Keep Christmas tree critters out of your home this holiday

Keep Christmas tree critters out of your home this holiday
(Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Do you know what you're bringing into your home this Christmas? For those buying that real tree it could be an infestation.

It's that time of the year to brush up and clean up. Christmas tree lots are putting their best firs forward for customers.

"Something bushy. Something pretty. I would like my house to smell good," Deana Stone said as she was hunting for her perfect tree at the Valley View Christmas Tree lot in Marana.

Ashlee Walling manages the lot near Cortaro Road and Interstate 10. Now in her fifth year working at the lot, she can feel the festive spirit in the air.

"The tent's even cooler than it is outside because we keep the trees so watered down," she said. "It just gives you that real Christmas smell. That feeling of the holidays are here."

But she's keeping a close eye on quality, on the lookout for little critters. Specifically, those insects that somehow survive the intense inspection process before the trees even arrive on her lot.

"They lay a white sheet out. They take the trees. They open them up. They lay them down and hit them with a mallet and they check for any bugs in the trees. Then they wrap them back up and bring them here to the stands," she said.

According to the pest control company Safer Brand, as many as 25,000 bugs could be lurking in that fresh tree.

"Most microscopic bugs living in Christmas trees are not dangerous to people," the company's website said. "These tree-dwellers quickly die from starvation or desiccation once you bring them inside."

While many might hope for apple products, sleigh-bells, or beautiful bracelets this Christmas, what they don't want is aphids, spiders, and bark beetles. Those are some of the most common insects that might be found lurking in the trees.

As a last line of defense, before bringing the tree inside, Safer Brand suggests leaving the tree in the garage for a few days before decorating.

"This will allow you to see if there are any other bugs venturing out from the tree and to help the tree settle," the website states.

Giving it a good shake before bringing it inside is also recommended.

Or, become your own exterminator with some easy household products, Walling said.

"Soap and water. Spray it with soap and water. That way it's safe for you, it's safe for your family, and it's safe for your pets. What it will do is it will suffocate the insects."


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