2 invasive species of bug getting too close to North Carolina for comfort, NC State expert says

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – An invasive species of beetle and fly are getting close enough to North Carolina to make North Carolina State University experts a bit anxious.

The vigilantes are the Asian long-horned beetle and the spotted lanternfly. They’re invasive species that cause nothing but destruction. In nearby states, the spotted lanternfly is writing its own version of The Grapes of Wrath.

“They’re on our doorstep. One of them is in Virginia and the other has been found in South Carolina, so grapevines in areas that they’ve already invaded, they’re seeing a 90-percent reduction in grape crops,” said Kelly Oten, an N.C. State assistant professor and extension specialist in forest health.

North Carolina’s second-most common tree, the red maple, is literally loved to death by the long-horned beetle.

“For the Asian long-horned beetle, there’s actually been really great success eradicating them from certain areas. It doesn’t look good,” Oten said. “It encompasses complete removal of host trees, but it has been successful and we can get rid of them in certain areas.”

So how did they get to the U.S. from Asia

The long-horned beetle likely came inside wood-packing materials and the lanternfly in a shipment of stone.

“For spotted lanternfly, we just really don’t want it to become established at all. The name of the game with spotted lanternfly is prevention.”

Kelly Oten

“The earlier we know these insects are here, the better our chances are of controlling them. Really, these are insects and they could be found anywhere, so we want everyone to be on the lookout. And if they see something suspicious, take a picture and report it. We need to know,” Oten said.

The public is asked to look for the insects inside pools and pool drains, as well as dog bowls because they are attracted to water. Visit PoolsidePests for more information. Report sightings via email to badbug@ncagr.gov.

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