Do Real Christmas Trees Harbor Bugs?

Do real Christmas trees have bugs in them?

treeHappy Hirtzel/Shutterstock

Taking the family to cut down a pine tree in December, or venturing to a lot to purchase one, can be a big event for celebrators of Christmas. It’s a tradition, a moment the family can enjoy together, and moreover, a calculated decision regarding which tree suits your needs. Is it tall enough? Full enough? Healthy enough? One thing people might not be taking into consideration, though, is whether or not it is a refuge for bugs.

Here’s a look at some of the most popular Christmas tree species.

Shake Your Tree Before Bringing it Home

Every living tree is subject to insects, mites and spiders, including Christmas trees. One simple thing you can do to make sure you bring the least amount of these critters into your home is to vigorously shake your tree outside before bringing it in. Not only will this toss away the bugs and other critters, but it will remove loose needles, making for a cleaner tree and home.

Check out these tips and hacks that make having a real tree in your house easier.

Bugs Will Stay on the Christmas Tree

These critters are, of course, simply living on a live tree found in nature. Though it’s a natural habitat for them, it’s unlikely you’ll be thrilled to see them exiting the tree toward sources of light in your home. Most of them will stay on your tree, if not shaken off before coming into your home. Allowing them to stay provides no harm to you or your tree. Your best bet, then, is to leave them undisturbed, allowing them to exit with the tree when the holiday is over.

If you put your tree up in November, there’s always a chance it will dry out. Make sure that doesn’t happen by following these tips.

Bugs Will Eventually Die on Christmas Tree

If you’re concerned about a tree full of crawling critters, don’t worry. The climate in your home—warm temperatures, low humidity—and the lack of food sources for them, will typically kill them soon after your tree is put up and decorated.

Remove Bird Nests

If you find a bird nest on your tree, you should remove it by hand since it may contain bird parasites like mites and lice. Egg masses on trees (from insects such as praying mantis and gypsy moth), if not removed by shaking, should also be carefully removed by hand.

Water Your Christmas Tree to Prevent Fire Hazards

Keep your Christmas tree fire-safe by keeping it watered. Buy it fresh, pull light plugs overnight, keep it well away from candles, fireplaces and other heat sources. Here’s more on Christmas tree safety.

Do Not Use Inspect Sprays on Your Christmas Tree

Be mindful not to use any aerosol insect sprays on your tree to remove critters, since they are highly flammable. For any bugs that leave the tree and collect on ceilings, walls or windows, simply suck them up with a vacuum cleaner.

We’ve collected some of the best Christmas tree decorating ideas from the past few years for your inspiration this holiday season.

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Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: