|A spotted lanternfly. (Penn State photo by Michael Houtz)|
As of this year, the spotted lanternfly has been found in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. They don't bite, sting, or carry human diseases, but they do post a serious threat to farmers, especially those with vineyards, Lucia reports. Some Pennsylvania vineyards have reported up to a 90 percent crop loss.
"With this in mind, state and federal agencies have been waging a pricey war against the insect, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture allotting about $50 million—roughly $30 million of it in the past fiscal year—and Pennsylvania budgeting $3 million annually during the past two years for anti-lanternfly efforts," Lucia reports. "California’s agriculture department is also funding lanternfly research, including a project exploring the possibility of deploying small wasps as potential combatants. The spotted lanternfly has yet to establish a population in the major agricultural—and wine producing—state, but has turned up ominously on airplanes landing there."