Introduced Pests Outreach Project
Pest Alert: Brown Fir Longhorned Beetle found in artificial Christmas trees (January 14, 2005)

Pest Alert: Brown Fir Longhorned Beetle found in artificial Christmas trees (January 14, 2005)

Specimens of the brown fir longhorned beetle (Callidiellum villosulum) have been found in the real wood trunks of artificial Christmas trees imported from China. The USDA, APHIS recalled artificial Christmas trees from Polytree Hong Kong Co. Ltd. which had been sent to more than 20 retailers nationwide. The beetle was first detected by a homeowner in Saginaw, Michigan who notified the Michigan Department of Agriculture. Trees infected with the beetle have been found in Michigan and Illinois.

The adult brown fir longhorned beetle is ¼ to ½ inch long and orange to reddish brown in color. The antennae are brownish-black in color and as long as the insect’s body. The body is covered with long grayish hairs. Brown fir longhorned beetle larvae are ½ inch long, yellow in color, and would be found burrowing into the wood. Look for holes or sawdust where adults emerged from wood products.

What to do if you find insects in imported wood products?
If you find adult insects or larvae in imported wood products, place insects in plastic sandwich bags and freeze until they can be turned over to agriculture officials. It is also helpful if you can record the product name, barcode, and the location and date of purchase. Call the Massachusetts Plant Pest and Noxious Weed hotline at 617-626-1779 if you suspect you have found a brown fir longhorned beetle in an artificial Christmas tree or other imported wood product.

Actions taken by USDA, APHIS, PPQ in response to brown fir longhorned beetle find:
• A recall was issued for all Polytree artificial Christmas trees with natural wood trunks from China.
• Emergency Action Notifications are to be issued to retail companies and importers to ensure that known infested material is moved out of commerce. The product can be incinerated or buried in deep landfill.
• Investigations will continue of other importers and distributors of any such trees with real wood trunks to verify compliance with the import requirements.
• A request has been made to PPQ’s Center for Plant Health Science and Technology to provide a risk assessment within the next 60 days to determine the need for an interim rule to further restrict similar products made with real tree limbs and trunks.

Further resources on the brown fir longhorned beetle:
Wanted Brown Fir Longhorned Beetle Flyer: Pictures and description of the beetle
Click here to view the pdf file.

USDA Announces Artificial Christmas Tree Recall: Inspectors Find Asian Beetle in Some Lots

Pest Alert from North American Plant Protection Organization: Recall of Artificial Christmas Trees with Wood Trunks from China

Exotic Forest Pest Information System for North America: Information on the Biology and Potential Impact of C. villosulum

The pest alert is from the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project, a collaborative project between the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape Program aimed at preventing the establishment of new pathogens and pests in Massachusetts. Visit the project website ( for more information on emerging pests or to subscribe and unsubscribe for pest alerts.

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources and the UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape Program. This website was made possible, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). It may not necessarily express APHIS' views.