WEST MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- As you go to pick out a Christmas tree this holiday season, be on the lookout for creepy crawlers living on the branches.
Pest control company Safer Brand warns your tree could be carrying with it 25,000 bugs - from flies, beetles, mites, to even preying mantises.
Strathmeyer Christmas Trees says its only heard of a preying mantis pod hatching about twice over 30 years, and people buying trees say they're even less worried.
Some folks checking out potential trees at a Strathmeyer's location at the York Fair Grounds in West Manchester Township.
“I think I’m going to take this one," Nedd Kopp of New Salem tells Fox 43.
Kopp hopes to take home a sturdy tree, but first, his wife must approve.
“Not real big. It’s filled out good. It has a straight trunk. That’s what I look for," he said.
Kopp is not worried about bugs living in his tree.
"No, nut uh. I don’t worry about the bugs," added Kopp.
“I’ve never thought about bugs," said Dusty Bandow of West Manchester Township. She says she has heard of two tree horror stories, though.
“My sister and dad both bought a live Christmas tree, and they ended up having bugs," she said.
The critters went everywhere.
“They were all over the house. They were flying little bugs. It was like they were dormant in the tree, and then they came alive," said Bandow.
Experts say the bugs are fairly harmless, more a nuisance. Mites, spiders, aphids, beetles, sawflies, and preying mantises could be on Christmas trees. If a mantis pod hatches, it could get ugly.
“In about a week to 10 days, you’ll have a hundred preying mantises crawling all over your house," said Gerrit Strathmeyer, co-owner of Strathmeyer.
Since the holiday season only comes once, Strathmeyer says he just wants tree buyers to have a great experience.
“You’re selling the Christmas experience and the Christmas tradition," he said.
Experts say you should shake your tree before bringing it inside. Also, look for white specs or what looks like snow covering cause those could be critters as well.
Penn State University's Department of Entomology released these tips to protect you from Christmas tree critters.