We obsess over proper watering, fire hazards, and pet safety — but do we ever really think about what our real Christmas trees might be adding to our home other than holiday cheer?
Maybe that real Christmas tree shortage this year isn't such bad news after all—unless you're an exterminator. Southern Living reports that — just like any other real plant we bring from the outdoors in — our Christmas trees are harboring a whole habitat of hibernating bugs (up to 25,000 in total), from mites and spiders to aphids and praying mantises and more.
The magazine interviewed experts in organic pest control and etymology who point out that when the trees go from the (typically) cooler temps outside where they were cut on the tree farm or stored at the tree lot to the cozy warmth of inside your home, those bugs "wake up thinking it's spring" and cause some domestic side effects that are the opposite of merry and bright.
One of the top tips (which my husband and I indirectly followed, thanks to a shortage of available tree stands) is to leave your real Christmas tree in the garage or on a porch for a day or two before bringing it inside, then shake it out to dislodge any critters. (This may also help with needle-sweeping, the second least-favorite Christmas chore after stringing up the lights.)
Whatever you do, especially if your tree is already up and decorated, do not spray any pesticides on your tree — they are highly flammable.
Check out the full video and tips over on Southern Living.