Spotted lanternfly detected in new area of West Virginia

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Spotted lanternfly
An adult spotted lanternfly with its wings closed. At about 1 inch long, they are found July to December. Photo credit: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Taylor County has now been added to the list of West Virginia counties where the invasive pest spotted lanternfly has been detected. A single spotted lanternfly was found in a trap set by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture in early August near Grafton. The United States Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the finding.

WVDA Plant Industries staff found a sizable population of the pest near downtown Grafton earlier this month. Taylor is the eighth county in West Virginia where spotted lanternfly have been detected. The other counties include Hancock, Brooke, Mineral, Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson.

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 but also feed on a wide range of crops and plants, including grapes, apples, hops, walnuts and hardwood trees.

To report a spotted lanternfly sighting in West Virginia, send a photo, your location and contact information to bugbusters@wvda.us or call 304-558-2212.

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