HUTCHINSTON, Kan. — Kansas State Fair officials judging the 4-H entomology entries last week discovered an invasive insect that prompted quarantines elsewhere.
Fair Board member Gregg Hadley the student who caught the bug didn’t know it had prompted quarantines in at least 45 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to try to stop its spread.
Hadley, who is director for extension at Kansas State’s Research and Extension, said it’s not clear how the invasive bug make it to Kansas, but it may have hitched a ride on a camper.
The insect that was first found in Pennsylvania about 10 years ago feeds on some 70 different plant species and can cause plants to die by depositing excretions on them that can grow mold and block photosynthesis.
One of the fair’s entomology judges was familiar with the insect and a requirement that it be reported to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Federal officials are expected to try and learn how the insect reached Kansas.