One afternoon, while my children were at school, I thought I’d surprise them by setting up the Christmas tree (just the tree) so that when they arrived home, I would shrill something like “IIIIIII-IT’S CHRISTMAS TREE TIIIIIIME!”… then we would all start decorating the tree straight away. Ho ho ho, it would be so much fun.
So I went into my shed and dragged out the Christmas tree box. But something was wrong.
The box was rotten, damp, eaten away and moldy – I was NOT HAPPY.
I’ve had this Christmas Tree for 11 years! It was the tree I had bought when my husband and I got married and shared our first Christmas together.
I’ve kept it in pristine condition, in its original box, with all the small parts in a zip lock bag… and to see it eaten away like this made me really emotional.
Then I flipped the lid open and — OH MY GOD!
The box was CRAWLING WITH ANTS! I thought maybe a rat crawled into the box and died inside, so the ants were feasting on the dead rat?
Or someone left a Christmas cookie stuck to the tree (from last Christmas)?
Nope. There were no reason for the ants to be there, except that the Christmas tree box was cool, dry and dark. It was ant heaven!
Upon further inspection, I found this…
I was so disgusted and flabbergasted, but I was also intrigued. I had never seen ant eggs before.They looked like little grains of rice, or little white jelly beans. They were so gross, but so cute.
OK so what do I do now?
I was tempted to just THROW THE WHOLE TREE INTO THE BIN and then go out to the shops to buy another one. No one would notice except me.
But I was struck by my sensible, sentimental reasoning, and the fact that I don’t really like to waste things.
So I carefully set up the tree on the lawn.
It was swarming with ants and it was covered in the tiny white ant eggs.
Ironically, from afar, the tree looked as if it was covered in a light dusting of white snow that gently sprinkled onto the ground every time I knocked it slightly. How lovely.
I turned on the hose and I blasted the tree with water. I washed all the ants and eggs off the tree and I decided to let nature sort them out.
I even used a bit of pine scented soap (oh the irony!) and after that… the tree was good as new!
Here’s to another year of Christmas!