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Thursday, February 18, 2021

New alien invader threatens Rhode Island

DEM, URI Hosting Webinar this Month on the Spotted Lanternfly, an Invasive Pest Targeting Plants and Trees

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with the University of Rhode Island (URI) is hosting a webinar this month to provide information about the spotted lanternfly, an exotic pest that targets various plants and trees.

Native to China, the spotted lanternfly is an invasive plant-hopper that is currently infesting portions of the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. 

It was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has quickly spread through surrounding states. 

It is anticipated that the pest may be introduced into Rhode Island within the next few years. This invasive species targets "Tree of Heaven" plants, grapes, hops, fruit trees, and various hardwood trees including walnut and maple, impacting environmental and economic resources.

The virtual informational session is being held to help the transportation and trucking industries, landscapers, local growers, vineyards and wineries, stone and outdoor commodity industry, environmental organizations and others prepare for and respond to this invasive pest, should it be detected in Rhode Island. 

The 90-minute presentation will include historical and current information on spotted lanternfly, pest identification, risks and expected impacts to Rhode Island, prevention and treatment options, and resources. Staff from DEM's Division of Agriculture and URI will be participating in the webinar and available for questions and discussion.

The webinar, entitled "Spotted Lanternfly: What You Need to Know to Prepare for This Invasive Pest In Rhode Island," will be offered as follows:

Tuesday, February 23 1 p.m. – 2:30 a.m.

Wednesday, February 24 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Thursday, February 25 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Registration is required to receive a link to the webinar. To RSVP, and for questions about the presentation or spotted lanternfly, contact Cynthia Kwolek in DEM's Division of Agriculture via email at, or at 401-949-1770.

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.

Related links

Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management


Release date: 02-15-2021