PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The spotted lantern fly is a growing threat to fruit trees and grape vines in the region. State officials are still trying to develop an effective way to stop it.
The invasive insect is a large colorful bug that was first detected in Berks County in 2014 and can endanger apple and peach trees, grapes and hardwoods.
“This insect lands on a tree and it inserts its piercing sucking mouth parts into the tree and it sucks out the juice of the tree,” said Amy Korman, from the Penn State Extension Service.
Korman says in that process it lays a sticky substance that promotes growth of a black, sooty mold that can endanger a tree’s leaves.
“We have some scientific evidence from Asia that it can kill plants by doing this,” she said.
The spotted lantern fly has spread into Montgomery, Chester, Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton counties.
Korman says scientists are working with pesticides to try to halt the spotted lantern fly’s advance and want to…
“Give recommendations for the least toxic products that are out there,” she said.
Korman says they’re also looking at wasps as a means to infect the fly’s population with a parasite to stop the bug from reproducing.