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New invasive insect discovered in Virginia

Photo: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
Photo: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture(WHSV)
Published: Feb. 9, 2018 at 12:01 PM EST
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State agriculture officials say they've discovered a new invasive insect in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced Thursday that both egg masses and dead adult spotted lanternflies were detected at a stone yard near Winchester last month.

Prior to that, the insect, Lycorma delicatula, had been seen

, but not here in the commonwealth.

According to the department, the spotted lanternfly feeds on more than 70 plants, including grapes, stone fruits, hops and ailanthus (Tree of Heaven), and can be a nuisance to homeowners when found in large numbers.

The adults are described as one-inch long and a half-inch wide at rest. The forewing is grey with black spots. The hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band.

The first U.S. detection of the insect native to China, India and Vietnam was in 2014 at a Pennsylvania business that imports stone products. The department says products from that business went to the Frederick County stone yard.

An inspection found them on ailanthus trees located on the property.

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $17.5 million in emergency funding to fight the spread of the insect in Pennsylvania.

Now, Virginia officials will be conducting a survey in the surrounding area in an effort to determine the extent of the infestation.

For more information on Spotted Lanternfly in Virginia, click

.

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