Invasive pest spotted laternfly found in Vermont

Rutland County

FILE – This Sept. 19, 2019, file photo, shows a spotted lanternfly at a vineyard in Kutztown, Pa. State agriculture officials have added 12 counties to the quarantine list, raising the total number of counties under quarantine to 26. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — An invasive pest considered to be a threat to a variety agricultural crops has been found in Vermont.

Three spotted lanternflies were discovered in Rutland on cargo entering the state in mid-August, WCAX-TV reported.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive species and if established it would spread rapidly,” said Cary Giguere, the state’s agricultural resource management director. There are no known infestations in Vermont currently, said Emilie Inoue, the state survey coordinator with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

Its favorite tree is the tree of heaven, which isn’t common in Vermont, but the colorful plant hopper could harm other trees and vines if it gets established. Native to Asia, the fly with black spots and red underwings sucks sap from valuable trees and vines, weakening them.

“If the pest did get established, it could affect our grapes, hops, apples, and maple,” Giguere said.

The state has increased its traps in the Rutland area and in other areas.

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