You bring these animals into your house during the Christmas period: how bad can it be? | living

If you bring outdoor nature decorations into your home during the Christmas period, you will also bring a lot of little critters into your home. They can wake up due to the high temperature inside and start looking for food. What are animals, what should you do, and can you do something about them?

Let’s say you brought wood for a warm fire. It can happen suddenly that all the little beetles are roaming the house. These are soft woodworm beetles. The larvae of these beetles live in dead coniferous wood and only infest dried coniferous wood, reports the Animal Pest Knowledge and Advice Center (KAD).

softwood? Then you can blame the Christmas tree, but that wood is often too fresh for the caterpillars to survive and get out. So there is a good chance that they will crawl out of the wood. “Wood can also contain many hibernating animals, such as woodlice and spiders,” says Aaron Kuiper, a biologist and consultant at KAD.

Barely visible to the naked eye

What about Christmas pieces from the woods? Slender bush ants make nests in cavities such as bark, branches, and acorns. When a branch is used in a Christmas arrangement, the ant colony that lives in it—in this species there are 50 to 100 ants—can forage for food.

Then the Christmas tree. The Norwegian entomologist Bjarte Jordal previously came to the conclusion that up to 25,000 creatures live in a tree. “Insects hibernate and are generally inactive. But they do wake up when the Christmas tree is inside. Because of the warmth and light, the creatures think spring has arisen. That’s how they come to life,” he explained in the study. What lives on my Christmas tree? From.

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Spring tail on an autumn leaf. © Marit van Eckelenburg

Why did you never see her? Many creatures can hardly be seen with the naked eye, and they also love to hide. According to the Norwegian, if you really want to know what lives in your tree, you should shake your Christmas tree at a sheet of white paper.

Kuiper: “In Christmas pieces, Christmas trees, firewood and other natural materials that are placed inside, hundreds of animals can sometimes be hiding. Not only can we find ants, beetles or moths, but we can also find spiders, springtails and all kinds of other small animals.

Can and should you do something about this?

How bad is this now, and can you do something about it? For firewood and beetles: do not bring a lot of firewood at once, but only the amount that you burn per day. “This prevents a lot of disturbance,” Kuiper says. And those skinny bush ants: they can’t stay long in the house. According to Kuiper, if you remove the Christmas decorations in which the nest is located, you will get rid of it.


Please note that live animals can sometimes crawl out of the vacuum cleaner bag

Arnold Cooper

All in all, animals can do no harm and there is no reason to panic. Due to the lack of food and moisture, many animals do not live long indoors. According to KAD, you can pick up dead animals or creatures that walk or vacuum them up. Please note that live animals can sometimes crawl out of the vacuum cleaner bag.

KAD recommends that you check your natural Christmas decorations carefully before you bring them in. On the Christmas tree, it is advisable to shake it back and forth first to loosen some of the creatures. “You can remove any stragglers yourself by hand.” Pesticide company Rentokil advises additional precautions: Keep your tree away from your houseplants, so animals have nothing to eat.

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