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DEC: Look out for this invasive species during fall

You can help protect apples, grapes, and other New York crops from the spotted lanternfly by keeping an eye out for it.
Credit: PA Dept. Of Agriculture/Bugwood Org
Photo of Spotted Lanterfly by PA Dept. Of Agriculture/Bugwood Org

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It's that time of year when many people love to go apple picking. But if you're heading out to the orchard, you should probably be keeping an eye out for more than just ripe fruit. There's a pest that can harm that sweet crop.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking everyone to be on the lookout for the spotted lanternfly (SLF) this year. It's an invasive species from Asia that can harm crops, such as apples, hops, grapes, maples and walnuts. 

The DEC asks that if you spot one, to let them know. If you can, take a photo and email them the location at spottedlanternfly@agriculture.ny.gov.

So what does the spotted lanternfly look like?

The spotted lanternfly is often mistaken for other types of moths, a large milkweed bug, or an American dog tick. But the spotted lanternfly in its adult stage is about 1 inch long and a half inch wide when resting, and has four long oval wings that have striking designs.

The top wings are white, with black stripes near the ends, and black dots closer to the body. The wings towards its rear are dark with a white stripe near the ends, and red with black dots towards its body.

The spotted lanternfly has three life stages: early nymph, where they are small, black with white spots, and have six visible legs; late nymph, where they have grown, started to turn red, and their legs are still visible with no wings; and adult.

This bug also likes to lay large, one inch long egg masses on trees, firewood, and other objects.