Santa not expected to leave spotted lanternflies under Christmas trees


Experts say there is little chance you will find a spotted lanternfly on or under your Christmas tree this year.

Emilie Swackhamer, a horticulture educator at Penn State Extensions says despite the invasive bug popping up in parts of eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, Christmas trees are an unfriendly host to the unwanted guests.

"We appreciate everybody being vigilant about spotted lanternfly on Christmas trees but we don't consider it to be a major concern," Swackhamer said and added that Christmas trees don't supply a food source for the bugs.

Warren County farmer John Wyckoff says he's taken several phone calls from customers who are worried about finding lanternflies on their trees. Wyckoff says the rumor is bad for business.

"We're out here daily, especially this time of year. We're preparing our crop for harvest. We're in the fields literally all day everyday. If there were an issue, we would be the first to know," said Wyckoff.

Swackhamer says Christmas tree farmers have been trained to monitor crops. and adds lanternfly eggs can't survive in a home over the winter.

"If they were to hatch out there is nothing really for them to eat. They would dehydrate and die pretty quickly within a day or so," she said.

Experts say if you do choose a live Christmas tree, disposing of it properly when the holiday season is over also cuts down on spreading the pests.

They say taking your tree to a recycling center or chipping it is best.

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