Invasive Spotted Lanternfly found in West Virginia

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FILE – This Sept. 19, 2019, file photo, shows a spotted lanternfly at a vineyard in Kutztown, Pa. State agriculture officials have added 12 counties to the quarantine list, raising the total number of counties under quarantine to 26. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) has confirmed a second population of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly (Lycormia delicatula) near Ridgeley, in Mineral County.

The invasive pest was reported through the WVDA’s Bug Busters hotline on September 28 and confirmed by WVDA and APHIS employees the following week. The WVDA collected a specimen and will be conducting treatments with USDA-APHIS to contain the insects.

“Our staff have been diligent on public outreach and inspections. The fact this report came from a resident, shows folks are on the lookout for this new, invasive pest,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “If you believe you spot the Spotted Lanternfly, make sure to report it to the WVDA.”

In this Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, photo, spotted lanternfly gather on a tree in Kutztown, Pa. The spotted lanternfly has emerged as a serious pest since the federal government confirmed its arrival in southeastern Pennsylvania five years ago this week. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive plant hopper that is native to China and arrived in North America hidden on goods imported from Asia. Juvenile spotted lanternflies, known as nymphs, and adults prefer to feed on the invasive tree known as Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), but also feed on a wide range of crops and plants, including: grapes, apples, hops, walnuts and hardwood trees.

The insects were first found in the state in Berkeley County in 2019.

“The WVDA is encouraging landowners to inspect their property for egg masses and adult life stages, especially for properties that contain numerous Tree-of-Heaven,” said WVDA Spotted Lanternfly Coordinator Kristen Wickert. “The greater the effort to track the movement of this pest, the more effective our treatment can be to combat it. We rely heavily on the public to aid us on this effort.”

In this Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, photo, a spotted lanternfly sets on a tree in Kutztown, Pa. The spotted lanternfly has emerged as a serious pest since the federal government confirmed its arrival in southeastern Pennsylvania five years ago this week. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Treatments for the Spotted Lanternfly are done in cooperation with USDA-APHIS. For more information or to report potential Spotted Lanternfly sightings, contact bugbusters@wvda.us or 304-558-2212.

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