CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) has confirmed a second population of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly (Lycormia delicatula) near Ridgeley, WV. The invasive pest was reported through the WVDA’s Bug Busters hotline on September 28 and confirmed by WVDA and APHIS employees the following week. The WVDA collected a specimen and will be conducting treatments with USDA-APHIS to contain the insects.
“Our staff have been diligent on public outreach and inspections. The fact this report came from a resident, shows folks are on the lookout for this new, invasive pest,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “If you believe you spot the Spotted Lanternfly, make sure to report it to the WVDA.”
The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive plant hopper that is native to China and arrived in North America hidden on goods imported from Asia. Juvenile spotted lanternflies, known as nymphs, and adults prefer to feed on the invasive tree known as Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), but also feed on a wide range of crops and plants, including: grapes, apples, hops, walnuts and hardwood trees.
“The WVDA is encouraging landowners to inspect their property for egg masses and adult life stages, especially for properties that contain numerous Tree-of-Heaven,” said WVDA Spotted Lanternfly Coordinator Kristen Wickert. “The greater the effort to track the movement of this pest, the more effective our treatment can be to combat it. We rely heavily on the public to aid us on this effort.”
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works.