Christmas tree shoppers don't need to fear spotted lanternfly

Jim Melwert
November 22, 2018 - 8:30 pm
Christmas Trees

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NORRISTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) -- If you’re heading out Christmas tree shopping, area growers want you to know concerns over lanternflies hatching in your tree are overblown.

Laternflies generally aren’t drawn to Christmas trees, says Emilie Swackhamer, a Penn State Extension educator in Montgomery County.

“Lanternflies don’t seem to prefer conifers," Swackhamer explained. "I’ve looked at a lot of Christmas trees and I haven’t really observed lanternflies feeding on them.”

READ: Spotted lanternfly's equal-opportunity appetite could translate to billions in damage

Swackhamer says Christmas tree growers are aware of the pests, especially the quarantine, but she says a social-media spread of laternflies possibly infiltrating Christmas trees is not based on scientific evidence.

“Natural Christmas trees support local agriculture," she said. "It’s a tradition we don’t want to lose because people have these unfounded fears.”

Swackhamer says while there’s always a chance of bringing bugs into a home on a Christmas tree, lanternfly eggs are easy to spot, they look like dried mud or old chewing gum and can be scraped into an alcohol solution to kill the eggs. And, she says, in the rare case eggs did hatch in a home, they’re very small and likely wouldn’t survive.

“If a lanternfly egg mass would wind up hatching inside a home, it’s something you can easily get rid of a vacuum cleaner," she said. "They’re not going to hurt anything.”

Click on the links below to learn more about the spotted lanternfly:

Link 1:

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