Eggs from spotted lanternfly may be in Christmas trees

 

Before you throw away your Christmas tree, keep an eye out for an invasive pest that is spreading throughout Pennsylvania.

The spotted lanternfly originated in Asia and is a threat to local agriculture.

"The spotted lanternfly will lay its eggs on just about anything," said Emelie Swackhamer, a horticulture educator with Penn State Extension.

"We don't want other states or other countries to not want to buy our timber crops, that's a really important commodity in PA."

The PA Department of Agriculture reported the spotted lantern fly had already been found in Berks, Bucks, Northampton, and Lehigh Counties.

Swackhamer said affected areas have been put under a quarantine and tree sellers and growers have been notified.

"If there are eggs on the Christmas tree and the tree is outside the quarantine area the eggs can hatch in the spring…start a new population somewhere," Swackhamer added.

Swackhamer said if you live in a quarantined area, it's best to dispose of your Christmas tree on your property, either leaving the tree as a whole or chipping it.

If that isn't an option, Swackhamer said to take advantage of your local municipality's tree recycling program.

The same goes for anyone who bought a tree in a quarantined area and brought it into a non-quarantined area.

Information about the spotted lantern fly and how to dispose of your tree properly is available online.

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