It's hard to imagine how a small creature could cause so much damage but that's exactly what the spotted lanternfly does.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) issued a press release asking residents to be on the lookout for this invasive species.

This insect could damage or kill more than 70 varieties of crops and plants including grapes, apples, hops, and hardwood trees.

As of now, the insect has not made its way to Michigan but officials say that it could enter the state at any time, especially since it's been spreading "rapidly" across the northeast since first being spotted in 2014. Nearby, outbreaks have already been confirmed in Ohio and Indiana.

The spotted lanternfly directly sucks sap out of plants and trees and then releases honeydew, a sticky sugary substance.

 This honeydew and the resulting black sooty mold can kill plants and foul surfaces.

Additionally, it attracts other insects like ants and flies.

Not only does this invasive insect damage our state's agriculture but will also have an effect on the economy causing a loss of millions of dollars.

Last year, the MDARD and USDA found dead spotted lanternflies in packing material at two different facilities. A professional with the MDARD said that these pests may not be able to fly far but they lay their eggs anywhere, which survive throughout the winter.

Before leaving an area where this pest is present, check vehicles, firewood and outdoor equipment...

Those receiving packages from out of state should also double check for dead spotted lanternflies or eggs.

The best way to prevent an infestation is by early detection. If you happen to spot one (no pun intended) you're asked to take pictures and write down the date, time, and location of where found. Then, report it by e-mailing or call (800) 292-3939.

More information about the spotted lanternfly can be found here.

Spotted Lantern Fly: Possibly Michigan's Next Invasive Species

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