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Spotted lanternfly reported in Vermont

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 7:02 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2021 at 8:11 AM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is on the offensive in search of a new invasive species they recently spotted in the Green Mountain State.

“This insect travels so readily,” said Emilie Inoue, the state survey coordinator with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

It’s only been a little over a week since state experts became aware of three spotted lanternflies making their way into Vermont, all of which they say were taken care of.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is on the offensive in search of a new invasive species they...
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is on the offensive in search of a new invasive species they recently spotted here in Vermont.

“As of right now, no known infestations here in Vermont,” Inoue said.

In mid-August, three were found in Rutland on cargo coming from out of state.

Inoue and a team immediately upped their trap count in the area, and in areas of interest. But why is the spotted lanternfly such a concern?

“The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species and if established it would spread rapidly,” said Cary Giguere, the director for Public Health, Agriculture Resource Management at the Agency of Agriculture.

Giguere says the bug’s favorite is the tree of heaven. That isn’t a common tree in Vermont, but the insect will harm trees we are familiar with.

“If the pest did get established, it could affect our grapes, hops, apples and maple,” said Giguere.

“But luckily when they feed on those, the survivability doesn’t seem to be as great as if it feeds on tree of heaven,” said Inoue.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is on the offensive in search of a new invasive species they...
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is on the offensive in search of a new invasive species they recently spotted here in Vermont.(Courtesy: Vt. Agency of Agriculture)

Inoue and Giguere say it may not only hurt trees and plants by sucking sap and encouraging mold growth but is bothersome.

“Honestly, it is a huge nuisance pest,” said Inoue.

The bug swarms the trees giving them a moving appearance.

It also secretes a type of sugar, attracting things like bees to your backyard.

For now, they trap and continue searching, but they have gotten a little too close for the state’s comfort.

They plan to continue to educate so people know what they’re looking for, especially if they are planning any travel to end the summer.

“If people are traveling in and out of the quarantine area, check your car, check your stuff, be on the lookout for this pest,” said Giguere.

“It lays eggs on any smooth service, so one of the problem we have been having is grills, people traveling up for tourism. It hasn’t been as busy as it has been in recent years, but people are still moving so the pest doesn’t move as readily by itself but with human transportation and hitchhiking it can get all over the place,” said Inoue.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is on the offensive in search of a new invasive species they...
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is on the offensive in search of a new invasive species they recently spotted here in Vermont.(Courtesy: Vt. Agency of Agriculture)

Research is still being done to determine if the fly is capable of surviving colder temperatures, but a warming Vermont is also part of their concern, lacking cold winters means more insects like this one can survive here.

Click here for more information from Vermont officials.

Click here on how to report the fly to the USDA.

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