'Most Destructive Species in 150 Years' Is Here for Xmas

But don't worry, unless you're growing crops
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2018 12:20 PM CDT
This undated photo provided by the Penn State Extension shows spotted lanternfly.   (Emelie Swackhamer/Penn State Extension via AP)

(Newser) – Reading media reports about "invasive insects" that could sneak into your home on a friendly Christmas tree? Technically it's true—spotted lanternflies have been seen in four US states and could lay eggs in a tree—but tree-growers say it's rare and the inch-long insects, while possibly annoying, won't bite or eat your houseplants. The Department of Agriculture warns they're more of an economic threat because they do like feeding on apples, grapes, plants, and fruits, per Pix 11. Native to China, they likely came to North America on Asian imports and have been spotted in Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

"We are sad to report that we have had our first sighting of the spotted lanternfly on our property today," a Pennsylvania nature center posted this week on Facebook, per Fox News. "If it is new to you, this invasive plant hopper is threatening the forests of the northeast as well as the lumber and agricultural industries." It could be "the most destructive species in 150 years," says Penn State, and WDVM says it's already harming crops in Winchester, Virginia. But a Pennsylvania educator tells Lancaster Online that Christmas-tree owners need only check trees for eggs—and if you see any, "get a container with a little alcohol in it and scrape the eggs into the container," he says. "That will kill the eggs." (Meanwhile, scientists have made a "critical" find on honeybees and herbicide.)

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