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HomeNationalCanadian Food Inspection Agency raises alarm over spotted lanternfly pest near border...

Canadian Food Inspection Agency raises alarm over spotted lanternfly pest near borderTAZAA News

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OTTAWA – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is urging Canadians to keep an eye out for an invasive bug that could spell disaster for the country’s wineries and fruit growers.

The spotted lantern fly is a pest native to China that has been introduced to the United States since 2014.

So far, the small grey-red insect with spotted wings has not been found alive in Canada.

But in early September, hundreds of adults were found in a residential area in Buffalo, NY, just 45 km from the Canadian border.

The reports set off alarms at the CFIA, which in a tweet last week urged Canadians to “immediately” report any pest sightings on this side of the border.

The insect mainly feeds on sap from fruit trees and causes serious damage to orchards and vineyards.

“We are more concerned about the proximity to Canada, and especially our grape-growing industries, because this is a pest that has had a significant impact on the grape and fruit industry in the United States,” said Diana Mooiz. Specialist in the Invasive Alien Species Program at CFIA.

The pest first appeared in North America in Pennsylvania in 2014, and since then, a tracking program overseen by Cornell University has documented the pest in 14 US states.

In and around New York City, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware are the most viewed. It is found as far east as Rhode Island, as far south as North Carolina, and as far west as Indiana.

Buffalo sightings occur near the Canadian border for the first time.

Mooiz said dead adults have been found in trucks in Canada. Females lay their eggs almost exclusively on outdoor storage, she said.

“It’s a pest that can travel on all kinds of things, unfortunately,” she said. “It doesn’t just ride on plants, it can ride on shipping containers and trucks and cars and camping gear.

“We’re asking everyone to be somewhat vigilant in looking for this pest, especially if they’ve been to areas in the United States where the pest has been found,” she said.

The moose insect is very distinctive with its spotted wings, which are pink when the wings are closed and bright red when the wings are open.

Insects need large amounts of sap to survive. Signs of their presence include weeping trees with large amounts of sap on the bark.

The insects produce a sugary waste called “honeydew” that attracts pollinators such as bees and wasps, and causes fungi and molds to grow on the trees, which damage them.

An analysis in Pennsylvania in 2019 showed that the pest costs its economy more than US$300 million annually.

This report was originally published by The Canadian Press on September 26, 2022.

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