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How the Spotted Lantern Fly Could Ruin Your Christmas This Year

TRENTON-State officials are telling residents not to worry after news coverage of lantern fly infestations in Christmas trees.   The infestations have been found in trees in Hunterdon, Mercer and Warren Counties, but state workers say they are confident New Jersey residents should be safe.

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher and the New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers’ Association reminded consumers they can buy New Jersey Christmas trees with confidence this year, providing clarification on recent coverage about the potential impact of the spotted lanternfly on pre-cut Christmas trees.

Despite much of Eastern Pennsylvania currently in a quarantine over the insects, Jersey is confident, at this time, they can keep it on the other side of the Delaware River.

“While the Department is mindful of the impact of the spotted lanternfly and is continuing with a comprehensive management plan to limit its spread into New Jersey, consumers should not be concerned when visiting their favorite New Jersey Christmas tree farm this season,” Fisher said. “Our Christmas tree growers are aware of the threat posed by the spotted lanternfly and are vigilant in scouting their fields and inspecting their trees regularly. This should not let consumers alter their holiday plans.”

Spotted Lantern Fly Quarantine Area, courtesy State of Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

In Pennsylvania, there is a quarantine is in place to stop the movement of the spotted lantern fly to new areas and to slow its spread within the quarantine. The quarantine affects a variety of plant, wood, and stone products.  Surveys are currently underway to determine the complete spread of this pest in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Efforts are also underway to ensure the Spotted Lanternfly is not present in other parts of the commonwealth.

The adult spotted lanternfly does not survive the winter and is also of no threat to humans or animals, the state said.

New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers’ Association President Chris Nicholson added that New Jersey’s Christmas tree growers are once again ready to welcome visitors from across the state to their outstanding operations.

“From Sussex to Cape May County, the farmers that grow Christmas trees for you and your family do so with an abundance of care,” Nicholson said. “We provide only the highest quality trees and most exceptional experiences for you and your families. As far as it relates to the Christmas tree industry in New Jersey, the spotted lanternfly is a non-issue. There has not been one spotted lanternfly found on a Christmas tree which was grown in our state.”

To find a Christmas tree farm near you, visit www.njchristmastrees.org.

Almost 69,000 trees are cut in New Jersey each year. The last U.S. Census of Agriculture ranked New Jersey seventh in the nation in Christmas trees grown with more than 4,600 acres of Christmas trees in the state.

The New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, organized in 1950, is a statewide organization of growers, professionals and industry leaders dedicated to the promotion and marketing of Christmas trees and related products.

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