FITCHBURG, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced Wednesday a live nymph of the invasive spotted lanternfly was found in Worcester County.

The invasive species was found in Fitchburg in July. Recent surveys of the area did not find any evidence of an infestation but inspectors will continue to investigate. The spotted lanternfly is known to attack a variety of trees, shrubs, and vines, and could impact a large range of products like apples, peaches, grapes and maple syrup.

MDAR has not been able to identify the origin of the pest but suspect it could have been accidently transported into the state from another state dealing with the invasive species. They are asking the public to be on the lookout for any signs of the spotted lanternfly, especially in the central northern area of the state.

“This most recent find is a good reminder to everyone that there is a significant risk that the spotted lanternfly will continue to accidentally be brought into Massachusetts from other states” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “Early detection plays an important role in the protection of our state’s economic and ecological resources from invasive species. We ask anyone in the Fitchburg area to check for and report any signs of spotted lanternfly, and we remind everyone in Massachusetts to keep an eye out for this pest.”

Where you can spot a Spotted Lanternfly

Nymphs of SLF, from left to right, youngest to oldest (photo credit: Teá Kesting-Handly)

The bug can be found congregating on sides of buildings, in or on vehicles, or on plants they prefer to attack, including tree of heaven, grape and walnut. They may attach themselves to goods being transported into the state from the following states:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

What to do if you find a Spotted Lanternfly

If you happen to come across a spotted lanternfly, MDAR encourages you to take a photo or collect the specimen and report it to the department online. Search the area for both adult insects as well. a full size spotted lanternfly is identified as large, gray bugs, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings. Nymphs of the insect look black with white dots and older nymphs are red with black and white spots.

Massachusetts has identified the insect in the state several times in the last few years but no evidence shows that they have become established in the state. Two dead specimens of the invasive pest were found in Milford and Norwood in eastern Massachusetts in September 2020.