Bay Journal

Topics: Wildlife + Habitat

Invasive spotted lanternfly threatens Chesapeake’s crops, hardwoods

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They are asleep for the winter in ugly little egg cases that look like splotches of dried mud plastered on all manner of smooth outdoor surfaces. They are found on trees, park benches, decks, walls, cars and rocks.

Experts believe that the latter, stone shipped from somewhere in its native China, was the vehicle on which the invasive spotted lanternfly first hitched a ride to Pennsylvania a little more than three years ago.

Since the lanternfly’s arrival, agricultural agencies and extension offices have been sounding the alarm and asking for help in reporting it and killing it, hoping to stave off its spread to other states in the Bay watershed. Important crops in the region at risk include apples, peaches and grape vines, as well as hardwoods such as maples, walnuts and some pine.

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About Wildlife + Habitat

The Chesapeake Bay region supports more than 2,700 species of plants and animals, including 348 species of finfish and 173 species of shellfish.

It is also home to at least 29 species of waterfowl. Nearly one million waterfowl winter on the Bay – approximately one-third of the Atlantic coast’s migratory population. The birds stop to feed and rest on the Bay during their annual migration along the Atlantic Flyway.

Nearly 80,000 acres of bay grasses grow in the shallows of the Bay and its tributaries. Young and molting blue crabs rely on bay grass beds for protection from predators.

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