WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) – The USDA is calling the Spotted Lanternfly one of the worst invasive bug species in the last 150 years.
It has traveled from Asia to the U.S. and is invading the native plants in Winchester, Virginia.
“This is an example of a plant, the Tree of Heaven, this is what the Spotted Lanternfly is attracted to. You can see the leave shapes are a little bit thumb like,” said Amanda Scheetz of Sustainability Matters Virginia.
The Lanternfly is also attracted to grape vines, apple trees and peach trees.
“Those are a huge industry for the Shenandoah Valley,” said Scheetz.
“The USDA and the Virginia Department of Agriculture are working together to try to eradicate it before it spreads to people like us who have crops and things like that,” said Katherine Solenberger, Owner of Homestead Farm at Fruit Hill Orchard.
According to the Virginia Cooperation Extension, this bug could also latch onto Christmas trees and hatch eggs in your home. You should inspect your tree before bringing it inside and if you find any traces of the bug. You should take precautions.
“First you should call the cooperation extension office. Because they want to come and actually record where the Spotted Lanternfly has been sighted. You should put those little nymphs in a plastic bag and double bag it,” said Scheetz.
Katherine hopes these organizations can work together to get rid of this bug before it spreads and impacts her fruit trees.
“It is not just in one block or square mile. They’re concerned about it. I just know that it’s not a good pest to be dealing with,” said Solenberger.