Nature is really good at creating critters that are beautiful but can cause problems and one such bug has made its way to Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is urging Iowans to look out for spotted lanternflies.

They're native to China, India, and Vietnam and were accidentally brought into the U.S. in 2014.

If the bugs continue to spread, the department says that it could impact the country's grape, orchard, nursery, and logging industries. They spread by the movement of infested material or things that already contain their egg masses.

They're pretty easy to spot, as adult and nymph lanternflies often gather in large numbers on host plants. You'll be able to see them easily at dusk along the trunk of the plant. During the day, they're normally found at the base of the plant.

Here's what you're looking for:

Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

They're pretty though, right? But not good. They eat fruit and woody trees. To tell if a plant is infested with lanternflies, check for a weird odor coming from the plant. There might be goo or a "sooty mold" coming from it. So obviously not good and it can kill the plants.

State Entomologist Robin Pruisner said in the press release:

Spotted lanternfly nymphs and adults are colorful, and if you spot one, please report it to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship right away. We appreciate this community member letting us know about its presence in our state and we hope other Iowans will keep an eye out as we want to contain the spread of this destructive pest. At this time of year, we expect to find the eye-catching nymphs, which can be black and white, or red, black, and white. It is ironic is that this invasive insect prefers to feed on the tree-of-heaven, another invasive species.

If you find lanternflies, you're asked to call the Entomology and Plant Science Bureau at 515-725-1470 or you can email

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