Invasive insect found in evergreen decorations prompts Department of Agriculture warning

December 28, 2018 06:51 PM

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is advising people who have purchased wreaths, boughs and other evergreen decorations this season to burn them or bag them separately to prevent the spread of an invasive insect.

The MDA says the elongate hemlock scale (EHS), which is native to Asia, feeds on the underside of conifer needles.


EHS has been found in products sold at several retail chains, including Home Depot and Menards.

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Officials said the affected evergreen items mainly originated from North Carolina, according to an investigation.

MDA officials said Minnesotans who have purchased evergreen decorations from chain retail locations should either burn the items or bag them and dispose of them in the trash. Officials warn against composting the items.

"Unless you know you purchased evergreen products from a locally grown source, residents should err on the side of caution and burn, or bag and throw away your evergreen items," Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Whitney Place said. "This will help us ensure this invasive insect does not get a foothold in Minnesota."

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Rebecca Omastiak

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