Creepy, crawling bugs found in Christmas trees

Posted at 6:33 AM, Dec 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-17 06:33:16-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.-- Toy Whitaker just bought a tree from Home Depot about a week and a half ago.

On Tuesday night, he says his family found countless bugs falling off the tree onto his living room floor.

"Hundreds… easily hundreds," Toy says.

The bugs looked just like ticks, he says.

"The amount of ticks that I've seen were overwhelming."

But the bugs weren't ticks, according to David Sprague of Beach Environmental.

"The easiest way to tell a tick from most insects is that it has eight legs," David says.

He says he's been receiving a lot of calls recently regarding aphids found in Christmas trees.

"They are a piercing, sucking insect. So they are drawing the juice out of the tree. It causes the needles to fall off prematurely," he says.

They're not like ticks in that they don't carry Lyme disease and don't suck blood from humans or animals.

"The aphids are very specific as to what plant they're going to go to. These aphids are from wherever that tree was. So the aphids are only going to go after plants in that area," David says.

According to Home Depot, there have been at least three cases of aphids found in Christmas trees in South Florida, including the one in West Palm Beach.

Staff members say those who get a tree with the aphid can exchange it for a new tree.

But David says it's not just Home Depot trees that are seeing the problem.

He says he's getting a lot more calls than in prior years about aphids being found in Christmas trees.

He says it's likely due the weather up north where the trees are coming from.

"I would assume it's because there haven't been any cold snaps up there," David says.