Spotted lanternflies have been seen around much of the eastern United States. Pretty with red wing markings, the sap-sucking insect poses a danger to grapes and other agricultural crops, which is raising alarms. It also excretes a sticky substance called honeydew and can lay eggs on vehicles that hatch months later.
“Be vigilant,” Chris Logue of the state Department of Agriculture told The Associated Press. “Check your vehicle. What you’re really after is anything that maybe is alive, that is kind of hunkered down in there and is not going to get blown off the vehicle during the trip. Really, really important.”
A native of Asia, the spotted lanternfly was first identified in the United States in 2014. It’s likely that insect eggs came over with a load of landscaping stones. Eight years later, there are reported infestations in 13 states, mostly on the East Coast, according to the state Integrated Pest Management program at Cornell University. Individual insects have been spotted in more states.
“The spotted lanternfly sucks the sap out of the vines,” said Brian Eshenaur, an expert with the Cornell pest program. “And it makes them less hardy for the winter, so vines can be lost over the growing season.”
~ With Associated Press