Holiday Hitchhikers

As our Arthropods of Our Homes team can attest, your home is a wonderland of arthropod biodiversity. Preliminary analysis of the first 50 homes they sampled in the Raleigh area this summer suggest there are on average 100 species of arthropods per home… More on that to come!

Some of the arthropods one may encounter in the home aren’t really specialists of indoor habitats – they most likely hitchhiked on something brought into the house. For example, aphids often ride along on cut flowers.

And ‘tis no different with the live Christmas tree. Our pal, entomologist Steve Frank, gives a run-down on his EcoIPM blog of some of the 6- and 8-legged critters you might encounter in ye old tannenbaum (See embedded posts below). Some like aphids, adelgids and spider mites actually feed on the Christmas trees.

Others like lady beetles, lacewings and praying mantids predators who were likely overwintering in the tree when it was cut, bundled, and shipped.

As Steve notes in his posts, “These critters may wander off and startle the kids or amuse your cat but will not cause harm to people or become permanent residents of your home.  They do not want to be there any more (probably way less) than you want them there.”

So maybe this year, my family should skip the tradition of finding the hidden pickle ornament, and keep our eyes on the lookout for a praying mantid case!

Happy Holidays!

By |2016-11-22T13:47:30-05:00December 21st, 2012|

About the Author:

Holly Menninger
As Director of Public Science, Holly coordinates our empire of citizen science projects and manages the online science communication here at Your Wild Life. An entomologist by training, she’s a science communicator by passion and practice.

One Comment

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    Christine December 21, 2012 at 11:08 am - Reply

    I always look forward to seeing what type of spider we get with our tree! This year we got nothin’. But last year we got these cool teeny black crab spiders.

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