With Tick Shaped Aphids
If you celebrate Christmas, and plan on bringing home a fresh cut Christmas tree you might be in for a nasty surprise. It might have ticks.
WHAT? That’s right. The Division of Plant Indu
stry at the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services put out a notice about Cinara Aphids infesting Christmas trees. They say that it’s a very large genus of aphids that live on conifers.
They are pretty nasty looking, resembling the ticks you find on your dog. They even swell up like an bloated tick after they’ve fed. Thankfully, they only feed on pine trees, not you or your pets. They don’t carry any diseases that can be transmitted to us either… They’re just UGLY! The DOA doesn’t recommend spraying your tree with insecticides since the bugs aren’t dangerous, and insecticides can be.
“Cinara spp. can be recognized by their large (adults >1mm in length) hairy bodies. Like all insects, Cinara spp. have six legs (and tw
o antennae) as opposed to eight legs on ticks. Their siphunculi are pore-like and located on flattened truncated cones, completely unlike the “tail-pipes” found on many other species of aphids. The mouthparts of Cinara spp. are long, extending ventrally to the abdomen of the aphids. The ultimate segment is long and lance-like.”
They Like To Party
These little bugs can live for several generations on a cut Christmas tree. They breed QUICKLY and it is possible that there could be hundreds of them on one tree. But, as soon as the tree starts to dry out they will leave it in search of another host. Since they only like conifers they won’t be interested in most house plants… but I don’t think I want them wandering around my house!
Sap Sucking Reindeer
I guess you could use a small paint brush and decorate them, maybe a little glitter… or maybe stick tiny Santa hats on their heads…
They could make some funny looking reindeer. But I think I’ll just look VERY closely at the tree I’m buying. I don’t want to invite these things into MY house! YUCK!