Law Matters

Is It Possible For Divorced Parents To Just Be “Parents”?

By Brenda Waugh

Yes, divorced parents can be “parents” without a qualifier. Not “divorced.” Not “single.” Just “parents.”

When I first started practicing law in 1987, things were different. When parents wanted to divorce, one retained a lawyer who filed a complaint or petition with the court. The sheriff served the documents, lawyers engaged in a series of negotiations, and eventually convened the final court hearing where we usually announced the terms of a negotiated agreement.  I thought it worked fine. But it didn’t. Creating this adversarial relationship was no way to create a healthy, happy, post-divorce family.  

As Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Today we know better! We understand that children of divorce can be just as healthy and happy as other children. However, when the divorce includes a “custody battle,” children may experience emotional difficulties that extend for years after the divorce.

How do we “do better”? Rather than “lawyering up,” we consider mediation and collaborative practice as options to secure a divorce while maintaining good parent-child relationships. 

In mediation, both parents attend a meeting with a third-party facilitator, a mediator, who works with them to develop a mutually agreeable way to make crucial  decisions regarding their child, including medical, educational, and religious decisions. The mediator also helps parents decide how to divide their custodial time with the child during the school year, summer and holidays.

Parents work together to maximize their time with the child, considering their residences and employment. The mediator helps the parents draft their parenting plan incorporating these decisions. When parties are getting divorced, the mediator may also facilitate a discussion about their property division. Once an agreement is reached, the parties may review it with their lawyers, if they retain them, or provide it to the judge to include in the order. Mediation often occurs before any party initiates the divorce, permitting it to proceed as a no-
fault divorce.

Equally effective, collaborative divorce creates an opportunity for the parents to divorce while maintaining a good relationship with their children. In collaborative divorce, the parents each retain specially trained attorneys who are often members of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Instead of attending court hearings, the parents and their lawyers have meetings to work out the details of the parenting plan. Once the agreement is reached, the attorneys file the paperwork and complete the steps required to have the agreement included in the judge’s order.

The lawyers may also represent the parties on issues of child and spousal support and property division. In collaborative practice, the parties may expand opportunities by including a neutral, or conflict, coach in meetings to expand options in the division of property, spousal support, or child custody.

How do we know that mediation and collaborative divorce work? Is there any way to see that “divorced parents” are simply “parents.” Yes!

Parents select the best extracurricular activities for their children together. Both often attend games or meetings and support the child and the team.

Parents attend school conferences together, working to find the best way to improve their child’s success.

Parents coordinate schedules so that the children are in daycare less and with their parents more. They understand that no parent babysits their children.

Parents attend medical appointments, taking turns or attending together, depending on the nature of the appointment. Both know when appointments are scheduled and can access 
medical records. 

Parents avoid asking their children to make difficult decisions, such as where they want to live or when they want to spend time with the other parent. Instead, they work with the other parent to take the stress off of the child.

Parents spend time with their children having fun. They also both spend time doing the hard work of parenting, chores, homework, and discipline. Neither parent becomes a “fantasy” 
perfect parent.

Parents make sure the children feel comfortable at home. They recognize the children have two homes. They find a way so that a child is sleeping in their own bed, at either home. 

Is it always possible? No. Sometimes the level of conflict between the parents escalates to a place where “divorced parents” can’t be “just parents.” In those situations, judges make the important decisions on raising the children, often guided by attorneys (called Guardian Ad Litems) or by parenting coordinators. When a conflict between parents has escalated, and behavioral health resources cannot tone it down, judges often order detailed schedules to reduce the necessity of good communication between parents.

These situations are the exceptions. Most divorcing parents can be more than “just parents.” They can work together to be “great parents.” Getting started by cooperating to create the best schedules for the children in mediation or with collaborative divorce provides the best opportunity for this to occur.

To learn more about mediation or to find a mediator in your area, visit To learn more about collaborative practice and find lawyers, financial neutrals, or conflict coaches in your area, visit

Brenda Waugh is a lawyer/mediator with Waugh Law & Mediation, serving clients in the Blue Ridge region of Virginia and Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. She has conducted workshops throughout the U.S. and in Canada, and has published articles in periodicals and legal journals in the area of alternative dispute resolution.

The Cicadas Are Coming!

Plus, how to cook them

By Claire Stuart

Exodus 10:13–15: … the Lord brought an east wind upon the land … and the east wind brought the locust … they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees … and there remained not any green thing … through all the land of Egypt.

Brood X  (10) of the 17-year periodical cicadas (Magicicada septendecim ) is coming this year! Many people call them locusts, doubtless because they appear by the millions, reminiscent of the locusts in the Bible story, but they are not locusts. Locusts are migratory grasshoppers that congregate by millions and devour crops, mostly in Africa and the Middle East. The only thing I can think of that locusts and cicadas actually have in common is that locusts were sent to punish the Pharaoh, and periodical cicadas have a call that sounds like “Pharaoh, Pharaoh!” 

