An invasive insect that’s been in Virginia since 2018 has now been confirmed in Bedford County. State agriculture officials say the spotted lanternfly destroys its preferred tree, the Tree of Heaven, but also feeds on apple, peach and cherry trees, and grape vines.  Some localities – including Lynchburg – already have a quarantine where certain items must be inspected before they can leave a business. The state is considering a quarantine for Bedford County.      

Here is the entire news release from Bedford County:

(Bedford, VA)—The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) says the spotted lanternfly has recently been confirmed in Bedford County.

The spotted lanternfly is an exotic, invasive insect with no natural enemies in the United States. Its preferred host is Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), but it will feed on more than 100 other plant species including apple, peach and cherry trees, and grape vines.

The insect was first discovered in Virginia in 2018. To slow its spread, VDACS has established a quarantine in numerous Virginia localities, including Lynchburg. The quarantine requires businesses to obtain a permit from VDACS and inspect all regulated articles before those items leave the quarantine area.

Bedford County is not under a quarantine at this time. VDACS will be conducting additional surveys to fully understand the insect’s spread in our locality.

Residents can play a role in preventing the spread of spotted lanternfly. The best management practices are: