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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Risks of Buying Fresh Christmas Tree?

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Author Topic: Risks of Buying Fresh Christmas Tree?
merrygirl
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Christmas is VERY important to me and I think about it months in advance. I was wondering

what the risk is of having ticks living in a freshly cut Christmas tree??

Is there anything I can do to make it safe other than buying a plastic tree??

Thanks

Melissa

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map1131
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Melissa, good question that comes up this time of year.Put Christmas tree in search and you will see treads for the last few years.

I wouldn't put a live tree in my house, I'm too tickified.

Pam

--------------------
"Never, never, never, never, never give up" Winston Churchill

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bettyg
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melissa,

the tick that bite me was from my FOLKS' LIVE XMAS TREE 38 YEARS AGO!!!!

search for the links on xmas trees, and post them here on your current post as it will come up again this month or in dec!


i will avoid homes with live xmas trees!! [cussing]

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merrygirl
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This is a BIG bummer~


http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=049355#000023

[rant]

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Pocono Lyme
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We bought a tall fiberoptic Christmas tree a few years ago because I'm deathly afraid of the possibility of ticks from a live tree.

I got infected while transplanting pine trees.

The funny part is, I still avoid touching the fiberoptic tree. [Big Grin] [bonk]

--------------------
2 Corinthians 12:9-11


9 But he said to me, �My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.� Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ�s power may rest on me.

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Andie333
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I love Christmas too and especially the smell of fresh trees. But after getting sick and reading on this site, we bought an artificial tree two years ago.

It's just not worth it to me.

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Gert
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Wow, what a good post.
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lymebytes
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Stick with a fake tree you can use year after year. I know someone who was infected by a tick brought into her home on a Christmas tree.

I am sure your families health is MUCH more important.

Live trees are loaded with bugs. One year we had a live tree and all we did was spray bug killer constantly - I am sure that being exposed to pesticides didn't help any of us. (All 3 in my home have LD and aren't sure how we got it).

I don't even know how this tradition started, the real meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, I don't think He had a tree in the manger.

Isn't worth it.

Take care.

--------------------
www.truthaboutlymedisease.com

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tailz
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I planted three little pine shrubs in my yard this past summer. Does that mean ticks are going to hang out in my yard now?

I'm more scared of mosquitos and fleas - no tick ever bit me.

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stymielymie
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fyi everybody:

i now own a home in nc moutains, home of christmas trees.
the white house tree was cut from a farm
down the way from me.

many people grow trees here and get money from
the state for doing it.
they get 1 yr growth trees and grow them until
5-20 feet tall.
many people up here don't have front lawns, but grow christmans trees instead.
they are everywhere million and millions.

so tick concerns:
first they use very very pesticides on these trees and for that reason alone ,would not have them in the house.
i actually don't think ticks could live on the trees with this pesticide.
i was told by several doctors and 2 pharmacists,
they have never seen a case of chronic lyme here.
i was the first case from asheville to Duke.
i told them all bullc--p.
if you have millions of deer, your have billions of mice, you have ticks period.
i would think maybe tick bites are not as frequent, as the ticks and lavae probably get killed with the very cold winter.

the mildest winter in western philadelphia was the worst season for fleas and ticks and lyme.

so the answer i would suggest is definitely
no!!!!!!!!
no tree, no ticks, no toxic pesticides.

buy plastic and glade evergreen.

docdave

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Keebler
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-

Okay, this is just from memory, but I am pretty sure I read that it takes a temperature of -17 F to kill a tick. They may have their hiding places and all, but seventeen below zero. It rarely gets that cold before Christmas anywhere.

I just tried to verify that temp, but can't easily find it.

The heavy pesticides on the trees is a good point, too.

"Custom-made" trees have come a long way. You might find a very lovely one. When it's all decorated, with the aroma of cinnamon and apples wafting from the oven, you'll be captivated by the lights and overall spirit of Christmas.

Still, if you really want a real tree, there may be a way.

-

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Just Julie
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This topic came up at least 5 years ago. I read with interest, posted my own experiences.

I am now 5 years with an artificial tree in our home. My family members "fought" this issue, as we had always had a live tree. It does smell great, and the tradition of a "real" tree is hard to come up against, if you do not have a united family front on this issue. It can be very tough to go up against, I have been there. You would not think that something like this, where safety is the first concern, would even be fought over, but it does happen!

That said, I did prevail. I have on most fronts when it comes to tick avoidance issues. I become mama bear, and I am formidable. My husband and kids realize that there is no use in "fighting" with me over something that means a possible relapse. I am just not gonna budge. I tell them occasionally, that "when I'm gone" you can do what you like, but as long as I am the homemaker, these are the rules you're gonna go by.

My only advice on this is that there is NO risk involved when you have a fake tree. You never wonder, you never worry. You don't 2nd guess your decision, or wonder where your tree "came from" or if it's covered with ticks, or covered with pesticides. There are no spiders living in it (have heard a black widow story or two) or any other type of bug.

I have found peace. My family is finally reconciled with my decision, and no longer make barbed comments on what I'm putting up in the living room. It is just another "xmas decoration" in my mind. As I do not believe that that a tree symbolizes what I believe Christmas to be about, it is just one of many decorations I put up for the season.

Don't get me wrong, I grew up with a real tree, and it is a part of my history, memories and childhood tradition! But my memories now, that I choose to make in a positive way, are not going to be of an issue of whether mom put a fake tree up, or not.

Downplaying the switch, is best. You can certainly switch the color of lights you put up every year, and the type/color of garland, if you put that on the tree too, that change the "look" of the tree from year to year, and I do this to keep my fake tree from looking "identical" to last year's (or year before) and am overall, most happy with my decision.

My personal outlook (for almost everything) is if you know better, and choose to do something anyway, then you really can't complain about the consequences, can you?

--------------------
Julie

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Robin123
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Setting aside the issue of whether pesticides are already on the tree, what about the idea of spraying the heck out of the tree with something like TKO Orange, which includes the ingredient d'limonene, from oranges, which kills bugs, including ticks? It's biodegradable, orange smell wears off in about one-half hour, bugs stay away for about 24 hours, I'm told.

You can get a concentrated form of it from www.TKOOrange.com, put a small amount in a spray bottle, fill it up with water, and it'll foam up. Or you can get a diluted version from hardware stores.

Already I have heard reports of people using TKO Orange in their yards, on their campsite, diluted amount on the dog, sprayed around the home if needed -- altho I'm not sure if this is a good idea if you have a cat. Also, I don't put it on my skin 'cause it stings a little. It's not to be used if anyone is allergic to orange citrus.

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D Bergy
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I guess it depends on where you live. In Northern MN the ticks are long gone by the time we get a Christmas tree. It is to freakin cold for them.

I am not sure about the warmer latitudes.

D Bergy

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Rene
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I know of one person on this board whose child contracted lyme from the bringing in the Christmas tree. Its a fake tree for me.
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Keebler
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--

Exactly where do ticks go in winter ?

--

Robin123,

that orange spray is a good idea - There is a recent thread here on BUZZ OFF - your post may be a helpful suggestion there if it could be sprayed onto outer clothing for a walk in the woods.

-

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map1131
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Ticks find a warmer home. They might crawl into the bark of a nice tree and wait for the temperature to rise and then come out to feed. Maybe once they get in your nice cozy warm family room?

Pam

--------------------
"Never, never, never, never, never give up" Winston Churchill

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Elinor
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I found this online but don't know how credible it is...
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/news/2006/nov/072001.htm

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Gert
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quote:
Originally posted by Elinor:
I found this online but don't know how credible it is...
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/news/2006/nov/072001.htm

Hmmmmmmm, that was interesting. I have to wonder though how credible that really is. I still believe they can live in a tree.

Do they have 100% proof they don't?

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TexasLyme
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Elinor
From my experience that(ticks don't climb trees) is absolutely NOT true. I worked for the USFS for years in the Northwest, and did a lot of backpacking and mountain climbing, too.

We would constantly find ticks on the lower limbs of the understory(new little) trees, especially along game trails. On bad days we would 'flick' dozens of ticks! That is where I was 'lymed'.

Dave

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sickoflyme07
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That is exactly HOW I came into contact w/ ticks [Frown]

Last year, we decided to be environmentally kind and decided to purchase a potted xmas tree from a local nursery w/ the intent to plant it outdoors after the holidays and when it was warm enough.

Lo and behold ~ one day, I woke up and a nest of ticks had hatched and were literally hundreds of them crawling on the floor. I did my best to clean/ kill them, yet, they still got me. I am assuming they hatched from the soil?? Not sure~ but they WERE ticks.

So, with that said, be careful with the trees you buy.

This year and the years to come, we will have a fake tree.

This whole experience from the xmas tree has also made me terrified of even purchasing potted household plants [Frown] you just never know.

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Just Julie
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Finding a hatched tick nest would drive me right into the nearest looney bin, literally. I would probably start screaming and never stop.

I have 2 of my neighbor friends who've described tick nests happening to them, and friend #1 told me of the time she was a young girl, climbed a PINE tree (certainly not a xmas type pine, but still a pine TREE) and she was near the top of the tree, and discovered a tick nest, and subsequent tick attachments to her body, even though she did her best to get away from the nest. Friend #2 was squatting down in the brush (no, not a tree, but around tree brush) to pee, and found she had "squatted" right into a tick nest.

Both stories made me cringe, as both my friends do not believe their myriad symptoms that they've described to me to be lyme disease.

But, I do have 2 personally related stories regarding tick nests told to me, and I do not discount that there are ticks in trees one little bit. Not even when a scientific type journal article adamantly states "there are no ticks in trees".

--------------------
Julie

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bettyg
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elinor and gert,

could you both help us all out ok?

would you use www.tinyurl.com by editing your 2 posts with the SUPER LONG addresses, and use tinyurl to get the small one, then paste it to the TWO threads with the WIDE addresses?

then delete the SUPER LONG ADDRESSES ON THOSE 2 POSTS, leaving the SHORT address instead.

this keeps the width normal vs. scrolling back an forth on each line.


to do this, click on pencil/paper icon, the nclick on your SUPER LONG 1st site..

copy that link,

now bring up a another open window, and click on tinyurl address above..

when it opens, paste in your long address where it calls for it,

and then bring the tiny one back to your other open window putting it in there, and deleting the LONG ONE.. click edit send when done

now go to the other one below it that is really long; do same procedure there.

thanks; more people can read this way using tinyurls!


gert, fyi, you would NOT have to quote elinor since your post is directly below elinors. so you could just delete her quote, and show your comments to her by showing her name prior to your comments!


fyi, this was posted after I WROTE LOCAL AMES, IOWA NEWSPAPER ABOUT MY GETTING BITTEN BY XMAS TREE TICK! newspaer editor didn't believe it, called ISU entomology, and they then put out something and NOW THIS ONE! HOG WASH! they don't know what they are talking about.

i will PURSUE with them let me assure you this!!!
**********************************************
[cussing]

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Julie51
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I get a fake tree and by a scented pine candle for the smell of a real tree...Yankie candles are great for the xmas tree smell...Well for the 21.00 for the candle....And not getting lyme...Much cheaper... [Smile]

Julie

--------------------
Julie

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Just Julie
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Minitails, that is a fabulous idea! I would not have thought of it. . . but if you do buy a "live tree" and do what you have done, you most assuredly can find out whether this particular tree has anything "living" in it, or something ready to hatch and climb out. As you would be able to ascertain this before bringing it into the house (and size does matter in a case like this, at least for me) that peace of mind would come along with the pine tree smell, and wa-la, christmas smell is back!

Thanks for mentioning this creative way to still have a live tree, without dousing it with a pesticide, or worrying the brain into a little corner about whether you're exposing your family to yet another lyme nightmare.

Have not heard this kind of creative solution in all the years I read about this same issue coming up about live vs. fake trees. I so appreciate it!

Oh, environmentally, I am also in the boat of why support the cutting down of trees for the brief period of being able to achieve a "christmas feeling" even if the xmas tree farms replant every tree they cut, it still does not sit well in my mind about the whole concept. That factored into my overall good feeling about buying fake, and not going back to even consider for a tiny second, the practice of using a live tree as a Christmas decoration.

--------------------
Julie

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merrygirl
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The thought of a tick nest is freaking me out.

I am so disapointed but safety first.

MElissa

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Virginia of Yore
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One other thing to watch out for in real Christmas trees is small snakes. I heard of a case where someone almost got bitten by a poisonous one that was hiding in the tree when he bought it. (Probably came from a warmer southern region.)

On ticks, even though deerticks don't normally "climb" trees, a lot of trees may be piled or dragged on the ground in the harvesting process, and may pick up ticks then.

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map1131
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Two years ago at our lake home, my husband sawed off some branches from some pine trees. Yes, this is years after we both had discoved ticks can carry horrible disease. I was nervous watching him doing this.

He was so tired of me harping on him about spraying himself with OFF. I decided to keep my mouth shut, but my stupidity continued. I knew the yard and the gravel area were all treated just that week.

