BOSTON (CBS) – Check your potted plants! Massachusetts agricultural officials say an invasive pest called the spotted lanternfly has been found in Boston.
The Department of Agricultural Resources said a single dead specimen of the bug was discovered at a private residence in the city.
The lanternfly is about one inch long, gray, with black spots and red underwings. It’s described as an “invasive sap-feeding insect from Asia” that first appeared in the United States five years ago in Pennsylvania. It can attack a variety of trees, shrubs and vines and poses a threat to apples, peaches, grapes/wine, maple syrup and the ornamental nursery industry, the department said.
It appears the pest was “unintentionally transported” in December with a shipment of poinsettia plants from Pennsylvania. The lanternflies die off when a hard frost hits, and there’s no evidence that it’s become established in Massachusetts.
“Early detection plays an important role in the protection of the economic and ecological resources of our state from invasive species,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux in a statement. “We ask all residents who have received potted plants this past December to help us protect Massachusetts’ environment and agricultural industries by checking for and reporting signs of spotted lanternfly.”
More surveys are planned to make sure the lanternfly hasn’t spread. Anyone who thinks they may have found one should report it here.