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Ohio County Master Gardener Association Will Discuss Invasive Spotted Lanternfly

This Sept. 19, 2019, file photo shows a spotted lanternfly at a vineyard in Kutztown, Pa. The invasive species has made its way into West Virginia.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

As the spotted lanternfly has been decimating forests in the northeast and has already made its way into three counties in West Virginia, local residents will have the opportunity to be proactive and learn more about this colorful invasive pest.

The Ohio County Master Gardener Association is hosting “The Biology and Control of the Spotted Lanternfly,” as part of their lecture series at 6 p.m., Monday, Sept. 27, at the Oglebay Institute Schrader Environmental Education Center in Oglebay Park. The event is free to the public.

Dr. Carlos Quesada, with the West Virginia University Extension Service – Division of Plant and Soil Science in Morgantown, is the scheduled speaker for the event. Quesada will help those in attendance learn how to identify, kill, and report this voracious new threat to the environment, according to Marlene Ingram, a master gardener and co-chair of the lecture series.

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive planthopper native to Asia and first discovered in the United States in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 2014, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. It feeds on sap from many plants, including grapevines and maple, black walnut, birch and willow trees. Its feed damage can stress plants to the point where some can die.

According to Quesada, the spotted lanternfly can interfere with about 70 species of plants and trees.

“It can be a potential problem for the fruit growers, for those who are in the forestry industry and also the landscaping industry,” Quesada explained.

Quesada has presented to Master Gardener programs before but this will be his first visit to Ohio County. He expects his presentation to last approximately 30 minutes.

Ingram said this is the organization’s final lecture series program for 2021 but the series will continue next spring.

She said the gardeners’ group typically schedule four or five different programs a year as part of the lecture series.

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