The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) advises consumers who purchased holiday evergreens this season to check for an invasive pest called elongate hemlock scale (EHS) and properly dispose of any greenery that shows signs of infestation to prevent this pest from establishing itself in Wisconsin. Plant-health inspectors found EHS this year at multiple Wisconsin retail locations that imported the evergreens from other states.
To identify whether evergreens have EHS, look for brown spots on the underside of the needles. This season, infested stock included fir trees, wreaths and décor from suppliers in North Carolina, with some material labeled as “fresh from the Blue Ridge Mountains.”The preferred pest-disposal method is to burn an EHS-infested evergreen. Otherwise, bag evergreen wreaths and décor, and put them in the trash. To prevent the pests from spreading, do not compost or place infested evergreens in a forest.