For years, my wife and I relied on a fake Christmas tree every time that December rolled around. We thought it would help us save a buck.
But with three rambunctious children rambling around the house, the old tree started to look pretty shoddy after just a couple of Christmases. Its branches thinned, and fake needles littered the floor.
That was when we decided to make the switch to a real evergreen. But reports about what might be hitchhiking on said tree is enough to make the entomophobic wish for scattered pieces of green plastic.
WCVB has drawn attention to a startling fact: “Since tree bugs go dormant during cold months, you might not notice them at first.
“But once the tree is inside your warm home, they’ll wake up. Yikes. And apparently there could be up to 25,000 bugs in one Christmas tree.”
The very thought of all those creepy critters is enough to make my skin crawl. Just what kind of insects can one expect to come skittering out from the branches of his Tannenbaum?
A lot of them will sound pretty familiar. Ticks, aphids, mites and praying mantises have all hitched rides on evergreens.
Other known creepy crawlies include bark beetles (which burrow into tree trunks) and adelgids (which like to suck sap). Some estimates even say that there could be 25,000 insects on your beloved tree.
So should you ditch the real-life tree? Are metal and plastic better than bark and sap?
Not really. In fact, WebMD urges caution when it comes to, well, caution about your Christmas tree. Things aren’t as dire as they might sound.
For one thing, that 25,000-bug number is only an estimate, not a scientific fact. WebMD author Kathleen Doheny spoke with entomologists regarding the potential insect risk.
She wrote, “The consensus was: Inspect the tree, shake it, relax, and enjoy it. Maybe get out the vacuum.”
Indeed, any other steps are probably overkill. And in the case of aerosol bug repellents, ThoughtCo urges you to avoid them entirely.
The main reason why is that their propellants are flammable and could set your tree ablaze. There’s another practical reason, too.
“Insects require humidity to live, and most will desiccate and die within a matter of days. Additionally, they will be unable to survive without food.
“It is much safer, and better for your health, to simply vacuum up any dead insects you find.” Even better, give your tree a good shake before bringing it into the house, and most of the creepy crawlies will simply slough off.