PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Could the spotted lanternfly be lurking in your Christmas tree this year?
Bob Exley knows a thing or two about Christmas trees. He's been growing them since the 70s. He also knows a little about the scare that's made headlines in recent days that the spotted lanternfly, which is an invasive insect from Asia that threatens fruit trees and hardwood could find its way into our Christmas trees this season--infesting our homes.
Quarantines are now in place across southeast Pennsylvania and three Central and North Jersey counties, hoping to stop the movements of anything that might carry the insect. But Christmas trees?
"We're not noticing that they are feeding on Christmas trees, but they could potentially be laying eggs on them," Tanner DelValle with Penn State Extension said.
Still, experts say the odds of them showing up on your tree this year are extremely low.
"There is no documented case of a spotted lanternfly having been found on a Christmas tree that was grown in our state," President of the NJ Christmas Tree Growers Association Chris Nicholson said.
In fact, there's only been one case of eggs found in a single Christmas tree from Pennsylvania in the past year.
If they are discovered and turn into adults, experts say they're harmless to people or pets and would quickly die without food.
"There's not really much harm if they're brought into the house because they're not going to pose any threat to yourself from a health standpoint," DelValle said.
Bob Exley says don't worry. It's a non-issue for now--insisting Christmas will not be ruined.
"I would not be one standing here publicizing something that I know would wreck somebody's Christmas," Exley said.