Officials want New Yorkers to watch for spotted lanternflies

November 9, 2019 GMT

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State officials are urging New Yorkers to be on the lookout for spotted lanternfly egg masses over the winter.

The invasive insect hasn’t been found in New York yet, but it was spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has since been found in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The insects are devastating to trees and crops such as grapes and hops. They lay eggs in the fall on surfaces including vehicles, firewood, outdoor furniture and campers. That allows them to hitch a ride to new areas.

Egg masses are an inch long and often smooth and brownish gray with a shiny, waxy coating.

The state departments of environmental conservation and agriculture are urging the public to inspect outdoor items and report any egg masses to DEC.