WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The U.S. Botanic Garden put out a BOLO (be on the lookout) on Sept. 15, letting people in the District know that the spotted lanternfly could be heading for the city within the year.
The garden shared posts on Facebook and Instagram, explaining that the spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that recently showed up in Virginia and Maryland counties that surround D.C. The spotted lanternfly feeds on plants, so it poses a threat to urban landscapes as well as horticultural crops.
The District provides information about the spotted lanternfly online as well as access to the DC Invasive Species Reporter, which allows people to let officials know if they see spotted lanternflies.
According to the online information, the inch-long insects hop from place to place, rather than fly. They feed not only on plants but tree sap.
Spotted lanternflies are native to China, Vietnam, and India. They’ve been spreading across the Mid-Atlantic since 2014, when people spotted them in Pennsylvania. There have been infestations there, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Delaware, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.