Be on the look out for an invasive species that could affect crops

Maryland State Officials are warning about a new invasive species that could spell trouble for farmers. 

They're called Spotted Lanternfly. They are colorful and they have a chemical inside them that can make us sick.

But their affect on agriculture is far worse. We're told they can kill host plants and yield growth because they are xylem and phloem feeders, which means they suck out all of the plants nutrients.

Ginny Rosenkranz, a commercial horticulture educator from University of Maryland Extension in Wicomico County says, "Because it's sucking the life out of the plant, any fruit that's on the plant doesn't have the proper sugars to have the flavors, so even if you harvest the fruit like apples, they aren't going to be feeding on the apples itself but the apples will not have the taste."

We're told the Spotted Lanternfly prefers fruits like grapes. They tend to lay their eggs on any flat vertical surface. The eggs are laid in groups of 20-to-50 and are covered in a waxy gray film. They've already been seen in Virginia. 

Eggs hatch in early May, so if you happen to see any in Maryland, you should report it to the Maryland Department of Agriculture at DontBug.MD@maryland.gov. 

Categories: Local News, Maryland

More: