This pest is a hitchhiker — and could ruin NC’s $92B agriculture industry, officials say

North Carolina news

Spotted Lanternfly (USDA.gov)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WFMY/WNCN) — While traveling this summer, don’t let this pesky bug hitch a ride with you.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture says the Spotted Lanternfly “poses a significant threat to [North Carolina’s] $91.8 billion agriculture industry.”

NCDA&CS is urging travelers to be on the lookout for the invasive species, especially if you’re driving through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware or New Jersey.

North Carolina has had no reports of the Spotted Lanternfly, which are sometimes called hijackers or planthoppers. The bug is native to China and can hitchhike easily to move long distances.

The Department of Agriculture suggests washing your vehicle before traveling through northeastern states, and don’t move firewood.

All life stages of Spotted Lanternfly can hitchhike, but the eggs and adults pose the greatest risk for movement. In northern states, adults can lay their eggs on any outdoor flat surfaces from July to December.

The Spotted Lanternfly “damages trees causing them to develop weeping wounds that leave a gray or black trail of sap down the trunk. This sap attracts other insects, such as wasps and ants, and can lead to the formation of fungal mats at the base of trees,” according to the NCDA&CS.

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