The spotted lanternfly is poised to invade Maryland for the first time this spring. The invader has harmed important crops including grapes, fruit trees, hop plants and hardwoods, and left gardens, decks and patio furniture covered in goo.
A spotted lanternfly has been found in a trap in Cecil County, raising concern that the invasive species could soon establish itself in Maryland.
The insects can damage or destroy crops and leave porches covered in goo.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture will conduct surveys throughout the fall and into the winter in search of any lanternfly eggs, in hopes of preventing it from gaining a foothold in the state.
“By staying ahead of the spotted lanternfly we can keep our farmers’ crops and the state’s agricultural industries safe,” Secretary Joe Bartenfelder said.
Officials are hopeful an invasion is not imminent, given the circumstances under which the lanternfly was found in Cecil.
“Luckily, we found the first spotted lanternfly toward the end of the season and the confirmed spotted lanternfly is a male — which means it did not produce any egg masses in the state,” Kim Rice, manager of the department’s Plant Protection and Weed Management Program Manager, said in a statement.
Spotted lanternfly flock to tree of heaven, and it seems necessary to complete their life cycle.
By Ellen Nibali
Aug 16, 2018 | 9:00 AM
Spotted lanternflies feed on more than 70 types of plants and crops, including grapes, hops, apples and peaches as well as oak and pine trees.
The speckled, four-winged insect is native to China, Vietnam and parts of India. After a population was detected in Berks County, Pa., the insect has spread to 12 other counties in that state and to parts of Delaware, Virginia and New Jersey.