Step Aside Gypsy Moths, There’s a New Bug in Town

by Bill Tracy

The next bug infestation: Spotted lanternflies.

Have you seem them yet? If not, you probably will in the next few years.

The Winchester region is already a quarantine area. Prince William County has them. Yesterday someone found a dead one in Fairfax County — in a grocery-store produce shipment.

I had never heard of them until I visited friends in Delaware last week.  A maple tree in the front lawn had colony of them on the bark.

The critters look a little like a moth, but when you squish them (recommended policy) they have red under wings. Upon stimulating the live bugs with a finger, they energetically leap several feet, which may account for why they spread so fast.

First discovered in eastern Pennsylvania in 2014, they are now spreading throughout southern PA, Maryland, Delaware and now areas of northern Virginia. They are invasive pests from overseas. The bugs, native to Southeast Asia, have spread to other parts of the world.

Authorities say the bugs represent a threat to Virginia’s apple, grape and wine industries.

Here is a good article and video from WUSA9-TV about problem. Citizens are asked to help stop the spread of this new bug.

Bill Tracy is a retired engineering residing in Northern Virginia.

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9 responses to “Step Aside Gypsy Moths, There’s a New Bug in Town”

  1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    Such a relief–an article about a true problem in Virginia that everyone can coalesce around. Furthermore, this is about a serious problem that is overlooked by most media–invasive species. Thanks.

    1. energyNOW_Fan Avatar

      Thank you Dick. I was not sure the subject matter would fit in until after Nov 2. I wrote it last week after a trip to Delaware, and pulled the trigger after the recent news in Fairfax.

  2. Do you think we can slow their spread by requiring the bugs to wear masks?

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    geeze… can’t we spray with DDT or something?

    1. energyNOW_Fan Avatar

      Preferably like Gypsy Moths we can develop a selective bio approach

  4. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    I recall when the brown marmorated stink bugs invaded with significant impact on similar industries in the area. I am not sure why but they are definitely not nearly as bad as they once were. I think it has to do with some of our existing species determining that they were edible (wasps and the like). The idea of finding a natural predator or some kind of biological defense is the way we should go here if we can. Bt spray is a pretty neat solution for cabbage moths, for instance.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Over time – a LONG time, evolution and adaptation take place as changes take place and some critters and plants adapt and increase their numbers and range and squeeze out others that perhaps never adapted as well , etc…

      there is so much we do not know.

      But the idea of “invasive” may pertain to a much quicker adaptation because of “leapfrogging” from one location to another by hitchhiking on modern human-built vehicles and “stuff”.

      But once something has gotten here and adapted and gotten embedded in the habitat – trying to get rid of it in various ways to include introducing other predators to weed out the “invasives” may have its own unintended impacts also.

      In our area, two “invasives” set off alarm bells,
      hydrilla and snakeheads. We have not got rid of them and they have more or less established themselves and so far the sky has not yet fallen. In fact hydrilla helps to filter sediment-laden water and snakeheads are becoming a delicacy.

      Not saying all of it is “good” or desirable but that when one species successfully adapts, no matter how it got here “natural” or with mankind help, trying to get rid of it seems to be more of a losing battle than a successful one most often.

      1. energyNOW_Fan Avatar

        Apparently snakeheads taste quite good, so we can make certain exceptions.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          and hydrilla actually helps clean up waterways…

          not all bad…

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