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New pest threatens New York apples, grapes, cherries and other crops

Growers in New York state have something new to worry about as a new pest has reared its head. The spotted lanternfly, native to Asia has been officially threatening apples, grapes, cherries and other crops the Department of Agriculture and Markets said in a release. 

The Department is urging communities across the State to help prevent the spread of spotted lanternfly by being vigilant and reporting any suspected findings.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “If left unchecked, the spotted lanternfly can wreak havoc on some of our State’s largest and economically important crops. The Department is increasing outreach to these industries and its inspections. We also need the help of the community to keep a watchful eye out for the spotted lanternfly. Early detection and continued survey is the key to eradiating this harmful pest and protecting against damage to our trees and crops.”

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Invasive insects like the spotted lanternfly threaten New York’s valuable natural resources. It’s critically important that we raise awareness and develop innovative solutions to control and limit the spread of these invasive pests. Governor Cuomo increased funding for invasive species control to $13 million through the State’s Environmental Protection Fund in this year’s budget to strengthen prevention and eradication measures that will protect the environment and our economy. We urge communities across the state to take action to learn more about these important programs and to immediately report any suspected detections of invasive species in their area.”

The Department confirmed the invasive insect as the spotted lanternfly earlier this month after employees at a facility in Delaware County reported the finding. It is thought to have arrived in New York on an interstate shipment. The single specimen was dead when it was discovered. The incident serves as an important reminder that invasive species can be transported to new locations in various ways.

Read the full USDA fact sheet on the spotted lanternfly here.

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