Christmas Tree ticks, aphidsA customer recently called in wondering if the bugs crawling around her live Christmas tree were ticks. She had good reason to wonder because she had just pulled an actual tick off her dog!

She sent in a few photos and after some insect investigations, it appeared she was just seeing “Christmas tree aphids.”

Christmas Tree Aphids

Aphids are quite small, just 3mm or so in size, and so you often don’t spot them on a Christmas tree in the lot or store. Most Christmas tree farms will treat for them so you don’t need to worry, but if they are there, and brought home into a warm living room, they’ll think it’s springtime. And then you’ll have a few unwanted gifts under and around your tree.

So if you’re wondering if that little crawling bug is an Christmas Tree aphid or a tick, here are a couple of easy ways to tell:

  • Ticks have eight legs, while aphids have six – don’t confuse the antenna for another pair of legs!
  • Aphids have a tear drop-shaped body, while ticks are more flat

Removal

Aphids can be removed before you bring in the tree by shaking it while outside, spraying it down with a hose or try leaving it in a garage for a day or two if it’s warm enough in there. The warmth of the garage can get them moving.

You can also buy some insecticidal soap spray or make your own basic spray by combining two tablespoons of liquid soap, one tablespoon of any kind of cooking oil (vegetable oil, olive oil, etc.), and four ounces of water in a spray bottle and shaking it lightly.

Barring that, a good ol’ vacuum cleaner can get them off your floors. Don’t squish them because they can leave a gross stain on floors or carpet.

However, if you just left them alone they’ll die pretty quickly anyway without posing any significant health threat.

If your holidays have other pests that aren’t leaving you jolly, call us at 512-443-0123 for a pest removal quote or fill out our online form.

Happy Holidays!