There are two types of cicadas, and they emerge at different times of the year.

The annual or “Dog Days” cicadas are so-named because they emerge in mid-August when Sirius (the Dog Star) and the constellation Canis Major begin to appear in the early morning sky. There are several species, with life cycles ranging from one to five years, but they overlap, so some emerge every summer. Since they do not appear in masses, they are mostly ignored and their buzzing calls are just considered a sound track of summer. They don’t call “Pharaoh!” Cicadas are piercing/sucking insects that don’t do any noticeable damage by feeding. Immature cicadas (nymphs) feed underground in their nymphal stage, sucking juices from tree roots — for 17 years in the case of periodical cicadas. There are also some 13-year cicadas, mostly further south, but they are less prominent. 

When cicada nymphs mature, they burrow out of the ground and climb up on any handy vertical object to shed their nymphal skins and stretch their wings, leaving empty shells behind. They are soft and white when they emerge, but their exoskeleton soon darkens and hardens.

Adults suck a negligible amount of juices from plants during their short above-ground lives and live about a month.

The 17-year cicadas that consistently emerge in the same year in the same area are classified as “broods.” There are 12 broods, given Roman numerals I through XII.  Each brood covers a specific geographical region. We are under Brood X, which will emerge this year in parts of 15 states from New York to Georgia and west to Indiana. In our area, included are Winchester, Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Shenandoah and Warren Counties, Virginia, as well as the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

The 17-year periodical cicadas emerge all at once in great masses, earlier in the year than the annual cicadas. They appear in May, and the very air seems to vibrate with their calls. 

So, what do they do that affects us, besides making a lot of noise? Females make slits in tender young twigs and lay their eggs in them. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs drop to the ground and burrow in to find roots to feed on. As trees grow rapidly at that time of year, the egg slits can widen, causing the twigs to weaken and bend or break off. This isn’t a serious problem with larger trees but can be a real problem with young trees.

Broken or malformed young branches can spoil the shape of landscape trees. It is wise to cover young trees with nets—or just avoid planting new trees until fall.

The life of adult cicadas is strictly concerned with mating. All of the singing is done by males, who gather in groups in trees and sing in choruses to attract females. The males have drum-like structures that make their sounds. A vibrating membrane controlled by muscles is stretched over an air bladder on the abdomen that serves as a resonating chamber. Female cicadas are often attracted to the sounds of motors of garden equipment like mowers, weed-wackers, and hedge clippers, as well as garage and workshop tools like grinders, sanders, etc. 

Fossil records show that cicadas have been around as long as 110 million years, sharing Earth with the dinosaurs, but their numbers are falling. That’s because of the 
destruction of trees for “development.” If many trees are cut between 17-year cycles, the nymphs on the roots die.

There will always be adventurous diners who wonder whether cicadas are edible. Since cicadas are related to other arthropods such as shrimp, crayfish, crabs and lobsters, they are certainly edible. They are high in protein and low in fat.  However, if you are allergic to shellfish, you should avoid cicadas as well. Cicadas should be gathered for cooking as soon as they burst out of their nymphal skins, when their exoskeletons are still white and soft. Remove wings and legs. If their bodies have already hardened, they should be boiled first. Cicadas can be broiled, boiled, fried and otherwise prepared the way you would prepare other arthropods. A variety of recipes can be found on the Web. The taste has been described as resembling everything from soft-shelled crabs to asparagus. Have I ever eaten them? NO!  And I don’t eat shrimp or lobster either because they look like giant insects to me!

The very best web site for cicada information:

This is Our Boyce Volunteer Fire Company

By Cathy Kuehner, Clarke County

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series highlighting Clarke County’s volunteer fire companies: Boyce Volunteer Fire Company, Blue Ridge Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company, and John H. Enders Fire Company & Rescue Squad. All need volunteers — firefighters and EMTs to run calls and individuals to help with events and fundraising — and all need the support of the entire community.

When lifelong county resident Lee Coffelt was 16, he joined his hometown volunteer fire company as soon as he was eligible. Recalling his volunteer training long ago, Coffelt said, “I was shown how to wear the gear, how to wear an air pack, how to follow a hose in the dark, and how to handle a hose and spray water. And someone said, ‘OK, you’re good to go.’” Today, volunteer firefighters receive hundreds of hours of specialized training, and the equipment — from the gear they wear to the apparatus they use — has also changed significantly over the decades.

Coffelt joined the Boyce Volunteer Fire Company in 1984. He became its chief eight years ago.

“The other big difference is that the work used to be all about fighting fires,” said Coffelt. “Now, fires are the least of it. The majority of calls are for EMS.”

Of the calls for emergency medical services, Coffelt noted, most are to homes and senior care facilities. “Some EMS calls are for auto accidents, but safety features in cars have improved over the years, greatly reducing the number of injuries and fatalities.”

