Most people enjoy the aroma of a fresh cut evergreen tree in their home to decorate for Christmas. We find the perfect spot, bring out the ornaments and the fun begins; never paying any mind to the critters that may crawl out of that well lighted, beautiful tree in the corner.
Two of the most common creepy crawlers found are aphids and spiders. During the late summer and fall, the adults lay their eggs on the stems and foliage of these wonderful trees. In nature, these eggs lay dormant during the winter to hatch in the warmth of spring. It shouldn’t be any surprise that when the tree is brought into the warmth of the house, these eggs may hatch.
This hatching normally goes undetected because the aphids and spiders are so small, unless of course they are in great numbers! Then you see them all over the tree! But not to worry, they cannot live for long out of their natural habitat.
On a lighter note, did you know that insects are often used for Christmas decorations? It’s true. The ladybug, butterfly and honey bee have been used since the Middle Ages. And more recently, the dragonfly has been showing up on some trees.
Almost everyone knows that ladybugs eat aphids. During the Middle Ages, farmers would pray for help when aphids would start destroying their crops. The ladybugs would show up and eat the aphids, so you could say they were “God sent”. These insects became known as the bug sent by the Virgin Mary or “Our Lady’s Bug”. Today, we simply call them ladybugs.
The butterfly is a Christian symbol for redemption. The caterpillar goes through a metamorphosis to change into a beautiful butterfly. It symbolizes the resurrection of Christ and, to some, the transformation of the human soul.
Now, how about the honey bee? They’ve been around humans for a very long time and thought to be a symbol of prosperity. British farmers of long ago would say bees hummed when the Christ child was born on the first Christmas in Bethlehem.
Now you know why these insects are used for decorating the Christmas tree. It’s all related to why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Put a couple of ladybug ornaments on your tree. Maybe they’ll eat the aphids and spiders!