Spanish moss is used often for decorations, flower arrangements, and even arts and crafts— it is plentiful here and easy to grab and use, but there is one thing to consider.

Few people know that the plant is actually not moss, but a bromeliad. Fresh Spanish moss can harbor red bugs and red bug bites can cause severe itching and swelling.

Here are 6 Steps to ridding your new found natural decor from bugs!

1. Wear Protective Gloves

Wear protective gloves and long sleeves to prevent bugs from getting onto your skin.

2. Inspect the Moss

Inspect the moss in an open area for larger creatures that may reside in it, such as snakes and frogs.

3. Cut it Into Small Pieces

Cut the Spanish moss into small sections to be either boiled or microwaved.

4. Boil it

Place Spanish moss in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil for a few seconds, then empty contents into a colander.

5. Dry it

Spread the moss out evenly on newspaper to dry. Or you can microwave the moss for about 15 to 20 seconds, but watch carefully because it could ignite.

6. Wash it Again

Remove protective wear and thoroughly scrub hands and arms with warm soapy water to ensure the removal of any bugs.