Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- It's that time of year where families are deciding on a fake Christmas tree or a real one. Well, that decision could get easier once people hear this. Safer Brand, a pest control company, said there could be up to 25,000 bugs living in one real Christmas tree.
News 19 went out to verify whether that was true or false. We spoke with experts and got their thoughts on the claims.
David Jenkins is with the South Carolina Forestry Commission and Mike McCartha is the owner of Hollow Creek Tree Farm in Gilbert.
"There are bugs in the world. There are bugs on the field. But 20,000 bugs on a tree? That sounds like fake tree propaganda. It's an exaggeration beyond the pail," said McCartha.
McCartha and his family have owned Hollow Creek since the late 1970s and he said bugs in his Christmas trees have never been an issue for them.
He said the only tree they worry about is the Virginia Pine because they can get aphids on it, but those are harmless.
"If we don't control that, they can ooze their residue onto your carpet. We spray orthene two times: once in October and once in November. That's it."
Jenkins said he's heard about Praying Mantis on Christmas trees because that's where they lay their eggs.
"When they bring it into the house, and it warms up, the eggs hatch. But they're not a problem," he said.
Jenkins said, at times, the trees may have bark beetles, but he said they won't attack any other wood in the house.
If you are still worried about having bugs in your real Christmas tree, shake the tree off because bringing it inside to decorate. Jenkins does not recommend spraying any pesticides on it because you, your family and pets could be exposed to it.
"I have a real tree, and we've had a real tree for years. We've never had a problem," said Jenkins.
So that leads us to the question: are there up to 25,000 bugs on a real Christmas tree?
"That number seems really high to me," said Jenkins.
"I feel like I'm defending something that doesn't need to be defended," said McCartha.
While there may be some kind of bug on real Christmas trees, Jenkins and McCartha said 25,000 is an extremely high number, so we can verify that this claim is false.
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