Slugs could slow Christmas tree deliveries
HONOLULU (AP) — If the spirit of Christmas is captured by putting up a decorated tree, then Hawaii’s holiday season might be delayed.
That’s because some of the trees arriving in container ships from the Pacific Northwest earlier this month were found to be infested with slugs, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://is.gd/aKoI3O ).
Carol Okada, manager of the Department of Agriculture Plan Quarantine Division, said it’s not known why there was such a large infestation of slugs in the shipment. She said officials from Washington and Oregon were shocked to hear about the problem.
She said there has been speculation that wet weather caused the slugs to take refuge in the trees.
Once a slug infestation is discovered, each tree has to be individually treated either by shaking it or hosing it with hot water.
Okada said the cost of clearing the trees of slugs will have to be borne by the importers. But, she said, the state will have to absorb the overtime cost for the plant inspectors, who also are needed to clear other items being shipped to Hawaii this holiday season.
“It’s a heavy time for us,” Okada said, adding that there is a constant flow of seafood products, plants and other items arriving in the islands for the holidays.
“We will be stretched to the max,” she said.
Carol Ai May, vice president of City Mill, said her company had gotten only three of 10 shipping containers it ordered for a Black Friday sale.
“We’re bummed,” May said.