CLEVELAND (WJW)– The Ohio Department of Agriculture said the invasive and damaging spotted lanternfly has been seen in the Cleveland area.

The pesky insects are native to China, India and Vietnam, but now have populations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Delaware and Ohio thanks to imported plants and wood products.

According to the department of agriculture, sightings were confirmed in Cuyahoga and Jefferson counties. The insects feed on the trunk and branches of woody plants, causing them to wilt and die. They also secrete a substances that can build up under plants and promote growth of black, sooty mold.

  • Top view of spotted lanternfly.
  • Young spotted lanternfly nymph on the plant.
  • Vertical image of fourth-instar stage of spotted lanternfly
  • Spotted lanternflies on tree branch.

The Ohio State University Buckeye Yard and Garden Online said spotted lanternfly nymphs hatched on West 117th Street in Cleveland. The infestation was first found last summer.

The department of agriculture asked residents to report any sightings. Please take a picture or collect a sample. Reports can be filed to the ODA Plant Pest Control at plantpest@agri.ohio.gov, or 614-728-6400.