Bedford residents are warned to be on the lookout for invasive Spotted Lanternfly

Cheryl E Preston

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Spotted Lantern FlyBedford

The Spotted Lanternfly is invasive to agriculture and home gardens

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is reporting that an invasive planthopper that can wreak havoc on agriculture, as well as home gardens, known as the Spotted Lanternfly, is nearby. Residents of Bedford have been warned against this pest that looks like a cross between a moth, housefly, and butterfly and has distinctive spots all over its wings.

According to officials from Bedford County, "this exotic insect" has no known enemies in the United States and was first discovered in Virginia in 2018. and was discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014. In an attempt to slow the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly, VDACS announced in July it had established a quarantine zone in Wythe, Albemarle, Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Carroll, Page, Warren, Rockbridge, Prince William, Rockingham, and Shenandoah, counties.

The quarantine is also for the following Virginia cities as well: Lexington, Charlottesville, Waynesboro, Harrisonburg, Buena Vista, Manassas, Lynchburg, Waynesboro, Manassas Park, and Staunton; and Waynesboro, and Winchester. Bedford at this present time has not been added to the list. This quarantine reportedly requires businesses to obtain a permit from VDACS and inspect all regulated items listed on the VDACS website — prior to leaving the quarantine area.

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Spotted LanternflyFCVA

Methods of preventing the spread of this dreaded pest

The preferred host of the Spotted Lanternfly is Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), but the insect will also feed on more than 100 other plant species, including grapevines, peach, apple, and cherry trees. Bedford County is sharing the following tips to prevent the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly.

  • Kill a Spotted Lanternfly if you see one no matter what stage of life it is in.
  • Inspecting for and killing Spotted Lanternfly prior to moving any items that are stored outdoors.
  • Managing Tree of Heaven, on your property since this is the insect's preferred host.
  • Keep doors and windows shut
  • Be careful not to park near trees and shrubs
  • Do not store items under or near trees and shrubs

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA
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