SHREWSBURY – Remnants of a Spotted Lanternfly have been found in Shrewsbury.
Town Manager Kevin Mizikar told the Board of Selectmen on Jan. 11 that the town was notified by the Department of Agricultural Resources earlier that week.
The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive insect that has devastated agricultural crops in other states, including Pennsylvania.
“[They have] the potential to impact a really broad range of agricultural commodities,” Jennifer Forman Orth, an environmental biologist with the department, told the Community Advocate in September of last year.
Native to China, the insect has previously been found in Pennsylvania beginning in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Spotted Lanternfly feeds on fruit and trees. The department said it could “seriously” impact grape, orchard and logging industries.
The department previously said in May, 2021 it was “investigating the possible presence” of lanternflies in and around Northborough.
That investigation came after an individual lanternfly was found after it hitchhiked from Pennsylvania on lawn furniture.
In the fall, a small population of Spotted Lanternflies was found in Fitchburg.
The department has described an adult lanternfly as gray and about one inch long with black spots and red underwings.
Younger nymphs are black with white spots while older nymphs are red with black and white spots.
Forman Orth said Spotted Lanternflies’ main host plant is the Tree of Heaven, which is also an invasive plant species, and which is found in highly disturbed areas.
Mizikar said the department’s teams would be conducting further analysis and review near the intersection of Route 20 and Route 140.
According to Mizikar, the town will be receiving materials to provide to residents to help identify the spread of the lanternfly.
Anyone who believes they have seen a Spotted Lanternfly should either take a photo or collect a specimen and contact the department at https://massnrc.org/pests/pestFAQsheets/spottedlanternfly.html.