MENDHAM, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It’s almost time to pick up the perfect Christmas tree for you and your family, but there’s concern about a new threat to this year’s crop.
With wings coated in black and red spots and a body of bold yellow, the spotted lanternfly could soon be hitching a ride home with you from the farm.
So should you be worried about the bug buzzing and disrupting your holiday cheer?
“To this date only one bug has been found in the hundreds of thousands of trees that have gone into homes in the last three years,” said Chris Nicholson, owner of Hidden Pond Christmas Tree Farm.
Nicholson says he’s vigilant and always on the lookout for the pest amongst his over 30,000 trees in Mendham, New Jersey.
“Christmas trees and conifer trees in general have not been discovered to be a known host to this bug,” he said.
The lanternfly does, however, like to feast on fruit and vegetable trees, and is being combatted along New Jersey’s border with Pennsylvania.
“It’s harmless to humans, and harmless to pets,” Nicholson said. “It’s simply like having a spider in your tree.”
The state’s Department of Agriculture is also saying you can buy your Christmas tree with confidence this season. Even in Pennsylvania, where the fly was first spotted and is most prevalent, growers haven’t found egg masses on any of their trees this year.
Still, if you’re creeped out by the prospect of an uninvited guest playing house in your tree you can look beyond the needles for the oval-shaped eggs. You’ll see a bunch of them clustered and covered with a waxy coating.
Nicholson suggests don’t waste your time, just enjoy the tradition of tracking down the perfect tree.