I proceeded to help him carry those limbs down to the fire pit. I didn't spray myself either. Oh well, just carrying some pine tree limbs.

Two hours later there was some itching going on my underwear line. You guessed it....I found two lone star ticks attached. I went nuts. My husband was made to strip down, two lone star ticks attached to him on his arm. I

Then we did the same to myself. I didn't trust my husbands eyes at all. I did myself again and found another.

One of those tick bites gave me trouble for 6 months. No doubt in my experience, ticks live in pine trees.

Pam

--------------------
"Never, never, never, never, never give up" Winston Churchill

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Just Julie
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Pam, I am so sorry! I can feel your pain. I have "been there" with the thinking "well, it's just xyz, and I'm sure I'll be fine" type of thought process and the frustration of being so vigilant, for so long, only to find that by doing "xy or z" you discover a TICK!

Aiyee!!!!!! I myself decided to back down a bit from my "overvigilance" (only termed this in MY mind) and went to a barn dance in the dead of winter here in NOrthern CA, down a country lane near where I live.

I did not walk thru tall grass to get to the barn, where the festivities were in full swing. It was nighttime, and I was walking on a dirt path to the barn, under some tree cover.

I spent maybe 1-2 hours, tops, in the arena part of the barn. I sat on a hay bale while I ate my bbq dinner. I spent the rest of my time there walking in the dirt arena, watching all the people listening to the band play. I did not visit any of the horses that were in their stalls around the arena, and yet, I came home to discover a LIVE TICK crawling on my abdomen, at the underwear elastic area.

I was MORTIFIED! I went into a mild hysteria, which embarrassed my son, his friend, and my family, as I simply couldn't control my reaction. I wanted to beat myself with a bat for letting my guard down. . . I literally wanted to tear out my hair or flagellate myself or something. I could NOT believe how stupid I had let myself get. Such a false sense of security, I had no clue as to why I had dropped my guard!

This was winter 2004. I immediately put myself on doxy until I consulted with my LLMD the following Monday. I had been off of all abx for months, and was not backsliding. I went onto 6 weeks of abx, and then off.

I continue to be vigilant, and do NOT let anyone or any voice in my head give me the permission to "back off". I learned, the hard way, that if/when you do, you can expect a hard lesson.

Thus coming to the conclusion of mine, if you know better, and do it anyway, you can't be surprised at the consequences---and this lesson can be deadly.

I won't go down without a fight!

--------------------
Julie

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eliza85
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great question and answers speaking from someone just learning about all of this. I probably wouldnt have even thought about the Christmas trees.

P.S. I myself have a "fake" tree. love real ones but the mess got me. I have friends that do have real ones though.

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Tracy9
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I'm so sad about this. My whole life we have had a real tree; but my husband found this thread and now it's over.....

I would have done it anyway, though I think the rest of you are smart. The thing is; we live on 26 wooded acres in rural CT. There is no way to avoid ticks. I pick deer ticks off my cats every day with my bare fingers and just flush them. I'm not afraid of them if they aren't embedded for a while.

Which is weird, because I am terrified of spiders and would never touch them; though they can't hurt me.

I took my son for a walk in our woods and when we got home stripped him and removed two imbedded ticks from his leg. Again, they weren't there long; so I wasn't worried.

Don't they have to be attached for a while to transmit something? After I remove them I watch the area for a couple weeks for any signs of a rash; but I dont' know how to avoid getting them.

Even if we don't go in the woods, which is a shame, we get them in our yard, our garden, or from our animals. We have an outdoor wood burning furnace, and have to cut down wood and fill it daily in the winter.

I have stopped hanging my clothes on the line, rarely if ever walk on the trails in the woods, and always strip and shower after being outside in any tall grass or near bushes or trees. I check all the animals daily plus treat them regularly with Frontline. I try not to let them out, and in the summer we don't let the dog in.

But does this mean the end to hiking? Or practically all outdoor activities for those of us who live in the country? It just seems so unrealistic...and unfair. I mean, our woods always have hikers....should no one ever hike again? Or have woodstoves?

What do we do?

Plus I figure right now we are already sick and on meds, so if we get a tick, what more can happen???

I guess I thought we were fairly safe as long as we took off our clothes, showered and checked ourselves after being outside, especially near the woods.

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13 years Lyme & Co.; Small Fiber Neuropathy; Myasthenia Gravis, Adrenal Insufficiency. On chemo for 2 1/2 years as experimental treatment for MG.

Posts: 4480 | From Northeastern Connecticut | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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