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Ohio Department of Agriculture: Invasive Spotted Lanternfly seen in Cuyahoga County

The United States Department of Agriculture says the insect is a threat to trees and fruit crops.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player above is from our sister station in Lancaster, PA.

The invasive Spotted Lanternfly has been found in Cuyahoga County, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

The Spotted Lanternfly, originally from China, was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The tiny bug is attracted to fruit trees, as well as ornamental and woody trees, one of its favorite hosts being tree-of-heaven, according to the USDA.

In a Facebook post, the Ohio Department of Agriculture said, inspectors found a population of adult Spotted Lanterfly on the east side of Cleveland on August 26, 2021. 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, alongside the USDA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension and more organizations have been working together to survey places across the state for Spotted Lanternfly, including trapping them.

Evidence of Spotted Lanternfly include: 

  • Black, sooty mold around the base of plants
  • Oozing sap from trees
  • Egg masses, which are small and grey, and covered in a waxy substance

Spotted Lanternfly go through four life stages, three of them nymph stages, before developing wings and becoming an adult. During the first stage, they are black with white spots, morphing into red with white spots and black stripes, typically in late summer, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The adult Spotted Lanternfly are about an inch long with black bodies and black, white and bright red wings, covered in black spots.

So far, the Spotted Lanternfly has been found in eleven states, all in the Eastern United States, but the USDA says "most states are considered at risk."

If you see a Spotted Lanternfly in any stage, or suspect an infestation, call the ODA Plant Pest Control at (614) 728-6400 or send them an email plantpest@agri.ohio.gov.