Poor Laura Beck. The stockings are hung, the egg nog is mixed, the gifts are wrapped, and all is set for a warm and happy holiday EXCEPT OMG TEH BUGS ARE RUINING EVERYTHING:

…it turns out the beloved Christmas Pine doubles as a half-way house for mites, moths, spiders, and something disgustingly named ‘bark lice’. Puke/Shudder.

I know many of us grew up with Christmas trees — shit, some of us have these terrifying beasts in our apartments as I type — and we’re all fine (I THINK), but that’s not going to stop me from taking ten scalding hot showers and febreezing the whole damn thing.

(from jezebel)

Who are these Christmas-destroying monsters?

A herd of bark lice in Tolima, Colombia.

I think of bark lice as tiny buggy bison. These pudgy little insects graze across vast plains of tree bark, munching on lichen and fungus, and generally minding their own business. Bark lice do not bite people, they do not carry human diseases, and they pose no risk to structures. They are about as innocuous as an insect can be.

The fate of most bark lice roused from winter hibernation by an unplanned trip to Laura Beck’s living room is death. They are fragile creatures, and the artificially dry environment of a heated home will suck the moisture right out of them. An inadvertent rendezvous with a Christmas tree should be a far more traumatic experience for the bugs than for the holiday revelers that host them.

Unless, of course, one has a pathologically irrational fear of arthropods, in which case the proper treatment for bark lice isn’t bug spray but an appointment with a relevant mental health professional.