What's hidden in your Christmas tree - and why you may want to keep it outside

It could hold more than tinsel

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Choosing a Christmas tree

We drape our Christmas trees in tinsel, adorn them with fairy lights, deck them in baubles and generally love to jazz them up.

But even without all this ornamentation, there might be a lot more to our Christmas trees than first meets the eye.

Just ask the 25,000 critters to whom your tree is home sweet home.

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Research has revealed that legions of lice, mites, moths and spiders are lurking in Christmas trees, slumbering away in hibernation. At least, until you bring your festive tree out of the cold, and into the warmth of your home.

"[Bugs] hibernate for the winter and usually empty their bodies of fluids, produce a chilled liquid and become completely inactive," said Bjarte Jordal, associate professor of the University Museum of Bergen told IB Times.

Credits: Cultura RF

"Upon feeling the heat and being awakened by the light, they believe that springtime has arrived and spring back to life.

"If you pound the tree on a white cloth before you throw it out after Christmas, you will discover quite a number of small bugs."

Unless you have allergies, these surprise visitors shouldn't present too much of a problem.

The study also found that most mites will remain on the trees and soon die owing to a lack of food available to them indoors.

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Credits: Caiaimage

Should you want to avoid these gatecrashers altogether, Professor Jordal recommended that householders purchase locally grown hardwood trees, as these are most likely to have limited fauna, which is conducive for insects.

"But you should by no means clean or flush the tree free of bugs as this will damage the tree," he added.

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"You need to take into consideration that there are plenty of insects and bugs in potted plants that are regular features in most households.

"As we all know, these attract plenty of flies. It's no different with Christmas trees."

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