EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon officials say a non-native insect that entered the state this fall on Christmas trees harvested in North Carolina has the potential to harm Oregon’s timber economy.
Wyatt Williams of the Oregon Department of Forestry says the elongate hemlock scale is less than a quarter inch (2 millimeters) long and hides on the bottom of needles.
About 8,000 Fraser fir trees from North Carolina came to the West Coast and were sold in large chain stores. California officials discovered the insect and alerted Oregon.
Oregon officials say the Christmas trees should be cut up and the pieces put in garbage bags and thrown away.
The tiny insects feed on the underside of needles, cause trees to lose needles and become susceptible to other insects.