The United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regulates the importation of plant products into the United States to prevent dangerous pests from entering and attacking our plant resources. Destructive wood boring insects have been found in artificial Christmas trees that have real wood trunks with bark attached. These insects are Callidiellum villosulum and Callidiellum rufipenne, also known as brown fir longhorn beetle and Japanese cedar longhorn beetle. These insects are related to the Asian longhorn beetle which is currently being eradicated in Chicago and New York City. There are no treatments that will kill these insects once they attack a tree. The tree must be cut down and the wood destroyed.
Artificial Christmas trees with wood trunks are bringing these dangerous insects into the United States. Many shipments of artificial trees have been delayed at ports of entry by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or removed from store shelves because insects were found. Import requirements for these artificial trees have been changed. Imported wood articles are regulated under the regulation 7CFR 319.40. In the past, items such as artificial Christmas trees were considered outside the scope of the regulation, and did not have to meet specific requirements to be imported. With the discovery of dangerous insects, the requirements have changed. Artificial Christmas trees with real wood trunks must have an import permit and be made of kiln dried wood to be allowed into the United States. Shipments which are not made of kiln dried wood will be rejected at the port of entry. For more information on Christmas trees, please contact USDA APHIS' Permit Unit.