FITCHBURG, Mass. (WPRI) — The invasive and damaging spotted lanternfly has been detected in Massachusetts for the second time this year, according to the state’s Department of Agricultural Resources.
The recently discovered infestation is currently limited to three trees located in Fitchburg, which is close to where an lanternfly nymph was reported earlier this summer, according to environmental officials.
The origin of the infestation has not yet been identified, however, spotted lanternflies are known to travel out of infested states on cars, trucks, trains and other modes of transportation.
While spotted lanternflies have been reported in different parts of the state over the past several years, this is the first time Massachusetts has found evidence of a breeding population.
Environmental officials are urging Massachusetts residents, especially those living or working in the Fitchburg area, to be on the lookout for the invasive species.
Anyone who recently received goods or materials from states where the pest has already been spotted – including Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia – should also remain vigilant.
Native to Asia, the spotted lanternfly typically attacks a variety of different trees, shrubs and vines, as well as a broad range of agricultural commodities including apples, peaches, grapes, hops, maple syrup and ornamental plants.
“The spotted lanternfly can have devastating impacts on Massachusetts’ agricultural industry, including on a number of farms and orchards in this part of the state that we want to protect from this pest,” Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux said. “Early detection and reporting is the best way to slow the spread of spotted lanternfly.”
While a spotted lanternfly was found in Warwick last month, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management said no known population has been detected in the Ocean State.
Residents who believe they’ve found a spotted lanternfly are urged to take a photo or collect the specimen. The sighting should also be reported to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources by filling out an online form.