WCPO: UC expert warns to look out for lanternflies

Invasive species is showing up on Ohio trees

WCPO turned to a University of Cincinnati biologist to explain why homeowners should keep watch for an invasive insect that is showing up in the Midwest.

The spotted lanternfly was first observed in the United States in 2014. Today, it's found in 11 states, including Ohio. It feeds on fruiting trees, among others, and can cause extensive damage, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The insect is native to parts of Asia but has been introduced to several other countries around the world.

A spotted lanternfly.

A spotted lanternfly. Photo/Walthery/Wikimedia Commons

Pennsylvania instituted a products quarantine across much of the state, requiring permitting for residents or businesses to transport landscaping, logs, grapevines, nursery stock and other items that could harbor insects in the affected counties.

UC associate professor Joshua Benoit told WCPO that some plants have better natural defenses than others to new insect threats.

"Usually when a new invasive pest shows up, what will happen is a lot of the plants here are adapted to fight them off," Benoit said. "And so you end up with a lot of jumping to new hosts and a lot more damage. They're not necessarily expecting it."

Anyone who sees a spotted lanternfly is advised to kill it and notify the Ohio Department of Agriculture

Watch the WCPO report.

Featured image at top: A spotted lanternfly. Photo/Rhododendrites/Wikimedia Commons

Joshua Benoit in his lab.

Students in UC associate professor Joshua Benoit's lab study insect physiology in species found around the world. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand

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