Longhorned Beetles Found In Imported Artificial Christmas Trees

Federal inspectors recently detected quarantine-significant pest, the brown fir longhorned beetle, Callidiellum villosulum, in artificial Christmas trees with wooden trunks imported from China. The infested wood product, detected by a homeowner in Saginaw, Mich., was referred to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and traced back to the store where it was purchased. Further investigation by the Animal and Plant Health inspection Service (APHIS) found that heat treatment certificates accompanying the two shipments indicate the treatment conducted did not meet U.S. entry requirements.

In response, APHIS is taking the following actions:

  • A limited recall was issued for those artificial Christmas trees from two Bills of Lading associated with the specific product that was found to contain the infestation. Purchase order codes are being used as the basis of identifying products for recall.
  • An alert was issued to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at ports of entry to target specific shipments from the exporter, verify heat treatment certification that meet U.S. entry requirements, and conduct additional inspections on other related shipments.
  • Emergency Action Notifications were issued to stores and importers to ensure that known infested material is moved out of commerce and is to be destroyed by incineration or deep burial in a landfill in coordination with APHIS.

Brown fir longhorned beetles may be a threat to arborvitae, cypress, juniper, cedar and possibly other landscape plants. The genus Callidiellum is comprised of three established species in North America: the native cupressi from coastal California, viridescens from Arizona, and rufipenne, first detected in North America in 1927 and most recently found in North Carolina and Connecticut. The species C. villosulum is found in eastern China and is considered a secondary pest because it preferentially attacks only weakened or freshly felled conifers.

Source: Phytosanitary Alert System, www.pestalert.org; and KRS Network, www.krsnetwork.com.

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