State Officials: Be On The Lookout For Invasive Pest In Poinsettia Plants

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — An invasive pest was recently found in a poinsettia plant prompting state officials to issue a notice to anyone who may have bought the festive holiday plant.

Officials from The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources say that the Spotted Lanternfly, formally known as Lycorma delicatula, was found in a private residence in Boston.

The insect originates from Asia and attacks a variety of trees, shrubs, and vines, and has the potential to impact a broad range of agricultural crops, including apples, peaches, grapes/wine, maple syrup, trees, as well as any nursery plants officials say.

It was first found in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania.

Authorities believe that the insect may have been unintentionally transported from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts in a shipment of poinsettia plants in December. Because only one dead adult insect was found, and Spotted Lanternfly die off when a hard frost hits, there is currently no evidence that the pest has become established in the state.

However, people who may have a poinsettia plant are urged to check for the insect.

Residents should look for large, gray insects, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings.

If seen, they can report this through the MDAR website and collecting a specimen if possible.

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