Spotted Lanternfly on the Move in West Virginia

Spotted Lanternflies on a tree trunk

By Olivia Miller

In mid-September, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture reported that the invasive spotted lanternfly has been found in two additional West Virginia counties: Grant and Hardy. Grant and Hardy mark the ninth and tenth counties in West Virginia where spotted lanternfly have been detected. The other counties include Hancock, Brooke, Mineral, Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson and Taylor. 

As reported in the July 2023 issue of The Highlands Voice by Patricia Gundrum, the spotted lanternfly is native to China and other regions of Asia. First detected in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 2014, they have managed to spread to most counties in Pennsylvania and Maryland in a decade. 

The spotted lanternfly can only travel short distances but have been successful in their rapid dispersal by hitchhiking on vehicles, trailers, boats and ATVs. It is recommended to squash or stomp on spotted lanternflies at all of their life stages, and to check your vehicles for any freeloaders.

Cover photo from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.