At first glance, this creature may look more like a beautiful butterfly than a nasty insect. But don't be fooled. The  Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is asking Michiganians to be on the lookout for the bug which could wreak havoc on Michigan's agriculture and natural resource systems.

It's called the Spotted Lanternfly. MDARD says the creature has the potential to kill more than 70 varieties of crops and plants, including grapes, apples, hops, and hardwood trees.

MDARD says the spotted lanternfly was first seen in Southeastern Pennsylvania in 2014 and has been spreading across the Northeastern US states.

Although it has not officially been spotted in Michigan yet, its presence has been confirmed in  Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Robert Miller, invasive species prevention and response specialist for MDARD, notes that the insect may appear to have a certain amount of charm, but says that it has the potential to wreak havoc in our state.

"Spotted lanternfly may be a colorful insect worthy of an Instagram post, but also is an invasive species with the potential to wreak havoc on trees, plants and other natural resources, resulting in millions of dollars in damages," Miller said. "In addition, it has the potential to impact grapes, stone fruits, apples and other crops in Michigan's fruit belt as well as important timber species statewide."

The spotted lanternfly sucks up sap from host plants and then secrets large amounts of sugar-rich, sticky liquid called honeydew. The honeydew can cause black mold which can kill plants and attract other insects like yellow jackets, flies, and ants.

If you see the Spotted Lanternfly or suspect its presence, use this link to report it to MDARD.

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