Fewer pests found in Christmas trees shipped to Hawaii

Local News
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Christmas trees that could go in your home are getting a major shakedown.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has been checking each shipment of Christmas trees to make sure there aren’t any unwanted critters hanging around.

So far, they’ve found slugs, yellow jackets, frogs, and salamanders on the trees.

“Some trees are harvested and packed on the same day, so they don’t even touch the ground after they’ve been harvested, which is a really important thing for us,” said Chris Kishimoto, Department of Agriculture entomologist. “We find if trees have been sitting on ground overnight we find a lot of bugs kind of increases a lot.”

Kishimoto notes that the number of pests has decreased considerably over the years, “probably due to the Oregon Department of Agriculture and growers and shippers refining pest management practices as well as best management practices.”

About 126,000 Christmas trees have arrived in Hawaii, and all of them have been checked.

The last shipment of trees for the year is expected to arrive on Saturday, Kishimoto said.

Christmas tree statistics from the Department of Agriculture as of Dec. 1, 2015:

  • 11 shipments have arrived with a total of 201 containers carrying 126,020 trees.
  • 11 containers were held for treatment (100% shaking of all trees in the container). Two had yellow jacket wasps and nine had slugs.
  • HDOA has treated eight containers so far, with additional containers to be treated Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, bringing the total to 11.
  • One more shipment is expected Dec. 5.
  • 2013: Among the 241 containers shipped to Hawaii, 60 were held up for slugs, 39 of which had slugs that do not occur in Hawaii.
  • 2010: 140,000 trees were shipped to Hawaii. Sixteen containers were held. Ten were treated for slugs, yellow jackets, salamanders, and Pacific tree frogs. Ten containers refused entry and were returned to the shipper.
  • 2009: 118,000 trees were shipped to Hawaii.
  • 2008: 121,000 trees were shipped to Hawaii.

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