Christmas trees with unwanted pests

The loading of Christmas trees into containers bound for Hawaii

Ever wondered about how Christmas trees from Oregon make their way to Hawaii?  Shipping containers of course!

For the third year in a row, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, along with it’s sister agency in Hawaii, are tackling the massive problem of pests hitching a ride to the holiday island.

Departments are working together to say goodbye to “slugs” and “yellow jackets” which can cause huge problems to Hawaii’s fragile eco-system.


Yellow jackets (wasps) and slugs … unwanted in Hawaii

Typically 250 containers make their way from Oregon, equating to a couple hundred-thousand trees. In the past, Hawaii officials have rejected 30% of the containers arriving as they were found to contain slugs.  The trees found to be infected required treatment by hand, increasing the price and time it took to entering the marketplace.

Oregon farmers now ensure that detailed physical inspections occur when the trees are in still in the ground.  Trees are also shaken via a mechanical shaker to remove bugs prior to exporting.

There are more than 600 Oregon Christmas tree growers, producing roughly 6.5million trees annually. This cements the need for proper practices to be put into place to ensure that these pests don’t spread wherever Oregon trees are exported to which is all around the world.


Image credit: Hawaii Department of Agriculture

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