CLEVELAND (WJW) – We’ve told you about this stunning, but invasive bug before. We even reported that if you saw one, you should report it or kill it. Now, the Ohio Department of Agriculture says it has confirmed several new spotted lanternfly infestations across the state, including Columbus and Toledo.

Since first being detected in the U.S. in 2014, the invasive bug has spread to 11 states, primarily across the Northeast. It was first found in Pennsylvania and has since been found in Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

According to the ODA, it was likely brought to the U.S. by imported goods. The first confirmation in Ohio was in Mingo Junction in 2020. 

In 2021, the ODA designated the spotted lanternfly as a destructive plant pest and established regulations in an attempt to reduce the risk of this invasive insect spread, according to a release from the ODA.

The ODA has added Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Mahoning, and Muskingum counties to the spotted lanternfly-regulated area, according to the release.

A native to China, the spotted lanternfly feasts off of fruit, ornamental, and woody trees, especially the tree of heaven, a fellow invasive species native to China, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Specifically, the spotted lanternfly feeds on sap from over 70 different plant species, PennState Extension explains. The damage left behind can cause the plant to stress, draining its health and potentially killing it.

According to the ODA release, the public plays an important role in detecting the insect. 

The spotted lanternfly measures about one inch in size, with spots and pair of bright red and grey wings. The ODA asks that if you think you see this insect or damage caused by them, report it to the ODA by filling out the Ohio Plant Pest Reporter. 

For more information about the spotted lanternfly, click here.