An invasive insect species native to China, India and Vietnam is posing a problem in at least two states.
The spotted lanternfly is harming crops in Winchester, Virginia, WDVM reported. The Pennsylvania-based Churchville Nature Center said the creatures were also spotted for the first time on its property Thursday.
We are sad to report that we have had our first sighting of the spotted lanternfly on our property today,” the center announced on Facebook. “If it is new to you, this invasive plant hopper is threatening the forests of the northeast as well as the lumber and agricultural industries. Please keep an eye out for the insect.”
The species poses a threat to agriculture and “has the ability to greatly impact the grape, hops and logging industries,” the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture warned.
“The insect causes damage to plants because of its method of feeding, the rapid buildup of large populations and the production of honeydew, a by-product of their feeding activity that serves as a medium for fungal growth. [Spotted lanternfly] can also be a nuisance pest to homeowners when found in large numbers,” the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a statement when the species was first detected in the state in February.