Spotted lanternfly spreading in West Virginia

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. — As the invasive spotted lanternfly continues to spread, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture strongly encourages citizens to check their vehicles and any materials being transported for the invasive pest. 

The insect’s spread is greatly enhanced through its ability to attach itself and egg masses to vehicles and materials that are transported from areas with populations of spotted lanternfly to areas that are not infested with the pest. The WVDA is asking those traveling to scan vehicles and items being transported to help stop the spread of the pest. 

“We have confirmed a fourth county, in addition to Jefferson, Berkeley and Mineral, in West Virginia that now hosts the spotted lanternfly. Hampshire County was added to the list after a homeowner spotted the pest near Capon Bridge,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. 

The invasive plant hopper is native to China and arrived in North America hidden on goods imported from Asia. Since 2014, the insect has spread westward from eastern Pennsylvania.

Juvenile spotted lanternflies, known as nymphs, and adults prefer to feed on the invasive tree species known as Tree-of-Heaven, but also feed on a wide range of crops and plants including grapes, apples, hops, walnuts and other species of hardwood trees. Anyone who believes they have seen the spotted lanternfly insect should report their finding to the WVDA. 

 All spotted lanternfly should be killed on site and reported to the WVDA. For more information or to report potential spotted lanternfly sightings, contact or 304-558-2212.


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