CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginians are being told to be on the lookout for an invasive insect.
The state Department of Agriculture says in a news release that a small population of the spotted lanternfly was detected in the Eastern Panhandle community of Bunker Hill last month.
The insects are devastating to trees and crops such as grapes and hops. They lay eggs in the fall on surfaces including vehicles, firewood, outdoor furniture and campers. That allows them to hitch a ride to new areas.
Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt says protecting the fruit orchards and wineries in the Eastern Panhandle is a concern.
The agency says landowners should inspect their property for lanternfly egg masses. The insect is native to China and likely arrived in North America on goods imported from Asia.
May 29, 2019:
A quarantine has now been established in part of Virginia due to an invasive species that threatens the producers of many fruits.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced the establishment of the Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine on Tuesday.
The quarantine covers Frederick County and the city of Winchester, effective immediately.
According to a release, this is an attempt to slow the spread of the invasive insect to uninfested areas of the commonwealth.
It adds this species of insect can feed on more than 70 plant species, including grapes, apples, stone fruits such as peaches, hops and the Ailanthus altissima, or the Tree of Heaven, which is the insect's preferred host.
VDACS says the insect was first detected in Virginia in Winchester in January 2018, and subsequent surveys found it established in the city and spreading into Frederick County just north of the city.
Before the spotted lanternfly was found in Virginia, it had only been confirmed in Pennsylvania in 2014, but there are now populations of it established in New Jersey and Delaware as well.
All four states now have active quarantine areas for the species.
Under the quarantine, businesses must get a permit from VDACS and inspect articles that are considered a risk for movement of the insect species when such products are being moved out of the quarantine zone.
Such articles include plants, lumber, firewood, industrial or construction material and equipment, stone, shipping containers such as wood crates or boxes, outdoor household articles like grills and mowers, recreational vehicles, and any other means of conveyance.
Once an inspection has been completed, an inspection statement will need to be submitted.
The permit and inspection statement requirements in Virginia will also meet the quarantine requirements in place in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
People trying to cross into New York with regulated items will also need a permit due to that state having an exterior quarantine even though it does not have an active population of the species.
Though VDACS is granting a 30-day grace period for businesses and people to comply with the requirements of the quarantine, businesses are encouraged to start inspections immediately and get a permit as soon as possible.
There will be an informational meeting about the quarantine requirements on June 6 at the Frederick County Public Safety Building on Coverstone Drive in Winchester for people interested in learning more.
In order to get the permit, businesses will need to complete training about the insect and submit a training credential for it and an SLF Permit Application to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about all of this can be found by clicking here and scrolling down to the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) entry.