Department of Agriculture: Spotted lanternflies damaging plants in Suffolk

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DEER PARK -

After an invasive insect was found in Suffolk County, state officials are now looking for more spotted lanternflies.

The bug may look pretty, but officials say it can devastate trees, plants and farm crops. A living spotted lanternfly was found Friday at a tree nursery in Dix Hills. Several dead spotted lanternflies were also discovered.

Officials from the Department of Agriculture are going door to door in Dix Hills to ask if they have seen the insect in the area. They are asking homeowners to inspect the trees in their yards.

VIDEO: Department of Agriculture supervisor discusses spotted lanternflies

Mike Dorgan, with the Department of Agriculture, says the spotted lanternfly sucks the sap from trees, then secretes “honeydew.”

“The honeydew causes the sooty mold. The mold declines the overall health of the tree. It also could get on outdoor furniture, patios, brick walkways – those quality of life issues,” says Dorgan.

Officials say the spotted lanternflies came from Pennsylvania. The bugs have also been found in other parts of New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia.

Anyone who comes across a spotted lanternfly is urged to contact the Department of Environmental Conservation.

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