Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Headed Toward Maryland - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Headed Toward Maryland

Posted: Feb 22, 2018 6:24 PM Updated:

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.

"They kind of go undetected for a while and then they get into high enough numbers and then they start swarming," Shurtleff said.

Shurtleff says stopping the spotted lanternfly won't be easy. In a letter to the USDA, the Maryland Department of Agriculture sounds the alarm stating the bug was found just six miles from Maryland's border. The letter also says the economic impact of an infestation would be enormous and funding to stop the lanternfly is desparately needed.

For farmers like Schmidt, it's just another pest to add to her watchlist.

"You don't have to have any loss in your crops because it's a business," Schmidt said.

Business hanging by the vine - all thanks to one red and black-spotted lanternfly.




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