We are all following the chronicles of the Oneonta owl that traveled from our Capital Region to the Big Apple after his home became the Nation’s most famous Christmas Tree for 2020. What you might not know is that this happens more frequently than you might think.

Just last year, a family in Georgia had an Eastern Screech owl living for days among owl ornaments within their decorated Christmas tree! In Australia, a woman had a ten foot Python wrapped around the trunk of her tree!

Many of us Capital Region residents took advantage of the mild weather this weekend to get our Christmas trees, and luckily the weather isn’t balmy enough for a Python to be hiding out in any trees harvested in our area.

It did get me thinking though, as we drove home from Ballston Spa with the tree we chose after riding the trolley out through the Christmas tree farm with our dog, Mondo, and a number of other families. Each small group had set out to the find the perfect tree to bring into their home in hopes of creating the setting for the season. As we each cut down our chosen tree it’s unlikely anyone was thinking about the home that we were relocating. While having a cute little owl in an orange sweater might be exciting the reality isn’t quite as…Saw-whet. Instead most of us will be bringing home creepy, crawly, Christmas critters and here’s a list of tenacious tenants:

Spiders and mites: Douglas and Fraser Fir, White Pine,

Spruce Aphids: Balsam, Fraser, and White Fir

Adelgids/Scale insects: Norway Spruce, Scotch Pine Sawfly: Spruce and Pine

Praying Mantises: Any type of Christmas Tree

I even managed to catch Poison Ivy from last year's tree! From the list of Christmas critters the one I’ve encountered most over the years has been the spider. Never a welcome guest in our home I was happy to discover the Ukrainian tale of the Christmas spider to put a positive spin on the creepy guests. In this Christmas story, the family is too poor to decorate their tree so as they sleep friendly spiders spin decorative webs that turn to silver and gold to the amazement of the children when they wake. Some claim that this is the origin of the use of tinsel.

Some recommendations for keeping house pests or guests to a minimum: -Shake your tree. Much like Steve Miller’s Peach tree your Christmas Tree will benefit from a vigorous shake. Many farms such as the one we went to provide this service at no extra charge. -vacuum frequently. As the needles fall, critters will move and frequent clean up will keep them from venturing far from the nest. -Diatomaceous Earth. Use of this non-toxic powder is completely pet safe and will rid your tree of insects. One last recommendation, much like the Oneonata owl who traveled such a long road and was recently released back into the wild, you too can gently move any unwanted roomies outside to find their way back.


KEEP READING: See how animals around the world are responding to COVID-19


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