The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

The Buzz

Your Christmas Tree Could Have Up to 25,000 Bugs On It




Thanks to Clark Griswold, we all know the importance of checking that Christmas tree for critters before bringing it into the house, because a squirrel running around indoors is one surefire way to ruin the holidays.

 

But there's something much smaller — and potentially much more numerous — lurking in your tree. We're talking about bugs. And according to organic gardening manufacturer Safer Brand, up to 25,000 of them. They can include praying mantises, aphids, spiders, mites, pine needle scales and sawflies, to name a few.

While such a massive infestation is rare, it's more likely that you could get several hundred baby insects and spiders on a freshly cut tree, said Laura Jesse, an entomologist with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The eggs would have remained dormant through the cold weather, but once you bring that tree into a warm home, they think it's spring and time to hatch. 

Before you know it, what should be outside is now inside, which isn't a good thing for either party. The bugs most commonly on a tree are harmless because they don't bite or sting, so they'll be nothing more than an annoyance to you. For the bugs, however, you've given them a death sentence by bringing them indoors. 

"In many cases, the newly-hatched insects and spiders wander only a very short distance before drying out and dying," Jesse said.

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Easy precautions you can take

Follow these simple suggestions to keep the bugs outside where they belong:

  • Examine the undersides of the branches and trunk and prune any branches with egg cases.
  • While outside, shake the tree vigorously to dislodge any bugs.
  • After employing these first two measures, if you have an attached garage, it most likely will be warmer than the outside temperature, so leave it in there for a few days. This will allow the eggs to hatch in the garage, instead of inside your home.

Taking a few moments ahead of time before bringing the tree indoors can save both you some aggravation as well as hopefully the bugs' lives.

A few years ago, a couple in England learned that lesson the hard way.

Watch Your Step: Stink Bugs Are Making Their Way Indoors

9/18/2020

With summer-like temperatures behind us, it's the time of year when stink bugs start making their way into our homes. Resist the urge to stomp on or squish them or you'll quickly learn how these insects got their name.

Read More


Quiz: Are You A Monarch Master?

9/16/2020

Test you knowledge about monarchs with this 10-question quiz.

Read More


What's The Difference: Frog Vs. Toad

9/11/2020

Frogs and toads are both amphibians, and the differences between them can be confusing and subtle.

Read More


Sign up for a Newsletter