Invasive spotted lanternfly invading Delaware County park

The invasive insect known as a spotted lanternfly has been spotted a Deleware County park. They have the potential to destroy trees and kill crops. It was first discovered in Pennsylvania in Berks County but has since spread to other counties. 

A Sunday hike in Ridley Creek State Park took a gross and disturbing turn for Regan Campbell and his wife.

"There were literally hundreds covering two trees. It was overwhelming didn’t know what to do at that point," Regan told FOX 29.

Regan is talking about Delco's most notorious visitor this year: the invasive spotted lanternfly. He immediately jumped on social media to warn his neighbors.

"It looked like literally trees being devoured, covered in black rain, wet substance called honeydew, which is really bug poop — pretty gross," he said.

FOX 29's Jennifer Joyce saw 'Tree of Heaven' trunks infested with the insects from Asia. It's a nuisance that state officials say could threaten $18 billion worth of agricultural commodities such as grapes.

"If they were to wipe us out it would take a hit to our production," Grace Winery General Manager Cody Testerman explained.

Ten minutes from the park sits the Inn at Grace Winery, Testerman says the USDA has preemptively visited the vineyard tagging and treating the pest’s preferred food source, which is sap from 'Tree of Heaven'. It’s a type of tree that Testerman tells FOX 29 grows on the outskirts of the property. So far, they’re good, but he’s now forced to keep an even closer eye on this property.

For more information, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. If you wish to report a spotted lanternfly sighting call 1-888-4BAD-FLY or click here.