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When bringing a fresh Christmas tree into your house, keep an eye out for bugs

A child drags a tree at Wells Christmas Tree Farm in Norman.
Anna Pope
A child drags a tree at Wells Christmas Tree Farm in Norman.

Fresh-cut Christmas trees often house overwintering insects. They might be hard to see, but when they move into a warm spot — like your living room — they become active.

Oklahoma State University Extension specialists say insects like praying mantises found in the trees are harmless and can be vacuumed up if unknowingly brought inside.

But it's important to protect some insects because they eat invasive species. So if an egg sac is found on a branch, specialists suggest cutting it off and bringing it outside.

To avoid pests after cutting a tree at a farm, put your tree on a shaker for 30 seconds to remove loose needles and most bugs.

If you don’t have access to a shaker, like at many Christmas tree farms, tap the tree trunk on the ground, use a leaf blower or compressed air to get rid of insects before putting your tree on display.

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Anna Pope is a reporter covering agriculture and rural issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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