Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Headed Toward Maryland

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An adult with wings spread shows the colorful hind wing of the spotted lanternfly.
Holly Raguza, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

 

SUDLERSVILLE, Md. – Snipping away at old branches, farmers like Jennie Schmidt of Queen Anne’s County know all too well how hard it is to grow grapes.

“Mother Nature is the biggest challenge to any farmer, period,” Schmidt said.

And now Mother Nature, in the shape of a quarter-sized, red and black polka-dotted bug, is about to make Schmidt’s job even more challenging.

The spotted lanternfly, already pestering nearby states like Pennsylvania and Virginia, is on its way to Maryland.

Schmidt says she’s prepping.

“I’m not terribly worried yet but, I don’t know what to expect,” Schmidt said.

The bug, which is native to Asia, first appeared in the U.S. in 2014.

It’s been wreaking havoc mostly in vineyards and orchards, feeding off sap and leaving crops vulnerable to infection.

Aaron Shurtleff of the Maryland Department of Agriculture says they know only a little about the bug at this point and it’s not looking good.

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