Spotted lanternfly posing a threat to Connecticut vineyards and crops
Experts say the spotted lanternfly could do a lot of damage to some of the state's vegetation in western Connecticut.
The spotted lanternfly has already found a home in New York City, and it's heading to Connecticut.
"We're getting a lot of reports from Greenwich, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Southport. In New Haven County, we're receiving a lot of reports from Milford and Orange," said state entomologist Dr. Victoria Smith.
The plant-eating pests are relatively new to the area.
"They came in a load of stone from Korea. They're native to China and Korea and areas like that. But they came on a load of stone into a stone yard in Pennsylvania in 2014," said Smith.
Smith said the bugs can be a real nuisance because they can multiply rather quickly. She says they pose a real threat to Connecticut vineyards.
"If you grow grapes, they will kill a vineyard within two to three years," said Smith. The state alerted local vineyards, and they are now taking steps to protect their crops. Smith said the spotted lanternfly sucks all the sap out of the vine and creates a sticky honeydew that causes mold in the vines and kills them off. That is leaving a sour taste with wine lovers and the Connecticut Package Stores Association.
"It's of concern that if it could be possibly diminishing some of the product that you know is coming into the wineries," said Sean Hughes, with the Connecticut Package Stores Association.
Hughes said Pennsylvania spent about $20 million a few years ago to get rid of the bugs.
Experts advise that you kill a spotted lanternfly by any means possible if you encounter one. Gardening experts suggest using a mixture of neem oil and insecticide to protect your plants.
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has asked anyone who sees a spotted lanternflies to report it by contacting email@example.com.