Tree Inspectors Prep for Christmas

Darcy Oishi
Darcy Oishi
Gary Nakamatsu
Gary Nakamatsu

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas. But agriculture officials are keeping a close eye on all Christmas trees.

After a German wasp scare last week, officials are combing through containers to make sure there aren't any more problems.

They came on time, fresh and smelling great. But were there any hitch hikers?  A crew from the Department of Agriculture sifted through the trees during a routine inspection.

"Some beetles, spiders,our usual mix we find on Christmas trees," said Darcy Oishi, a spokesperson with the Department of Agriculture.

Inspectors were looking for German yellow jacket wasps, which can adapt to warmer climates.  Some were found in containers that arrived last weekend.  Mother Nature will take care of the critters found in these first containers.

"They need colder weather in order to complete their life cycle, so these guys will die out in a few weeks or months," said Oishi.

From the cool, fresh air of the Pacific northwest to the tropics, these trees will soon make their way to thousands of families on Oahu in time for Christmas.

"They're very evergreen, very fresh and good smelling trees," Gary Nakamatsu, a spokesperson with Matson Navigation Company.

"They all come under refrigeration, so they keep very fresh...pretty well green and hydrated," said Nakamatsu.

Making sure everyone has a bug free tree, employees from the Department of Agriculture were getting into the Christmas spirit.

"I went into a store and saw people wearing antlers, decided to get antlers for everybody," said Oishi. "They're doing a tremendous job coming in on their day off, so it's a good team effort."

A final small shipment of trees will arrive next Saturday on the M.V. Manoa.