Could spotted lanternflies latch on to your Christmas tree and end up being a holiday guest in your home? Small chance, say the experts, writes Marcus Schneck for the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
“Real trees are part of an outdoor ecosystem, and there is always a chance that insects may be brought indoors with a tree, and the spotted lanternfly is no exception,” said Tanner Delvalle, a Penn State horticulture extension educator.
But the risk is low.
Most Christmas tree species are not on the list of plants eaten by spotted lanternfly nymphs.
Also, Christmas tree growers routinely use integrated pest management practices to keep insects away.
In lanternfly quarantine zones like Chester County, growers are working with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to meet special requirements prior to the sale of Christmas trees.
Christmas tree buyers can also inspect trees for spotted lanternfly egg masses before buying.
The masses resemble gray mud splatters and can be scraped from the tree bark. You can smash or burn them, or put them in a container filled with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.
Even if eggs hatch into tiny nymphs, they will die quickly when they find nothing to eat.
Read more about Christmas trees and lanternflies in the Harrisburg Patriot-News here.