Invasion of Lanternflies

Mary Kay Malinoski, a veteran entomologist with the University of Maryland’s agricultural extension program, has never seen anything like the spotted lanternfly, a leaf-hopping pest that recently overran southeastern Pennsylvania and is poised to invade Maryland for the first time this spring.

The speckled, four-winged insect, native to China, Vietnam and parts of India, first appeared in the United States a little more than three years ago, when a shipment of stone from Asia arrived in Berks County, Pa., with lanternfly eggs attached.

Since then, the invader has harmed important crops including grapes, fruit trees, hop plants and hardwoods, and left gardens, decks and patio furniture in more than a dozen Pennsylvania counties covered in goo. It feasts on more host plants than expected, reproduces more quickly than anticipated, and faces no known native predators. It also latches onto a wide variety of hard surfaces, allowing it to travel to parts unknown aboard cars, trucks and trains.

Read the entire article here: