Subject: Please don’t be bed bugs…
January 25, 2015 3:57 am
As I was cleaning the house this morning, I removed the blankets from the couch in the living room to be washed. When I pulled one of the blankets up, I noticed about 5 tan colored insects sitting on the couch underneath where the blanket had been. I don’t deal well with bugs, so I immediately grabbed my vacuum and sucked each of them up. Then I decided I may as well vacuum the whole house. I moved to the other side of the room and started vacuuming up the pine needles on the carpet from my live Christmas tree… then I noticed the same bugs! Soon I discovered the tree was infested with them. I decided to throw the tree outside to the curb, decorations and all. When I threw the tree down, a swarm of bugs flew out of the tree and away. I finished vacuuming the entire house right after and haven’t been able to find anymore. I managed to take a blurry pic of one. The bugs were around the size of a lady bug with a tan coloration and six legs. The ones I sucked up with th e vacuum didn’t look or act as though they had wings, but the same looking bugs on the tree almost all had wings. In the pic, the bug is crawling across a stereo speaker. The tree was a Norwegian Spruce, if that matters. Thanks for your help!
Signature: Squeam Queen
Dear Squeam Queen,
Many folks feel squeamish around insects. Unfortunately, there is not enough detail in your image to make a conclusive identification. The location where you found this critter would be indicative that they might have been Bed Bugs, but if you are certain the insects on the Christmas Tree are identical, then we can rule out Bed Bugs. Live Christmas Trees often carry living creatures, and one of the most common insects found on live trees is the Giant Conifer Aphid. Giant Conifer Aphids often are not noticed until the tree begins to dry out and the Aphids begin to die. Aphids are found in both winged forms and those that lack wings. The most puzzling aspect of this for us is how Giant Conifer Aphids would have gotten from the tree to under the blanket on the couch. Perhaps a pet?
Eeeeeeeek! Pleeeeease not bed bugs…
Yes, I have 2 cats. I was actually cleaning the apartment as part of my routine for dealing with fleas when I noticed the other creepy crawlers.
Never saw them before and haven’t seen them after. I guess if I see another one I’ll just jar it to learn what I’m dealing with. I’m pretty sure what I saw on the tree was the same as what I sucked up on the couch. I can’t be 100% certain though as it’s kind of a blur now… I was pretty terrified.
I was doing some research on my own before contacting you when I learned about Giant Conifer Aphids. The body looks remarkably like what I saw but the color wasn’t quite right and I haven’t been able to find an image of a light tan colored Giant Conifer Aphid… so I’m really unsure and quite honestly a bit panicked. I don’t really know what to do unless I know what I’m dealing with, you know? Hopefully I’ll catch one so I can know for sure. Thank you for helping me, I really appreciate it.
Hi again Squeam Queen,
We are speculating that the cats were interested in your Christmas Tree and that they also sleep on the couch, which explains how the Aphids could have migrated from tree to couch.