A boy who entered his bug collection at the Kansas State Fair with a spotted lanternfly among other insects triggered both a state and federal investigation, writes Jonathan Edwards for The Washington Post.
The dangerous specimen has been wreaking havoc in the eastern part of the country for years, but so far no infestations have made it farther west than southeastern Indiana.
That’s why last week’s discovery was so shocking for officials who are trying to determine how an adult spotted lanternfly found its way more than 850 miles from the closest known infestation.
The boy had found the bug at his home in Thomas County, Kansas. While assessing entries at the fair, one of the entomology contest judges recognized the spotted lanternfly and immediately reported it to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The boy told government officials he had found the dead insect in May. Due to its condition, officials believe it may have died last year; however, federal and state officials will continue surveying the area.
Meanwhile, thanks to his discovery, the boy received the exhibit’s second-highest honor, a blue ribbon.
Read more about spotted lanternflies at the Kansas State Fair in The Washington Post.