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Posted on: April 8, 2019

Loudoun Offers Training to Help Stop the Spread of the Spotted Lanternfly

Images of Stages of Life of the Spotted Lanternfly

Loudoun County is offering free training and information sessions to help increase awareness of the threat of the spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect that can have a devastating effect on agricultural crops. 

The educational sessions offered by the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Loudoun County are designed to equip homeowners associations, farmers and other individuals and organizations in the county with the information they need to help prevent the spread of the invasive insect, which feeds on Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven) and more than 70 plants, including crops such as grapes, peaches, plums, cherries and hops. 

Officials say early detection is vital to managing the spotted lanternfly. Through the trainings, residents can learn how to: 

•    Identify spotted lanternfly in its different life stages;

•    Destroy egg masses that are laid on tree trunks and other surfaces; and

•    Identify Tree of Heaven from other look-alike trees and remove female trees from their yard. 

The life cycle of the insect is a single generation every year. Adult spotted lanternflies usually die at the onset of winter; however, their egg masses can survive below-zero temperatures. Egg masses typically include 30 to 50 jellybean-shaped eggs in neat rows covered by a waxy substance that looks like mud. The egg masses can accumulate on tree trunks and other surfaces from October to early spring, creating the possibility that infested material or items containing egg masses could be moved inadvertently to a new location. 

To request a training session or for more information about the spotted lanternfly, contact horticulturalist Beth Flores-Sastre of the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Loudoun County by phone at 703-737-8978 or by email.  

Anyone who sees a spotted lanternfly or an egg mass is encouraged to report it to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Loudoun Office, by phone at 703-771-5150 or through this online form.

More information, including links to a variety of informational resources about the spotted lanternfly, is online at www.loudoun.gov/spottedlanternfly

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