Invasive spotted lanternfly discovered in North Carolina for first time, heavy infestation found in several locations

Polarbear

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species native to China, India, Vietnam, and Taiwan. The species was first discovered in the United States in 2014. Since then, they have invaded several northeastern and midwestern states. It typically sucks the nutrients from the plant it infects and can cause significant damage to crops and reduce yields.

Spotted lanternflies spread when their egg masses - 30 to 50 eggs, which cling to almost any surface, including vehicles like rail cars and trailers, as well as outdoor equipment and patio furniture, move from one place to another. Groups of them have been spotted in several counties in North Carolina, according to the NC Dept of AG.

Plant Pest Administrator with the N.C. Department of Agriculture, Joy Goforth, said:

We have been actively looking for this pest for years and had ramped up surveillance when it was detected last year near the North Carolina-Virginia line. These pests are also attracted to the invasive plant, Tree of Heaven. That's where they like to eat and lay their eggs. It’s more like the tree of death for these little guys. That’s because, in order for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture to reduce the population of the pests, they are treating its favorite meal.

If you see a suspect spotted lanternfly in North Carolina submit a picture through the online reporting tool at ncagr.gov/slf.

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