West Virginia Nature October 19, 2021
Watch Out, There’s A Nasty New Insect In West Virginia That’s Bad News For Walnuts, Apples, And Grapes
Keep your eyes peeled, West Virginia lovers, because a new invasive bug has made its way into Almost Heaven. It’s bent on destroying some of our most beloved trees, and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture has issued clear instructions regarding it: kill on sight (and on site)!
There's a new kid in town in West Virginia, and the word on the street is that we're definitely NOT rolling out the red carpet in welcome.
This new kid is actually an invasive insect - the spotted lanternfly. And it's bad, bad news for the state of West Virginia, unless it can be eradicated quickly before it establishes a foothold here in the Mountain State.
Originally from China, Spotted Lanternflies prey on trees and plants, including West Virginia favorites like apple and walnut trees. They also love grape vines, Tree of Heaven, Virginia creeper, maples, birch, and many other woody trees and plants. These bugs devastate their hosts - which is one of the big reasons plant lovers are so worried about the bugs' presence here.
And by "here," we do mean West Virginia. Spotted Lanternflies have been confirmed in Jefferson, Berkeley, Mineral, and Hampshire counties, and officials are urging anyone who comes across one to squish it on sight. "If you see 'em, squash 'em!" instructs the West Virginia Department of Agriculture... and once you've squashed, report your sighting to the WVDA.
Adult Spotted Lanternflies are shades of tan, gray, and orange-red, with black spots.
Spotted Lanternfly nymphs (juveniles) are black or red and black with white spots, and can hop.
Spotted Lanternflies can lay their eggs on vehicles, boats, campers, and other objects, so check these items and others before traveling if you're from a county with a known lanternfly presence.
Have you ever seen a Spotted Lanternfly? Did you even know these had made their way into West Virginia? Now that you do, be on the lookout! Save the apples (and other trees)!
Learn more about the Spotted Lanternfly and even watch a
Spotted Lanternfly Detection Training Video on the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s website. Unfortunately, Spotted Lanternflies aren’t the only invasive pests killing beloved trees in West Virginia, either.