An Oregon plant nursery has found a destructive, invasive insect in a shipment sent from the East Coast to Oregon. Officials said Thursday it’s the first of its kind to be reported.
The dead spotted lanternfly was found with planters and ceramic pots sent from Pennsylvania to the Corvallis nursery. The nursery called the Oregon Department of Agriculture to report the insect.
“We cannot be everywhere, that is why it is so critical to have the support of our industry and all Oregonians in detecting invasive pests such as the spotted lanternfly before it becomes widespread,” ODA Plant Protection and Conservation Director Helmuth Rogg said in a press release.
The species poses a serious threat to tree fruit and grape production — both important crops in Oregon. Spotted lanternflies prefer a broad range of more than 70 plant species including apples, hops, chestnuts and cherries.
In Oregon, grapes used for wine have been valued more than $238 million in 2019.
The spotted lanternfly was first found in North America in 2014 in Pennsylvania and it is believed to have arrived on shipments from China. Since then it has been detected in 11 eastern states.