Maryland officials are preparing for the likely spring invasion of a leaf-hopping insect that harms crops and recently overran southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday the spotted lanternfly appears to have caused more damage in less time than any invasive insect to arrive in the mid-Atlantic region. The spotted, four-winged bug first appeared in the U.S. roughly three years ago when a shipment of stone from Asia arrived in Berks County, Pennsylvania with lanternfly eggs attached. It has damaged crops including grapes, fruit trees and hardwoods.
University of Maryland entomologist Mary Kay Malinoski says residents should become informed about the lanternflies and report sightings.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided $5.5 million to help Pennsylvania researchers study the lanternflies and recently announced another $17.5 million in emergency funding.
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