|Photo courtesy Okeechobee County Extension.
Remember the scene in “Christmas Vacation” where the squirrel jumps out of the Griswold family Christmas tree? Well, Christmas tree stowaways are not always that obvious (or dramatic- thankfully). There is a much smaller pest that may sometimes be found on a cut tree brought home for decorating.
|Cinara spp. Photo courtesy Okeechobee County Extension.
Cinara spp. aphids are sometimes found on Christmas trees. They are large and brown to black and have been mistaken for engorged ticks. This naturally gives some people cause for concern. But these aphids are feeding only on the host plant and pose no threats to humans or their pets. (Not even a sneaky little squirrel…) If these are found on a Christmas tree it is not necessary to take any action.
This year we bought a Florida tree from a Christmas tree farm nearby and it is beautiful. We had the opportunity to select and cut our very own tree. It made for a day filled with great memories and a wonderful, healthy, fragrant tree. There are several kinds of Florida Christmas trees to choose from- we selected a sand pine, Pinus clausa, for it’s soft needles and more “traditional” Christmas tree look.