State officials warn of invasive spotted lanternfly that is damaging trees

State officials are asking all Connecticut residents to take a zero-tolerance approach to the spotted lanternfly, a new invasive species already damaging trees and bushes across the state.
Louis Weinberg is the chairman of the Westport Community Gardens. He spends his time making sure the garden and the surrounding forest are pristine.
"Spotted lanternfly seem to be the next big invasive species that are detrimental to agricultural crops. If you give them an inch, they'll take a foot, they'll spread rapidly just like their favorite host," he said.
Weinberg is working with Bartlett Tree experts to take Tree of Heaven trees down and replant native species.
While the insect is not harmful to humans, it targets many crops and forest and fruit trees.
Dr. Gale Ridge, at the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station, says they get many calls about spotted lanternfly sightings. She says if you see them, stomp them, but first take a picture and send it into the state.
While the spotted lanternflies love the Tree of Heaven, officials are also asking that you check your cars for them before traveling.