The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Agriculture and Markets is asking for help in tracking down a very harmful insect invader.

The DEC says the spotted lanternfly is a new invasive threat that was first found in Pennsylvania in 2014 with a dead adult found in New York last fall.

Officials say they are working to prevent the insect from becoming established and spreading in New York State.

The invasive species from Asia feeds on more than 70 plant species including cash crops found in New York like maples, apple trees, hops and grape vines.

The young insects are black with white spots and transform into eye-catching adults with red wing markings that resemble moths.

The insects can only jump and fly short distances, so are primarily spread through human activities by laying eggs on vehicles, stone, outdoor furniture and firewood which can carry them to other areas and states.

Residents are asked to send pictures and note the location of where the insect, egg masses or signs of infestation are found to

More information and photos of the pests in its various growth stages can be found at the New York State Department of Conservation website

The state is planning extensive trapping surveys in high risk areas as well as inspections of nursery stock, stone shipments and commercial transports from Pennsylvania.

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