A new exotic insect pest was recently announced by Pennsylvania agricultural officials. The Spotted Lanternfly, a colorful flying insect native to China, India, Japan and VietNam, has prompted a quarantine in five PA townships where it has been discovered. These are the only reported observations of this pest in the US so far. The Spotted Lanternfly, a planthopper, is about an inch long with colorful red and white wings. Damage is done in the nymph, pre-adult, stage. It attacks fruit trees, ornamental trees & shrubs and forest trees. Grapevines are particularly susceptible to their feeding. Although the Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima, is its preferred host for egg laying, it will lay eggs on any smooth vertical surface including lawn furniture and camper trailers. These latter sites are cause for concern because the eggs, which are deposited in masses of 50-60 eggs from late September into early winter, can readily be transported to other areas. For further information and pictures of this pest check out the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture web site.
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