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Lanternfly Threatens Fruit Crops, Vineyards and Everyone's Back Yard

Spotted Lanternfly
Va. Cooperative Extension
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A mature spotted lanternfly

Spotted lanternflies are beautiful bugs. Adults resemble moths with red and yellow wings. Nymphs are black or red with white spots, and all of them pose a smelly threat according to cooperative extension agent Adam Downy.

“Colleagues in southeast Pennsylvania report such huge numbers and lots of calls to cooperative extension about how to get rid of this thing that’s covering their back decks with insect poop, which is nicely called honeydew. It grows sooty mold, and it stinks,” he says.

Immature Spotted Lanternfly
Va. Cooperative Extension
Immature Spotted Lanternflies

Cooperative Extension has caught some spotted lanternflies in special traps, but Downy says it’s hard to catch them by hand. “They’re pretty sneaky. They don’t make any sound, and they will quickly move to the other side of a twig or branch when you’re looking to catch them, and they’re phenomenal hoppers," Downy explains.

First identified in 2018 in Warren and Clarke Counties, the bugs have now been seen in Albemarle County.

"If you see something that looks like it, please take a picture," Downy suggests. "If you’re pretty sure it is it, then feel free to squash it – especially if it’s in an area that has not yet been confirmed to have it and contact your local extension office."

He adds that the lanternflies spread by hitching a ride on trucks or cars and quarantines may be needed to keep them from moving into other parts of the state.

You can find more information here.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.