The Discovery of an invasive bug on Christmas Greens in South Dakota is prompting requests to bag and throw out the greens instead of putting them in compost piles.

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA)  says if you purchased wreaths and other evergreen decorations from chain stores to bag items and dispose of them in a landfill to stop the spread of the invasive insect elongate hemlock scale (EHS).

EHS was also found Minnesota and Wisconsin this December. “The insect has now been found in South Dakota on wreaths and other live holiday greenery, but not on Christmas trees,” says Greg Josten, state forester with the SDDA.

EHS is native to Asia and resembles small, light, yellow-brown bumps on the underside of needles, less than one-sixteenth inches long. The insect had not been found on conifers in South Dakota ’s region until this recent discovery in the wreaths.

The invasive bug attacks spruce trees, which are a native tree to the Black Hills and among the most common evergreens in communities and windbreaks across South Dakota.

“If these materials are infested, the eggs will still hatch this spring and the young insects will move to nearby spruces,"  said Josten. "Instead, place any wreaths or evergreen decorations that were purchased from chain stores in bags and dispose of them in the landfill.”


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