka Christmas tree pests. These tiny pests are most often transported into homes on fresh trees, and unsuspecting homeowners get a surprise when they crawl or fall off the tree inside.
These aphids don’t bite humans or pets and won’t reproduce inside. They’ll also die within a short period of time because the environmental conditions inside your home aren’t optimal for their survival.
The good news is, you can continue your family tradition of getting a real tree. But, to avoid having these pests in your home this year, do two things before you buy:
- Do an inspection of the trunk and branches before purchasing your tree. If you see lots of insects, it may be best to select another tree or go to another lot.
- Ask the lot or farm attendant to use a mechanical tree shaker to shake off any pests that might be present. No shaker? Give the tree a few hard shakes yourself.
Doing these things may not completely ward off the chances of having a giant conifer aphid make its way into your home, but it will reduce them. And don’t worry, if you do spot one inside, you can use a vacuum to remove it.