Warm winter could mean unwanted insects in Christmas trees

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – An unseasonably warm winter could mean ticks and mites in Christmas tree branches.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of trees are cut, sold and stood up in houses all over the world. But this season has been abnormally warm, and experts say that can bring some unwanted insects hidden in the branches.

Christmas season is an industry all on its own. Troy’s Landscaping sells over 1,500 trees each year. This winter is off to a mild start, and without snow or cold to knock them off the branches, some trees may have insects, such as ticks and mites, settled in for the winter.

“They can shake them out,” tree salesman Justin Burbube said. “If they are nervous, they can go home, set it up in their garage for a day or two. If your garage is warm enough, if there are ticks, that may help them get out.”

If you do find bugs in your tree, don’t spray pesticides on the tree. It’s toxic to breathe in and could cause the tree to catch on fire if it has Christmas lights.

Burbube said there’s no way to know exactly what, if anything, is living in a Christmas tree, so it’s important to remain observant.

“Just be vigilant,” he said. “You check your kids and your dog that you aren’t getting anything like that. A lot of places are like us: They do a good job of making sure that you don’t get the ticks.”

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