PHOENIX - You could be bringing home much more than a fresh Christmas tree this holiday season.
"There can be up to 25,000 different species of insects that can be brought in by Christmas trees," says Brad Olsen, the owner of Urban Desert Pest Control.
"When you buy trees here, it could be the first time it's exposed to warmer temperatures because they're bought from Washington, Oregon or the Utah area. Then you take that tree in over 75 degrees and even in Arizona you could have a real problem," Olsen says.
Many of these critters are essentially hibernating in cold temperatures and may only wake up inside the warmth of your home. "All pest control companies deal with that this time of year," Olsen says.
Of course many people still love real trees.
"They smell great," Cameron Kerner says after buying a tree from Valley View Christmas trees in Phoenix.
Kerner's wife, Christie, agrees with her husband's love of a fresh tree.
"It's just kind of not Christmas without a real tree, who wants a fake one?" Christie said.
The Kerner's aren't concerned with the risk of bugs and that's partially because they take proper steps to prevent an infestation.
Olsen says it's important to do a few things...
1. Shake the tree before bringing inside.
2. Let the tree sit outside for 24 hours before bringing inside.
3. Cut the bottom limbs off the tree to give spiders and other bugs less surface area to live. This is also the part of the tree most bugs live.
Olsen also warns fake tree owners of the risk of storing their tree and decorations.
"If they're stored in an attic or garage or storage unit, you're dealing with roaches, you're dealing with scorpions. It's the perfect hiding space for natural bugs. Even mice and rats because the love the cardboard as well," Olsen says.
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