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Officials urging people to kill Spotted Lanternflies if they see one

Spotted Lanternflies are known to damage crops which can have a negative impact on businesses.

CONNECTICUT, USA — State officials sent an urgent warning about Spotted Lanternflies, an invasive insect that is a major threat to crops in Connecticut. 

So far, over 4,000 reports of these insects have been reported in the state and officials expect that number to grow. 

"It is a menace. A clear and spreading menace," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal. 

Originally from Asia, the Spotted Lanternfly may be visually stimulating when in fact, they are nature's worst enemies. They can kill crops which may have a negative economic impact on vineyards, farms and orchards. 

State Entomologist Victoria Smith with the Connecticut Agricultural Station said time is running out before they populate even more. 

"This insect will kill a vineyard in two to three years and as you know, a vineyard is a long-term investment for the grower," said Smith. 

Labeled as champion hitchhikers, they will attach to cars, cargo planes and anything that moves, so the next time you are at a rest stop, officials said drivers should inspect their cars before hitting the road again. 

"It’s very adept at getting into little cracks and crevices anywhere, getting into cargo, getting anywhere it can and taking a ride," added Smith. 

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal proposed a Spotted Lanternfly Research Development Act which will allow for more research and funding to combat the spread of the insects. 

"About half of CT’s forests – the kind of trees that are in our forests are susceptible – Walnut, Willow, Maple," added Sen. Blumenthal. 

However, there are good and bad news. The good news is that lanternflies are killed by cold temperatures so once it hits 28 degrees and below, they are dead. 

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The bad news is there could potentially be more out there. 

"You won’t see them in Christmas time but the eggs will be there and the eggs hatch in the spring," added Sen. Blumenthal. 

If you see a Spotted Lanternfly, you are urged to squash it and report it. 

You are advised to take a picture of it if possible and report it here

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and X.


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