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Help keep the beautiful, dangerous spotted lanternfly out of Northern Virginia

To help reduce the spread of the destructive insect, officials ask to be "vigilant about not moving spotted lanternfly when traveling through known infest areas."

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Editor's note: The video attached in this article is from October 2021.

The gorgeous, but dreaded - spotted lanternfly is back, again. 

Experts in Northern Virginia are asking for the public's help to keep the Spotted Lanternfly out of the state. Although Fairfax County confirms there have been no sightings of the spotted lanternfly, officials say a lanternfly was spotted this summer nearby Loudoun County.

To help reduce the spread of the spotted lanternfly, Fairfax County Forest Pest Management asks County residents to be "vigilant about not moving spotted lanternfly life stages when traveling through known infested areas."

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service has expanded the spotted lanternfly quarantine to include an additional 18 counties and cities in its efforts to slow down the spread of the destructive insect.

The spotted lanternfly is commonly known as a 'hitchhiker' since the invasive pest is typically found near railroads and inside shipments of items, such as produce.

According to Fairfax officials, a dead lanternfly was found last fall in a produce shipment at a local grocery store in Annandale, Virginia. 

In the Commonwealth, wine, apple, grape, and peach industries are most threatened by the spotted lanternfly.

The adult lanternflies start laying eggs masses in September to allow the nymphs to survive through the first hard frosts. The eggs are covered in light gray color wax, similar to mud when it dries.

Spotted lanternflies can lay their eggs on a wide variety of surfaces such as tree bark, bricks, lumber, decorative stone, and even train cars, trucks, and other vehicles, which is one way they spread geographically.

If you believe you’ve seen a Spotted Lanternfly in any of its life stages, report the sighting to the Fairfax County officials by emailing ReportSLF@fairfaxcounty.gov or calling 703-324-5304. 

An app called iNaturalist is another effective and efficient way to report any sightings of the spotted lanternfly.

RELATED: Beautiful, colorful, and dangerous: Lanternfly sighted in Northern Virginia

RELATED: Prince William Co. needs your help spotting the invasive spotted lanternfly

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