Christmas Tree Bug Awareness and Prevention

The spotted lanternfly an invasive bug from Eastern Asia has come to New Jersey. The bug was first found in Pennsylvania 4 years ago. It is rapidly spreading to the Eastern part of the United States. The bug is now in NJ. Prior to the 2018 Christmas season, the bug has been found in Hunterdon, Mercer and Warren County. Because the bug attaches itself to bark, with the wide array of transport vehicles bringing landscaping materials, wood and agricultural products out of PA to other states it is enabling the bug to find new places to prey. There is a concern the bug will spread to Morris County as well as other NJ counties this season.

These bugs prey on crops and trees and love all varieties of pine trees. With the Christmas season in full swing and the many Christmas pine trees that will be cut, transported and then displayed in homes, Joseph Zoltowski the director of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture Division of Plant Industry is worried about the spread of this Christmas tree insect. Once the bug attaches itself to these pine trees they stay and hatch their many eggs which could happen in your very own living room. You could end up with hundreds of these nasty little bugs on your Christmas tree.

New Jersey’s Christmas Tree Growers have been notified and are aware of the problems associated with the spotted lanternfly. They all should be taking the necessary steps to combat the problem. However, it is highly recommended for everyone who is buying a pre-cut Christmas tree this year to carefully check the entire tree including the trunk before bringing it home. Check for any eggs or live insects that may be clinging to the branches or the trunk.

What To Look For

Spotted lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly looks somewhat like a butterfly and a bumble bee. It is approximately 1 inch long by a half inch wide. They have a yellow abdomen with black bands. Their wings are spotted. Their outer set of wings are typically grey with black spots, and the inner set is red with black spots.

Preventative Measures

Here is a list of preventative measures you can take once the tree is home. These measures will help in the prevention of all types of bugs that may be on your tree.

  • While your tree is outside, examine all branches and the trunk. Cut away the parts where you see eggs.
  • Skake the tree to get rid of any eggs or bugs.
  • While still outside do not spray the tree with an aerosol pesticide because they can be flammable.
  • Keep the tree in a warm area for a few days (garage) before bringing it into your home. The warmth will allow the eggs of certain bugs to hatch prior to bringing the tree inside. Shake outside again prior to bringing into your home.
  • After placing the tree in your home Immediately vacuum around the tree to suck up any insects and eggs.

You may think these are easy tasks where you can get rid of these nasty little creatures and eggs easily but it may not be. These insects are microscopic and not always easy to find. If you are worried that your tree may have bugs, call a professional pest control company. A pest control pro will be able to advise you as to what is the best solution, leaving you peace of mind.

In the past 4 years, the spotted lanternfly was found in 4 NJ counties. With the holiday season now here and pine trees are being transported from various locations, it is a concern that the insects will show up in additional counties as well. So this year beware, take the necessary steps to prevent your home from the Christmas tree bug.

Contact NJ Pest Control. Their expert pest control team will help you. The NJ agricultural officials and farmers are concerned that the spotted lanternfly population will increase and spread to other areas of New Jersey. This would cause significant damage to the small fruit, wine, and vegetable industries, therefore NJ Pest will notify them as well of any findings.