news spotted lanternfly continues to be a threat to virginia crops

Spotted lanternfly swarms NYC; Virginia could be next

spotted lanternfly
Virginia Cooperative Extension

Spotted lanternflies are thriving in the Northeast including New York City where it has been reported that the exterior walls of buildings are covered in the speckled bugs.

The message remains the same: If you see it, squash it. And report it.

The fly is not a threat in one sense: it doesn’t sting humans. But they do cause major harm to plants and trees. The spotted lanternflies feed on crops such as grapes, apples and peaches as well as maple, timber and walnut trees, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In Virginia, Clarke, Frederick and Warren counties and the City of Winchester are heavily infested with the spotted lanternfly, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. And on social media, the lanternflies have been reported in Waynesboro and surrounding areas.

To slow the spread in Virginia, VDACS has established a quarantine for Albemarle, Augusta, Carroll, Clarke, Frederick, Page, Prince William, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren and Wythe counties; and the cities of Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Lynchburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, Staunton, Waynesboro and Winchester.

Businesses in the quarantine area are required to obtain a permit from VDACS and inspect regulated articles in the area to ensure they do not contain any life stage of the spotted lanternfly.

The spotted lanternfly was first detected in Virginia on Jan. 10, 2018, in Frederick County.

It has now been found in more than 15 cities and counties in Virginia.

If you have found a spotted lanternfly outside of Frederick, Warren and Clarke counties or the city of Winchester, you are asked to report your find to your local Virginia cooperative extension agent.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.