The spotted lanternfly is native to India, China, and Vietnam, and is believed to have arrived in America in a cut stone shipment in 2012. By July 2021, the lanternfly had spread to about half of Pennsylvania, large areas of New Jersey, and parts of New York state, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. It also has been found in western Connecticut, eastern Ohio, and now Indiana. To give an idea of how fast these lanternflies spread, they were introduced into South Korea in 2004 and spread throughout that entire country—which is approximately the size of Pennsylvania—in only three years.
The lanternfly’s eggs are easily and quickly spread. The egg masses, which resemble smears of dry mud, can be laid on the smooth surfaces of cars, trucks, and trains. Then they can be unintentionally transported to any part of the country in just a few days. Once the eggs hatch, the insects crawl to nearby host plants to start a new infestation.
Frank A. Hale, professor of horticultural crop entomology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, discussed for The Conversation how damaging lanternflies can be, how scientists are trying to stop the spread, and what to do if you spot one.
Hale stressed that people should be worried about the appearance of lanternflies because of how quickly they spread and the damage they are able to cause. Eventually the lanternfly will spread to many parts of the country, but the process can be slowed by identifying and eradicating new infestations wherever they arise. Read the full article on The Conversation.
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Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375, firstname.lastname@example.org)