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This problematic insect could threaten crops across the US

The spotted lanternfly is native to China and was first detected in the U.S. in 2014.
This problematic insect could threaten crops across the US
Posted at 1:01 PM, Aug 11, 2023

The spotted lanternfly may look colorful and innocent, but it's causing problems in numerous states across the country. 

The invasive insect is native to China and was first detected in the U.S. in 2014. 

"Spotted lanternfly feeds on a wide range of fruit, ornamental and woody trees, with tree-of-heaven being one of the preferred hosts," the Department of Agriculture states.

Officials say the lanternfly can decimate crops and trees. 

The insects have been detected in 14 states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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Officials in Virginia warned that adults begin laying eggs in September. The eggs are reportedly covered in a light gray wax that looks like mud when it dries. 

"Spotted lanternfly adults and nymphs frequently gather in large numbers on host plants," the USDA stated. "They are easiest to spot at dusk or at night as they migrate up and down the trunk of the plant."

The USDA has created a wallet-sized ID card that provides information about the bugs. The card also doubles as a "scraper" for use in destroying lanternfly eggs.

Anyone who comes across the spotted lanternfly should "smash" it. Officials ask that people scrape any egg masses into a plastic zippered bag filled with hand sanitizer before disposing of it.

After disposing of the insect, people are asked to contact their state's office that deals with invasive species. 


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