Virginia Tech News Release (Nov 5)

November 5, 2020 — When the highly invasive spotted lanternfly was first discovered in the woods surrounding Kate Reed’s Winchester, Virginia, home, it occurred in such small numbers that finding it required a short trip and careful observation in a small area of trees. This year, the spotted lanternfly so heavily populated her community that neighbors complain of insects scaling buildings up to fifth-floor balconies and thick swarms of large adult lanternflies can be seen congregating on newly cut tree stumps of its preferred host species, tree of heaven.

“I had not seen them in downtown Winchester before this year,” said Reed, a Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener. “Now they’re all over.”

The spotted lanternfly has spread quickly in the two-and-a-half years since its detection. The pest, which poses a serious threat to Virginia farmers and can be an extreme nuisance for citizens, has expanded its range within the City of Winchester and Frederick County and to neighboring Clarke County. However, much of Virginia could eventually face similar infestations.

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