Invasive insect reappears, posing risk for Connecticut crops

October 17, 2020 GMT

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) — An invasive insect has reappeared in parts of Connecticut, and experts are worried it could spell danger for some of the state’s crops and trees.

The spotted lanternfly has been seen in parts of north Greenwich this fall. The brightly colored insects first arrived from Asia in 2014 and can be particularly harmful to apples and grapes. In addition to damaging the fruit, it can leave visible mold on trees.

The brightly colored bug is about an inch long and a half-inch wide with large wings. Its lower wings are bright red, and its abdomen is yellow with broad black bands.


It has been seen in 2018 and 2019 in other parts of the state but hasn’t caused major damage so far. Experts are still concerned that it could.

A recent statement from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station said the impact on the state’s agricultural industry “could be devastating.”

“They’re a threat to agriculture and forest ecosystems,” Greenwich Tree Warden Gregory Kramer told the New Haven Register. “For growers, they’re certainly a threat to apple and cherries, and they love grapes. Oak trees and maple trees are a host.”

The flies were first detected in Pennsylvania, and the mid-Atlantic region is considered a hot spot. Kramer said nurseries and homeowners should carefully inspect shipments from that area.

He also urged local residents to cut down Asian ailanthus trees, also known as trees of heaven, which are preferred hosts for the flies and produce a toxic chemical the flies absorb that helps repel predators.