Indiana News

Insect scientists seek help to spot invasive planthopper in Indiana

The spotted lanternfly (Photo Provided/Indiana Department of Natural Resources)

VEVAY, Ind. (WISH) — A planthopper indigenous to parts of Asia has been spotted in Indiana for the first time, and the state’s Department of Natural Resources is asking Hoosiers to keep an eye out for more of the insects.

The spotted lanternfly was found in Switzerland County, in the southeastern portion of the state near Cincinnati, according to a tweet from the Natural Resources’ division of entomology and plant pathology. The insect is considered to be an invasive species.

“This large planthopper insect strongly prefers another invasive species, Tree of Heaven. Contact DEPP@dnr.IN.gov if you find this pest,” the tweet said.

In Pennsylvania, the insect has grown in numbers across the southeastern quarter of the state since first being found there in 2014. The spotted lanternfly is known for feeding on the sap from more than 70 plants, according to Penn State Extension. In turn, the spotted lanternfly emits a honeydew that attracts bees, wasps and other insects; can damage plants; and can leave a sooty mold on patio furniture, cars and other goods.

The insect has also been found in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and West Virginia, according a 2020 report from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.

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