Sen. Schumer urges USDA to use federal funds to combat invasive spotted lanternfly
Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling on the USDA to tap into federal funds to tackle the problem of the spotted lanternfly.
Environmentalists are encouraging residents to stomp on spotted lantern flies if they see them.
Officials say the pests are invasive, especially to the agriculture industry.
Schumer is urging the USDA to tap into the $200 million already secured for New York State.
In next year's budget, he says he will push for $22 million more to be used for New York's Integrated Pest Management Program.
Schumer says nearly every region of upstate New York has seen the insect, adding the upstate wineries and crops are at potential risk.
He says the invasive lanternfly feeds on the sap of more than 70 plant species, which makes plants more vulnerable to disease and even attacks from other insects.
State officials say with the use of federal funds, they plan to conduct trapping surveys, collect data and monitor the different populations of the insects.
They also say they will use the funds to educate the public on how to identify the spotted lanternfly and report sightings to the state.
Officials are asking residents to check their cars for spotted lanternflies before traveling.