ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An invasive species identified by its telltale wings is flapping up a rampage through parts of New York this summer. The spotted lanternfly has burst in population in parts of New York this year, and the Department of Environmental Conservation is asking for community help – one square at a time.
The DEC has spent the summer operating a “Claim a Grid Square” survey to get an idea of the spread of the spotter lanternfly. So far, the insect has mostly been seen around New York City, but one of the trees it targets as a host is the tree-of-heaven, a species seen throughout the state.
Volunteers can sign up with iMapInvasives through the DEC online, and claim a square on a statewide grid. Once your area is claimed, you can report whether or not you see any spotted lanternfly activity in your region. So far, over 150 spots on the survey grid have been claimed, and over 850 reported no lanternfly activity at different points statewide.
The spotted lanternfly feeds on grapes, hops, maple trees and other woody plants. Originating in parts of Asia, it’s considered a threat to New York’s agricultural resources. The first recorded U.S. sighting of the lanternfly was in Pennsylvania in 2014.
For anyone who wants to learn more about the lanternfly, you’re in luck. The DEC is set to run a webinar this Wednesday, Sept. 14, to educate the community about the invasive. Anyone can register to join the webinar through iMapInvasives online.