OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF)

The Spotted Lanternfly has been confirmed in Brooke County, and agriculture experts say it’s just a matter of time before it’s all over the northern panhandle.

It feeds on crops like grapes and hops, and it ruins trees like black walnut and maple.

The Spotted Lanternfly multiplies quickly.

Its eggs look like old discarded chewing gum.

But even at that stage, they get around.

“Their primary means of spread is by hitch-hiking onto vehicular traffic and materials that are being transported from one location to another,” said James Watson, Spotted Lanternfly Program coordinator with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

They may hop onto your tires without you noticing.

They look dramatically different at every life stage.

So what do you do if you see one?

“You want to smash it, smash it, smash it!” said Watson. “And I say that three times because if you do it three times, that will ensure that it is smashed.”

Its favorite host, the common Tree Of Heaven, is just as bad.

“It boosts the population of the Spotted Lanternfly,” said Watson. “And with increases in the population, the greater the risk to our desirable plants such as grapes and walnuts.”

To humans and pets, Watson says, the bug is just a nuisance, not a danger.

But experts advise people to learn what the Spotted Lanternfly looks like, and get ready.

“Because we can’t say exactly when it will get here, but we know it’s just a matter of time before it arrives,” he concluded.

He said while they don’t bite or attack, they can swarm outside businesses and homes, and they can look pretty frightening.