More than three years after its first U.S. discovery in Berks County, Maryland officials are now preparing for the likely invasion of the spotted lanternfly this spring.
The Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday that the leaf-hopping insect appears to have caused more damage in less time than any invasive insect to arrive in the mid-Atlantic region.
The spotted, four-winged bug first appeared in the U.S. in 2014, when a shipment of stone from Asia arrived in Berks County with lanternfly eggs attached. It has damaged crops, including grapes, fruit trees and hardwoods.
"If it does here what it has done in Pennsylvania, people are going to go crazy," Malinoski told the Sun. "This is really a nasty critter."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided $5.5 million to help Pennsylvania researchers study the lanternflies and recently announced another $17.5 million in emergency funding.