RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A team of Virginia Tech researchers and state entomologists is working to stop the spread of an invasive insect that has the potential to seriously damage Virginia’s grape and orchard industries.
The spotted lanternfly, an Asian insect, was first spotted in the U.S. in 2014 in Pennsylvania. It was first detected in Virginia in January.
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has urged landowners to inspect trees and plants for signs of the insect and report sightings to their local extension offices or to the department.
Doug Pfeiffer, a Virginia Tech entomologist, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch the lanternfly has already been found feeding on grapes near Winchester.
Pfeiffer said managing the pest will come down to studying where it leaves and how it reproduces.