WASHINGTON (ABC7) — An invasive insect that is native to countries such as China, India and Vietnam was found in Frederick County, Va. near Winchester in the first detection of its kind for the state, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced on Thursday.
The invasive pest, called the Spotted Lanternfly or Lycorma delicatula, was discovered at a stone yard last month and officials say the site had previously received products from a Pennsylvania business in 2014 where the pest was first detected in the U.S. Officials have been monitoring the Frederick County site ever since the delivery from Pennsylvania, but say this is the first time they've actually detected it there.
Officials say a Spotted Lanternfly can cause serious damage to plants and can feed on more than 70 different types.
"Spotted Lanternfly feeds on more than 70 plants, including grapes, stone fruits, hops and ailanthus (Tree of Heaven). The insect causes damage to plants because of its method of feeding, the rapid buildup of large populations and the production of honeydew, a by-product of their feeding activity that serves as a medium for fungal growth. SLF can also be a nuisance pest to homeowners when found in large numbers," the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stated in a press release sent to ABC7.
Both egg masses and dead adults were found on ailanthus trees located throughout the site's property, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services confirmed.
The department says early detention is key in containing these pests and confirmed they're working with officials in both Virginia and Pennsylvania in stopping its spread.