By TMoM Team Member Allison Tobey
We have lots of family traditions, but our all-time favorite is going to Christmas tree farms to spend the day to hunt down the perfect tree. One Saturday in December of 2012, we ventured out and spent all day choosing, cutting and stringing the tree to the top of the car. We found the best spot in our house, strung the lights, hung the ornaments and admired this beautiful creation. Over the next week, we added wrapped gifts that completed the look of Christmas.
One evening we were hanging out in the family room watching TV when I saw a little black bug crawl across the sofa cushion. No big deal – I crushed the little bug with a paper towel and tossed it in the trash. About a minute later, we saw a few more little black tick-like bugs on the sofa arm and cushions. My husband got up to see what was happening and started screaming that there were hundreds, maybe thousands of bugs on the floor and sofa, in the tree, on the gifts, and crawling up the windows….they were everywhere!
In a panic, we started stomping the bugs – which was a HUGE mistake. When they are smashed, they leave a purple-reddish smear and can stain the carpet and sofa fabric. So, my husband started sucking them up with my Dyson vacuum cleaner. It looked like something exploded in the clear canister. Needless to say, he ruined it. Slowly but surely we got them cleaned up – all 1,367 of them. After a little research, we discovered these bugs have a name…APHIDS! What is an aphid? It is a minute bug that feeds by sucking sap from plants and trees. It reproduces rapidly, often producing live young without mating, and may live in large colonies that cause extensive damage to crops. And, they look just like ticks, but are harmless and do not bite or spread diseases!
No, we did not throw out tree away. I’m not 100% sure why, but we didn’t and should have. Ok, so fast forward to December 24th. My mother in law was telling some story about my husband that I’ve heard 100 times before. There, climbing up her pale pink sweater were 3 or 4 aphids. We screamed, she screamed, everyone screamed. Apparently, batch #2 had just hatched. It was awful – truly awful! We continued to find the aphids for days and days dead in our sofa, Christmas gifts, and ornaments.
December 26th – The aphid tree sat lonely on its side at the end of our driveway. Good riddance!
Well, November 2013 rolls around and a beautiful glossy Christmas-themed Frontgate magazine shows up in our mailbox. We flip through the pages and spotted the most spectacular 9 foot pre-lit artificial tree with 1,700 lights. The cost was $899 plus tax and shipping. We didn’t even discuss it because there was nothing to discuss. We are now the owners of the most expensive, overpriced artificial tree I’ve ever seen. Worth.Every.Penny to know we will never have aphids invade our Christmas again.
I found this blog while researching aphids – http://www.todayshomeowner.com/%E2%80%99tis-the-season-for-ticks/. It has a few tips on what to do and not to do if you are unlucky enough have these creatures living in your Christmas tree.
Have you ever heard of an aphid before today? Or, have you had an experience like me? I’d love for you to share your story below!