Invasive Bug Found in Southbury — If You See it, Squash It
An insect indigenous to Asia and first seen in Pennsylvania back in 2014 has now made its way to Connecticut and has been spotted in Southbury.
It's called the spotted lanternfly, and the main problem with this insect is that besides primarily feeding on trees, it can also feed on a wide variety of plants such as grapevine, hops, maple, walnut, fruit trees and others.
Since it feeds heavily on grapevines and hops, a large group of lanternflies could threaten Connecticut's wine and beer industry. In Pennsylvania, the insect has been responsible for killing mature grape vines in two to three years, and the state’s agriculture department estimates the insects threaten $18 billion worth of Pennsylvania agriculture.
According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, another issue of the spotted lanternfly is that while feeding, it also produces a sticky, sugary residue that can attract other insects and bees. The honeydew, as it's called, is sticky and hard to get rid of and can cause the growth of a black mold called "sooty mold" that can further hurt plants and vegetation.
The other concern of the CT DEEP is that even though there has been only one adult male spotted, adults lay eggs on nearly anything from trunks, roots, firewood, furniture and even cars. The bug reproduces rather quickly and can lay egg masses with up to 50 eggs each.
According to a Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station news release, no other spotted lanternflies were found along with this one, though a live insect strongly suggests others may be present within easy transport from somewhere in the region.
So what should you do if you spot one of these insects, which are about one inch long and half an inch wide, with grey upperwings and bright orange underwings? The folks in Pennsylvania have taken the most aggressive approach in the country by telling residents to immediately kill them when they see them. They have also set up quarantines that are already in place in some areas.
If you spot a lanternfly you should also contact the CT DEEP as soon as possible at 860-424-3000.