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Keep an eye out for these invasive insects on Cape Cod

Spotted lanternfly
wikipedia / CC 4.0
Spotted lanternfly

If you’ve purchased a fruit tree or a grapevine from a nursery lately, you might also have brought along an insect hitchhiker.

That’s according to Larry Dapsis, the entomologist with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension.

He says invasive spotted lanternflies have been seen in nursery stock in the Worcester area and are likely to make it to the Cape, too.

The bugs arrived in Pennsylvania from China in 2014 and have spread to 11 states.

“It has a great appetite for all fruit trees, grapevine, and even hardwoods like oak trees.” Dapsis told CAI. “In Pennsylvania alone, they’ve projected this insect could be causing over $300 million of damage in the near future with the loss of over two thousand jobs.”

Lanternflies also eat oak trees and “tree of heaven,” both common on Cape Cod.

Dapsis says the insects will be in an early life stage right now — about the size of a sesame seed and clustered together. They’re black with white spots.

You can report the insects to the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension or the state Department of Agricultural Resources.

Elsa Partan is a producer and newscaster with CAI. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.