Spotted lanternfly found in West Virginia

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Spotted Lanternfly
Spotted Lanternfly by U.S. Department of Agriculture (Photo courtesy of Bugwood) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/18866197140)], via Flickr

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Agriculture has confirmed the presence of a new, invasive insect, the spotted lanternfly, in West Virginia.

A small population of spotted lanternfly was detected in the Bunker Hill area of Berkeley County Oct. 30. The United States Department of Agriculture — Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the findings

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive plant hopper that is native to China and likely 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.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is encouraging landowners to inspect their property for eggs masses, especially on properties that contain numerous tree-of-heaven. For more information or to report potential spotted lanternfly sightings, contact bugbusters@wvda.us or 304-788-1066.

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