To tree or not to tree? That’s a question many would-be Christmas tree buyers may be pondering this season, in the wake of provocative headlines like “Christmas trees are CRAWLING with insects” and “Warm winter could mean unwanted insects in Christmas trees.”
Here’s the bottom line: yes, there are sometimes insects in Christmas trees. But no–most of these insects aren’t biters, stingers, house-harmers or infesters. The vast majority are tiny, sleepy critters who just picked the wrong pine to winter in, or eggs waiting for warmer temperatures to hatch. These insects may become active briefly indoors, but normally can’t survive long inside.
That said, there are always exceptions to the rule. Perhaps the most concerning is the possibility of bird parasites, some of which can bite people and infest a home. Be safe and shake trees out before bringing them indoors, remove any nesting material and dispose of it, and dispose of any egg sacs on the tree.
Pennsylvania State’s College of Agricultural Sciences offers a great overview of some of the more common pests found in Christmas trees and how to remove them on their website, which we’ve condensed into a handy infographic below.