Hawaii imports most of its Christmas trees from the Pacific Northwest, primarily Washington and Oregon, and we start seeing them on sale right after Thanksgiving.
Although the cut trees are sealed tightly in refrigerated containers, there are still some little critters that so hanker for a holiday in Hawaii that they snitch a ride here.
Every once in a while the State agriculture inspectors find something that has them shivering in their rubber boots. Sometimes it’s yellow-jacket wasps, sometimes it’s spiders, sometimes it’s bugs. This year, it’s slugs.
Yes … S-L-U-G-S … those slimy homeless snails that leave wet-snot trails wherever they go.
As we speak, the inspectors are trying to identify the slug species. If they’re bad boys, then there are two options: Either tree-filled containers (and the trees) that they were found in will be re-sealed and shipped back from whence they came, or the each of the trees will have to be treated individually by the Department of Agriculture. Either option is going to be expensive for the wholesalers.
It’s amazing what a spot-check of one or two trees per opened container will find.