SUNDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Ornaments are not the only
things nestled in the branches of the average real Christmas tree.
Thousands of small bugs may be hiding in the fir tree you bring
into your home, but they pose little risk, according to an insect
Research has shown that a single Christmas tree may contain as
many as 25,000 individual bugs, such as bark lice, mites, moths and
spiders, said Bjarte Jordal, an associate professor at the
University Museum of Bergen in Norway.
The bugs in these trees have gone into hibernation, but may
reawaken when the tree is brought into the warmth of your home.
Most of them stay in the tree and quickly die, so you don't have to
worry about bugs swarming out of your tree, and there is no risk to
people or furniture, Jordal explained in a university news
He also said that there is a minimal risk from ticks that may be
carried in with the tree. However, if you want to be extra
cautious, you might want to avoid letting your dog sleep under the
It's impossible to spot the bugs because they are good at hiding
and are invisible to the human eye. If you're curious about how
many bugs were in your tree, you can pound it on a white cloth
before your throw it out after the holidays are over, Jordal
There is no way to flush or clean a Christmas tree to make it
bug-free, and trying to do so will just damage the tree, he pointed
"You need to take into consideration that there are plenty of insects and bugs in potted plants that are regular features in most households," Jordal said in the news release. "It's no different with Christmas trees."
The American Christmas Tree Association offers
Christmas tree safety tips.