BIISC: Imported Christmas Trees May Contain Invasive Pests
Christmas trees imported from the mainland could harbor Hawaiʻi’s next invasive pest, according to the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC).
In past years, snakes, wasps and slugs have been found in shipments of Christmas trees and other foliage used for holiday decorating.
A 2015 USDA study found that importation of live plant materials is the highest risk pathway for introduction of new pests and diseases to Hawaiʻi.
Pests that have come in recently, such as little fire ant, coqui frog, semi-slug and more, were all introduced accidentally on imported plant material.
There are sustainable alternatives here on the Big Island, BIISC said. Buy a locally grown tree or an artificial tree, which can be used year after year, saving money while keeping the islands safe from invading pests.
Local Christmas tree farms can be located at the following locations:
- Hoʻoluana Tree Farm, N. Peck Road, Mt. View, (808) 333-0676 – Leyland Cypress Trees
- Fairolen Christmas Tree Farm, Kaloko Road, Kona, (808) 325-7490
- Keauhou, Kona, (808) 324-4609, call for directions – Norfolk Pines
- Hawaiian Beaches, Ina St. – Norfolk Pine & Portuguese Cypress Tree