PITTSBURGH — The live Christmas tree is the centerpiece of countless Christmas stories and movies, but some people worry about what they are bringing in with the tree.
An insect expert at Penn State, Michael Skvarla, said the most common question he gets this time of year is, "Will a Christmas tree cause an infestation?"
Skvarla says no, as does Diana Knapp, an employee at a North Hills nursery that sells hundreds of trees each year. Knapp equates Christmas trees to the fern plant you keep in your kitchen.
"In the summer time when you have your plants outside, and you bring them in for the winter, sometimes you get some bugs," Knapp said.
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She says the trees at Hahn Nursery are closely checked before they ever go to sale.
"The Department of Agriculture inspects everything," said Knapp. "Tree farms have to be licensed. They inspect their trees. They want to give us good trees because they want return business."
We traveled to the Entomology department at Penn State to talk to Skvarla. He told us even if you found an insect egg case, which is a casing that surrounds the eggs of insects, don't panic. He says just cut it out of the tree and leave it outside.
He says you can also shake the tree before bringing it in to try and get the bugs out ahead of time. Most importantly, he says don't spray pesticides on the tree because they are flammable and could start a major house fire.