State officials discover invasive species on holiday wreaths and evergreen decor

Brown spots seen are elongate hemlock scale (EHS) found on the underside of evergreen needles. (Photo courtesy of Wisconsin DACTP)

(WLUK) -- If you bought any real wreaths or evergreen holiday decorations, state officials are asking you to dispose of them properly after finding invasive species on them.

The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) discovered elongate hemlock scale, or EHS, in arrangements of evergreen wreaths, swags and boughs sold at Menards, Pick n Save, Home Depot, Kmart and Stein.

EHS, which native to Asia, saps nutrients as it feeds on the underside of conifer needles and threatens Wisconsin Christmas tree farms. In the past five years, inspectors have found it isolated at some Christmas tree lots. This year, infested evergreen products, coming from North Carolina, were found at many major stores throughout the state.

Officials say it's okay to keep your decorations up for the remainder of the holidays but when it's time to dispose of them, do not put them in the compost pile or set them out for brush collection. If you can, burn them or bag them and send them to the landfill.


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