If you see it, squash it! Spotted lanternfly could destroy vital crops in FLX region

[anvplayer video=”5131403″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — It’s bound to happen. State leaders say the potential for a spotted lantern fly invasion can happen right here in the Finger Lakes Region. In fact, the state has a motto when it comes to invasive insects: “If you see it, squash it.”

News10NBC talked to State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball, to find out what’s being done to prevent these bugs from destroying vital crops.

The crop that’s most at risk are local grapes for making wines, and jams. So far there’s no evidence of these insects being found in any vineyards.

“We’ve managed to keep a lid on it for a little while, but it’s in so many states now and obviously it’s showing up in this region,” said Ball.

The spotted lantern fly or “SLF” for short is not only a major nuisance for farmers but state leaders as well. Ball says these invasive bugs from Asia may soon target the region’s wine industry.

“The pest has shown a real appetite for grapes, and so they’re already fruiting crop growers are very vigilant. They’re watching very closely so the impact, hopefully, it’s not a big impact. Hopefully, it’s just a big caution,” said Ball.

SLFs are hitchhiking their way to states mostly up and down the east coast, and now beginning to migrate west.

“It will hitch a ride on the bumper of a car. It will hitch a ride on a Christmas tree that’s been imported from another state. Bedding plants, nursery stock, etcetera,” said Ball.

He also tells us what proactive steps the state is taking to help keep them out.

“We put a ban on the number of vehicles coming in without inspections. Making sure we get proper documentation, especially coming out of New Jersey, and Pennsylvania,” said Ball.

The Commissioner says the public is being educated on these bugs, but it’s going to take more than just farmers to control them.

“It’s gonna take homeowners keeping an eye out watching for this. If you see something, report it. Let us check it out, and find out if it’s correct,” said Ball.