The spotted lanternfly, an invasive species from Asia, is poised to take over Maryland this spring. The pest first appeared in the United States about three years ago when a shipment of stone from Asia contained a batch of lanternfly eggs. The flies hatched in eastern Pennsylvania and have since spread and done significant damage to fruit tress, hardwoods, gardens and decks. The spread of the invasive species is likely to enter Maryland according to a veteran entomologist with the University of Maryland's Agricultural Extension program.
Like the stink bug, the lanternfly presents trouble because of it's high rate of reproduction and the lack of any known natural predators in the area. Coupled with it's destructive nature, the USDA is providing $17.5 million to try and stop the spread of lanternflies.
Researchers at Penn State are studying the species in an attempt to identify the bug's natural predators. Others are trying to find candidates for natural predators in the area and have found promising results with certain spiders and praying mantises.
For now, people are being urged to scrape found eggs off the hard surfaces and killing them with alcohol and hand sanitizer.