known invasive speciesIt has been circulating in the United States for nearly a decade, but federal researchers in Delaware may have found a natural predator that can stop pesky insects.
The spotted lanternfly is native to China and was seen in Pennsylvania as early as 2014, according to US Department of Agriculture. Since then, it has been found in 13 other states, mostly on the East Coast but also as far west as Indiana and Michigan.
The spotted lanternfly poses a threat to many fruits, including apples, grapes, and peaches, as well as some trees, according to the USDA. The authorities urged people to do everything they could to prevent the spread of the pests.
“Kill it! Smash it, smash it…just get rid of it,” reads one Alert from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
But Americans can get some help from hornets from China,.
Kim Holmer of the USDA Beneficial Insect Introduction Research Unit in Delaware told the station that hornets don’t have a common name but their species name is Dryinus sinicus.
“The first of these wasps is a small parasitoid wasp that attacks lantern eggs, and the second is another parasitoid wasp, slightly larger, that attacks the smaller nymphal stages after the eggs hatch,” Holmer said.
Researchers are studying whether, unlike the spotted lanternfly, wasps pose a threat to species native to the United States.
“We don’t want these hornets to attack insects that in North America would not cause problems or be beneficial,” he said.
He told CBS News Philadelphia that it could take two years before the government signs off on the use of hornets against the spotted lanternfly.
“We’re hopeful that eventually we can prove that we’ll be able to release at least one, if not both, of the natural enemies, but we’re not there yet,” Holmer said. “We just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope the results take us here.”
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