It may be too early to put up the Christmas decorations, but digesting this little tidbit now can help us ward off problems in December.  And if you're on the fence about which kind of tree to put up, this may convince you to go for fake one over the real thing.  

Maybe it's a tradition for you to pack up the family after Thanksgiving and head to the Christmas tree farm, have some hot chocolate, and ride home singing Christmas carols at the top of your lungs with the tree strapped to the top of your SUV.  And when you get home there are perfectly-iced Christmas cookies waiting and Alexa spins our your favorite Christmas playlist while you put on the lights that never burn out and ornaments that never break. It sounds lovely!  Until you start noticing bugs laying eggs on top of your Echo Dot and mixed in with the cookie crumbs.  Oh boy.

Tree farmers on the East Coast are finding an odd little bug called the spotted lanternfly on some trees, and if left to their own desires those squirrelly little things can kill an evergreen that's a thousand times their size. If they ride the Christmas tree into your house, they can start laying eggs in there and maybe work their way outside to your tree in the front yard.  At the very least they would be gross and annoying.

The egg masses on the trunk should be easy to spot.  The experts say each clump can hold 30 to 60 eggs, but once that is removed it should take care of the problem.

The lanternflies are from Asia and were first spotted in the US in Pennsylvania four years ago.  They're mostly confined to the East Coast so far, but if you happen to discover them here in Idaho you should notify the Extension Service right away so they can figure out what to do next.

Fake tree, anyone?  Yes!  But if it's been in the attic for the past ten months, you might want to check it over for some regular ole attic bugs.  No tree is immune to pests, after all.

May your holiday season be filled with strings of working lights and no bugs!  And thank you for waiting a little longer to put up the decorations.  We haven't finished our pumpkin spice lattes just yet.

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