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Spotted Lanternfly spotted in Connecticut; invasive species threatens crops, trees

An adult spotted lanternfly.

SOUTHBURY – Another invasive species has been found in our state, and this one has the potential to attack Connecticut’s agricultural industry.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) has announced the detection of a single live spotted lanternfly in Southbury. Add it to the list with the asiatic marmorated stinkbug and emerald ash borer.

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive sap-feeding insect. Native to China, India, and Vietnam, it was first found in the United States in 2014, in Berks County, Pennsylvania. In the five years since then it has spread to several other counties, and caused massive crop losses to farms, especially grape vineyards.

The CAES says that the spotted lanternfly could “severely impact Connecticut’s farm crops, particularly apples, grapes and hops, as well as a number of tree species like maple.”

The Department of Energy & Environmental Protection says even if the insect does not kill fruit trees, “[I}t could destroy the value of the fruit. The impact on the agricultural industry of Connecticut could be devastating.”

Only the one adult insect was found in Southbury, and no more were found in the immediate area. But CAES scientists say one insect “strongly suggests others may be present within easy transport.” They plan additional surveys of the area.

And they are asking for your help in spotting the “SLF”.

CAES spotted lanternfly 'wanted poster' via Facebook

Entomologists say early detection is essential to protecting trees and agriculture from the invasive spotted lanternfly. (CAES Facebook)

At this time of year, adult spotted lanternflies can often be seen congregating on trees such as willows and tree-of-heaven. They lay egg masses on trees and ‘almost any nearby surface.’ You can see photos of spotted lanternfly, the eggmasses, and more on CT DEEP’s website.

The Agricultural Experiment Station says if you see this pest, let them know. You can email to ReportSLF@ct.gov, and if you can snap a photo, please include that with your email.

Google Map for coordinates 41.479307 by -73.213371.

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