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This Invasive Insect Has Local Tree Huggers Worried

The spotted lanternfly may be coming to a tree near you. That's not a good thing.

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An alert has been issued for Lycorma delicatula (aka the “spotted lanternfly”) in connection with a September 2014 infestation of southeastern Pennsylvania. The inch-long invasive insect, which hails from Asia, has been sighted in 13 Pennsylvania counties and three additional states (New York, Delaware, and Virginia). There, it’s been charged with boring into pines, oaks, maples, trees of heaven, and fruit trees as well as depositing sticky fluid that attracts mold. It is considered extremely dangerous—and investigators believe it’s headed toward Colorado. The adult lanternfly is most active during late summer, so authorities have asked local residents to be on the lookout for its criminal calling cards: wilting leaves, sawdust, goopy egg masses, sap weeping from wounds in bark, and a sweet smell that causes other ill-intentioned bugs to swarm. If the eggs are seen, scrape them off, douse them in rubbing alcohol or Pine-Sol, and immediately report the sighting to a local arborist. (Most accredited companies will perform a free inspection of your yard each year.) Reward: the gratitude of your fellow tree huggers.

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