Invasive tree pest has now been found in festive wreaths in Minnesota

People are urged to burn or trash the wreaths and boughs after the holidays are over.
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The invasive tree pest that sparked a warning in Wisconsin this week after being found in festive evergreens bought from chain stores has now been found in Wisconsin.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says it began examining festive wreaths, swags and boughs sold in Minnesota after elongate hemlock scale (EHS) it was found across the border.

And the MDA says it found EHS at Home Depot and Menards locations, with the two retailers since pulling the remaining affected products from its shelves.

"Minnesotans who bought wreathes, swags, boughs, and other evergreen decorations at Home Depot or Menards should burn the items, or bag them and dispose of them in the trash once the items are no longer useful for decoration," the MDA says. 

"The evergreen items should not be composted."

The affected evergreen products originated in North Carolina, and while they have been found at Home Depot and Menards stores, MDA says it's possible they're also being sold at other retail locations.

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"Unless you know you purchased evergreen products from a locally grown source, residents should err on the side of caution and burn, or bag and throw away your evergreen items," said Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Whitney Place.

"This will help us ensure this invasive insect does not get a foothold in Minnesota."

EHS insects feed on the underside of needles, and are hard to control with pesticides, partly because they are protected by their hard, waxy coverings.

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