Conference held to discuss invasive species in the area
The Front Royal/Warren County EDA, Tourism and Community Development Office, and the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission hosted an education and training conference for officials in surrounding counties about the threats posed by the invasion of the spotted lanternfly in Virginia. The focus of this meeting was on getting the word out on how to identify the lanternfly in its four stages and informing businesses and homeowners what to do whey they are found.
The spotted lanternfly is highly invasive and can spread rapidly when introduced into new areas. The invasiveness of the lanternfly is attributed to its wide host range (more than 70 host plant species) and a lack of natural native enemies in invaded areas. First identified in Pennsylvania in 2018, this insect is causing environmental and economic havoc there to the tune of $500 million a year. The lanternfly was reported in Frederick County in 2018 and its threat has spread to 8,000 acres in the county as of 2019.
The lanternfly’s sustenance is the sap in plant vines. They prefer Ailanthus trees (tree of heaven), walnuts and grape vines as a first choice, most any other hardwood tree as a second choice and with much less frequency, pine trees.
Officials are asking the public to educate themselves on the species and report any interaction they may have with the lanternfly. A website and database of information will be available to spread the word to businesses and residents to help identify and eradicate this agricultural menace. More information will be disseminated throughout the year.
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