Invasive, crop-damaging Spotted Lanternfly reported in Bunker Hill area

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The state Department of Agriculture has confirmed the Spotted Lanternfly has been located in West Virginia.


A native insect of China, the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycormia delicatula) likely arrived to the United States via imported goods. The bug has been located numerous times in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Virginia.

The Spotted Lanternfly was found in the Bunker Hill area of Berkeley County on October 30. This was the first reported sighting of the bug in the Mountain State.

The insect feeds on a wide range of crops and plants, including, grapes, apples, hops, walnuts and hardwood trees. Adult Spotted Lanternflies prefer to feed on the invasive tree known as Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima).

“We have been surveying for this invasive pest for the past two years. We knew it was only a matter of time until the Spotted Lanternfly made it to our state,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “The next step is to ask for formal assistance from our federal and state partners to put together an action plan to combat this pest.”

If needed, treatments can be conducted for the Spotted Lanternfly in the spring of 2020 with the United States Department of Agriculture.

“Our main concern is protecting the orchards and wineries in the Eastern Panhandle. Without proper management, the Spotted Lanternfly could have a devastating impact on these industries. We must act swiftly if we are to diminish their impact,” Leonhardt said.

The WVDA encourages residents to check their properties for egg masses. If you see a Spotted Lanternfly, call the WVDA at 304-558-3550. For more information, visit the WVDA’s website.