Experts are warning Christmas tree buyers that an invasive insect could hide in your tree and lay eggs in your home.
Populations of spotted lanternflies have been found in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia. According to the Department of Agriculture, the plant hoppers are native to China.
They arrived in Pennsylvania four years ago, most likely hitchhiking on imported goods. The insects feed on trees, plants and fruits, such as grapes and apples.
This time of year, spotted lanternflies are in their adult stage and are approximately an inch long. They die when the weather gets cold, but their egg masses, which can hold dozens of eggs, can survive through the winter.
Christmas tree growers are aware of the insects and keeping an eye out. When purchasing a tree, you should inspect it thoroughly. According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, if you find any egg masses, scrape them off and throw them out of your house. You can also kill them with bleach, alcohol and hand sanitizer.