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FairfaxFairfax officials urging vigilance against invasive pest

Fairfax officials urging vigilance against invasive pest

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While there have been no sightings of the destructive insect called the spotted lanternfly in Fairfax County, it is getting closer – as close as Loudoun County – Fairfax officials say, and experts are on the lookout for it.

To reduce the spread, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has expanded the spotted lanternfly quarantine to include an additional 18 counties and cities.

The spotted lanternfly is known as a “hitchhiker” since it is often found near railroads and inside shipments of items such as produce. The insect feasts on more than 70 plant species, though its preferred host is the tree-of-heaven. In Virginia, the peach, apple, grape and wine industries are most threatened.

Adults begin laying eggs in September and through the first few hard frosts. The egg masses are covered in a light gray colored wax that looks like mud when it dries.

The Fairfax County government is asking county residents to help slow the spread of the invasive pest (lycorma delicatula) by being vigilant about not inadvertently moving spotted lanternfly life stages when traveling through known infested areas.

Spotted lanternfly identification information, with links to the quarantine area, can be found on https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/trees/spotted-lanternfly. Sightings in Fairfax County can be reported to reportslf@fairfaxcounty.gov or to (703) 324-5304.

For information from the state government, see the Website at https://bit.ly/2TS5Rwc.

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