Iowa officials confirm presence of invasive insect in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State officials are asking residents to keep an eye out for the spotted fly after recently confirming the discovery of two of the invasive insects in central Iowa.

As a young nymph, it is a weevil-like black insect with white spots, but adds flecks of bright red as it transforms into a flying insect. It is native to China, India and Vietnam and was accidentally introduced to Pennsylvania in 2014, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. It has since been confirmed in 11 states and threatens the country’s grape, orchard, nursery and logging industries.

The state Department of Agriculture was notified earlier this month of two immature Mottled Lanterns in Dallas County, and federal identification has confirmed them. Neighboring areas surveyed did not show signs of an ongoing infestation, the department said.

Insects tend to congregate in large numbers on host plants and feed on a wide range of fruit, ornamental and woody trees. The Mottled Lantern prefers grapes, hops, and a host of trees found in Iowa, including tree of paradise, apple, cherry, maple, oak, peach, pine, plum, poplar, sycamore, walnut and willow.

Anyone seeing the insect is asked to contact the department’s Bureau of Entomology and Plant Science.