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Indiana hikers advised by the USDA to be aware of two invasive species



Indiana – The UnitedStates Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a warning that invasive pests are making their way into Indiana, so inhabitants there should be vigilant.

Since spring is when Spotted Lanternfly and Spongy Moth egg masses often form, the USDA is requesting that Hoosiers search outdoor surfaces for these masses of eggs. The species disperses damage throughout states by traveling undetected on cars or other outside objects during their egg mass stage.

An invasive insect, the Spotted Lanternfly often feeds on a variety of wood, ornamental, and fruit trees. More than 300 different species of trees and shrubs are consumed by the Spongy Moth, which poses a major danger to North American forests.

There are 17 states where lanternflies can be found, and up to 20 states where sponge moths have been recorded. Since many invasive species of bugs have few or no natural predators, their populations expand swiftly. These alien plant pests and illnesses can lower biological diversity, damage crops, and upset ecosystems.

Here are a few tips for handling the invasive species:

• Smash and scrape Spongy Moth and Spotted Lanternfly egg masses during late fall, winter, and early spring, when these pests are dormant in their egg mass life stage.
• If you are passing through or leaving a Spotted Lanternfly or Spongy Moth quarantine area, check your vehicle and your belongings for all life stages of these pests.
• If you are moving outdoor furniture, recreational vehicles and camping equipment, check for egg masses.
• Don’t move untreated firewood to new places. Source firewood where you will burn it or buy certified, heat-treated firewood before you travel.
• If you live in an area where these pests are not established and see a spotted lanternfly, spongy moth, or any of their life stages, please report the sighting to your state’s Department of Agriculture.


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