Virginia Tech® home

Spotting the highly invasive spotted lanternfly

Loading player for
Category: research Video duration: Spotting the highly invasive spotted lanternfly
The spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect that has damaged agricultural crops in the northeast U.S. (creating a black sticky mess that stinks of sour vinegar), has been found in Virginia. Officials are hoping that citizens across the commonwealth will help monitor and track the movement of the pest.
[00:00:00] >> The spotted lanternfly, an invasive bug from China, has been wreaking havoc on agricultural crops and causing a nuisance in the Northeast since 2014. Now, the pest has found its way to Virginia. The insect can attack everything from peach and apple trees to hops and grapes. In homeowners' backyards, swarms of several hundreds of lanternflies can attack one tree, leaving behind a clear, sticky honey dew that allows a black sooty mold to grow and could have a vinegar smell. [00:00:30] Infestations can rival those of the 17-year cicada. To date, the spotted lanternfly has been found only in Winchester, Virginia, but it was identified near a transportation hub. The insect can lay its eggs on railroad cars, automobiles, wood pallets, and rock, enabling it to spread its range. Entomologists and Virginia Cooperative Extension officials are trying to track its movement to confirm its range. [00:00:59] People who find the pest are asked to go to our website and report its location.