They may look harmless, but the spotted lanternfly is wreaking havoc on fruit farmers and wine producers across the east coast.

"They're just really annoying and causing a lot of damage to landscape trees, certain trees in the forest are more vulnerable to their populations and their populations just keep growing," says Eric Barrett, Extension Educator with OSU's Extension in Mahoning County.

The insect, which originates from Asia, was first detected in eastern Pennsylvania in September 2014 according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Barrett says, fortunately, there have only been isolated reports in Jefferson County in Ohio and Beaver County in Pennsylvania but they are prepping now for the fly to move west.

"It will be a real challenge when they do get here because it feeds on the trunks of trees. mostly fruit trees and grapevines, and makes like a sap and grows a grey mold," adds Barrett.

Barrett adds that oddly, the Lanternfly is a poor traveler and the areas it does move into are slow to see widespread infestation because of that.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture says the best way to spot damage from the fly is to look for black sooty mold around the base of a tree or oozing sap, and the fly's eggs usually are small grey masses on a tree trunk. If you spot either, the department of agriculture is advising you to contact the local Ohio state extension. You can contact them via telephone at (330) 533-5538 or contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at  [email protected]

For more information on the spotted lanternfly, follow this link: