Mass. officials urge residents to keep an eye out for spotted lanternflies

BOSTON (WHDH) - The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is warning residents to keep an eye out for spotted lanternflies, an invasive pest that may have been unintentionally imported and planted in several parts of the state.

State officials on Friday announced that two dead specimens of the spotted lanternfly were recovered in the towns of Milford and Norwood.

The pest is said to have been brought into Massachusetts on materials shipped from Pennsylvania counties that currently under a spotted lanternfly quarantine.

Officials say they also recently learned that nursery stock with spotted lanternfly egg masses and adults may have been distributed across the state.

Anyone who has received goods or materials, such as plants, landscaping materials, or outdoor furniture from a state with a known infestation is urged to carefully check for signs of the spotted lanternfly.

As of Friday, the lanternfly has been detected in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Residents are being asked to take a photo or collect the lanternfly specimen, and report any potential sightings of the pest using MDAR’s online reporting form. Residents should look for large, gray insects, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings, or inch-long, rectangular yellowish-brown egg masses covered with a gray waxy coating.

The spotted lanternfly, a sap-feeding insect from Asia, is said to attack a variety of trees, shrubs, and vines, and has the potential to impact a broad range of agricultural commodities, including apples, peaches, grapes, and maple syrup, as well as the ornamental nursery industry.

The insect was first detected in the United States in 2014.

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