The Christmas Tree is a European tradition that has followers around the world. Large numbers of evergreens are produced, sold and enjoyed by people around the globe. Christmas trees are commercially grown in plantations and can be threatened by invasive insect pests.
Christmas tree plantations around Melbourne, Australia are struggling with the Giant pine scale, Marchalina hellenica, a native a Greece and Turkey. The scale can kill branches ruining the aesthetic appeal of trees grown for the Christmas market. Areas of Australia are quarantined to stop the spread of the Marchalina hellenica but it has recently broken containment. Containment is made difficult because trees are shipped out of the containment area for Christmas decoration and then disposed. To limit the spread of the scale, trees need to be checked for the insect and disposed in a manner that destroys the scale.