Our region braces for arrival of spotted lanternfly

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 5:23 PM EST
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THETFORD, Vt. (WCAX) - The spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect known for its colorful markings, has now been reported in 11 states, most of them on the East Coast. Officials in Vermont remain concerned about an expected spread of the damaging invasive in northern New England.

Christopher Wilson is on the lookout for invasive species all the time. He’s a plant specialist at E.C. Browns’ Nursery in Thetford. The Emerald Ash Borer is a bug that is definitely on his radar. “I generally try to talk people out of buying ash trees because they are pretty susceptible to that insect,” Wilson said.

But there’s another invasive that also has people in our region worried -- the spotted Lanternfly. “They hitch hike easily and they can lay their egg masses on just about anything,” said Vt. State Entomologist Judy Rosovsky.

The insect, which is easy to spot by its red coloring and black dots, likely came to the states from Asia. “The good news is that it’s not as harmful to trees as the ash borer. They are more like the gypsy moths, which can contribute to stressing trees out,” Rosovsky said.

The bad news is it’s a nuisance insect that secretes a sticky honeydew on everything it touches. “So then you have your deck coated with this stuff, your grill, your car, your kids’ swing set. Everything just has sticky goo on it,” said Rosovsky.

Dead spotted Lanternflies were recently located in Springfield and White River Junction and a live cluster was killed on a truck in Rutland. State officials fear more are on the way.

“I’ve talked to my colleague about it and neither of us have ever actually seen one,” Wilson said.

Vermont has a website dedicated to invasive specifies. Anyone who spots the invasive is encouraged to report it.

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