FITCHBURG, MASS. (WHDH) - A small infestation of the invasive spotted lanternfly has been found in a city in Central Massachusetts, officials announced Tuesday.

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources inspectors recently uncovered the pests in Fitchburg, close to where a lanternfly nymph was reported earlier this summer

Inspectors are in the middle of performing extensive surveys in the area, but currently the infestation is limited to a single cluster of three trees, according to MDAR officials.

While the MDAR has not been able to determine the origin of the infestation, spotted lanternflies have been known to travel out of infested states on cars, trucks, and trains, during shipments of produce, sheds, and gazebos, trees and shrubs for landscaping, and many other items that are regularly sent from states with known infestations.

The MDAR is urging the public to be on the lookout for the pest, especially residents that live or work in the Fitchburg area.

“The spotted lanternfly can have devastating impacts on Massachusetts’ agricultural industry, including on a number of farms and orchards in this part of the state that we want to protect from this pest,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “Early detection and reporting is the best way to slow the spread of spotted lanternfly. Members of the public, particularly those in the Fitchburg area, have seen this pest, they are asked to report it as soon as possible.”

The spotted lanternfly attacks many different trees, shrubs, and vines, and has the potential to impact a broad range of agricultural commodities, including apples, peaches, grapes, hops, maple syrup, and ornamental plants. 

If residents find anything suspicious, they are asked to take a photo or collect the specimen, and report the sighting using MDAR’s online reporting form. Residents are being asked to look for both adult insects and egg masses.

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