CECIL COUNTY, Md. - Maryland's first spotted lanternfly hatch of the year has been located in Cecil County, the state announced on Thursday.
The hatch was located in the upper northeast corner of the state, near the Pennsylvania border.
The lanternfly is a non-native, invasive pest that the state department of agriculture has been closely monitoring since 2014 when it first appeared in Pennsylvania.
Experts say it “poses a major threat to the region’s agriculture industries.”
The spotted lanterfly feeds on more than 70 types of plants and crops – including grapes, hops, apples, peaches, oak and pine.
The species has populations through the region – including Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and New Jersey.
In Maryland, the pest will continue to hatch through mid-July.
They say Marylanders should keep an eye out for the lanternfly.
In its current life stage, appear as tiny white-spotted angular black nymphs about a quarter-inch in size.
There are populations of the spotted lanternfly in Cecil and Harford counties.
Last year, the state treated the lanternfly’s preferred targets – trees of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) in those counties.
They will begin continue treating in May or early June this year.
If you suspect or have located a spotted lanternfly or their egg masses, take a picture.
After you have the picture, officials say you should smash the mass or lanternfly.
Report the sighting with photo attachments and location information to the Maryland Department of Agriculture at DontBug.MD@maryland.gov.
Dead samples of spotted lanternfly from any life stage can be sent to the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Plant Protection and Weed Management Program at 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401.
More information about the spotted lanternfly can be found on the department’s website. For questions related to the quarantine, permitting, or treatment, contact that Plant Protection and Weed Management Program at 410-841-5920.