According to the Clarke County Fire-Rescue 2020 Annual Report, the Boyce Volunteer Fire Company last year responded to 57 fire alarms, 10 structure fires, and 1 woodland fire. It responded to 78 motor vehicle accidents. As Coffelt said, EMS calls are greater. Last year, Boyce VFC responded to 42 breathing problems, 39 chest pain calls, 41 falls, 17 strokes, 14 incidents of cardiac arrest, and 2 overdoses.

Regardless of the number of calls, the response time is much more important to all the volunteers. Currently, Boyce has 25 operational members who can run calls, and 25 administrative members who handle a variety of tasks, including fundraising. Because of work, distance, or other obligations, not everyone is available all the time.

Ideally, Coffelt said, there should be 50 operational members trained to run calls and 50 administrative volunteers. “If we could double our roster of good people who consistently show up, we could get to the next level of getting first responders and apparatus out the door within minutes of a call.” Coffelt noted, “Clarke County is still the only jurisdiction in the region where the majority of service is provided by volunteers.”

He says this with both pride and hope that people will continue to step up to help their neighbors. Training is provided at no cost for community members interested in volunteering, and Clarke County offers a 50 percent personal property tax discount for any county resident who volunteers with a fire company.

The idea of a Boyce volunteer fire company began in April 1959, when its residents recognized that nearly half of all fires occurred in the southern half of the county. Community fundraising followed. By July 1959, a $500 fire siren was installed on an old building, and the newly formed Boyce Volunteer Fire Company kept its first firetruck in the gas station across from where the firehouse sits today on U.S. 340. The community continued to raise money for a fire hall, which opened in March 1961 with its siren relocated to the building, and community members continue to help raise much-needed funds.

“The fundraising that began in 1959 laid the foundation for how we still conduct business as a nonprofit organization,” Coffelt said. “We do not want to be a financial burden to 
taxpayers or the county.” While Boyce VFC does receive annual funding from Clarke County, over half its annual revenues come from fundraising efforts. Weekly bingo games at the social hall on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons are a major fundraising source for the fire company. In addition, rentals of the social hall, chicken dinners, a fall bazaar, and individual donations all contribute to covering operational costs.

Boyce Volunteer Fire Company President Matt Hoff explained, “Running a fire company is an expensive endeavor.” Boyce is currently paying down debt owed for the social hall, which is in addition to standard operating costs such as electricity, phone, and water. The company’s next big expense will be a new pumper truck. A fire truck can cost in excess of $600,000 and an ambulance more than $250,000.

So, after 37 years, why does Coffelt continue to volunteer and run calls? “I believe in our mission — community members providing critical services to their neighbors in their time of need. I am totally behind that.”

Read more Boyce Volunteer Fire Company history in John Hudson’s book, “Welcome to Boyceville,” which is available at Boyce Town Hall. Find Clarke County’s 2020 Fire & EMS Annual Report at For more information about volunteering, donating, or fundraising events, follow Boyce Volunteer Fire Company on Facebook, or contact the Boyce VFC at (540) 837-1228 or

Awareness 2 Action Podcast Promotes Wellness

By Rebecca Maynard

Substance misuse and mental illness rates have risen as people deal with the additional challenges of the pandemic. But there is hope for those who are seeking help: The Northwestern Community Services Board (NWCSB) Prevention Department, helps people through life’s challenges with quality behavioral health services guided by principles of respect, recovery, and self-determination.

The Prevention Department has had a mission for the past 30 years to prevent substance misuse and suicide and to promote mental wellness in the Lord Fairfax Planning District, which includes Clarke County. The Department utilizes evidence-based programs, practices and strategies targeting concerns identified by needs assessments and using the Strategic Prevention Framework as its guide. An emphasis is placed on community collaboration and mobilization, enabling groups to be brought together for the benefit of the community. Find more information at

The Department has launched a new podcast, titled Awareness 2 Action, which focuses on promoting wellness in the Shenandoah Valley through conversation, connection and action. The podcast highlights the stories of individuals who are making a difference in their communities and it dives into how their life experiences have impacted their work. 

The most recent episode featured Kym Laube, Executive Director of HUGS, Inc. (Human Understanding Growth Services, Inc.), located in Westhampton Beach, New York. Kym shares parts of her story, the passion she brings to her work, and the foundational belief that strong, healthy, caring connections can powerfully impact individuals and communities. “If we really begin to create opportunities for (young people) to meaningfully engage and feel connected … and feel that the adults in the community are rallying around them and have their back, then that really begins to create an environment where young people can thrive,” Laube says in the podcast.

Other guests from Season 1 have included Miss America Camille Schrier, local Peer Recovery Specialist Jimeca Iyomere, and Keith Cartwright, behavioral health wellness consultant at Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. 

Casey Dwyer, host of Awareness 2 Action says, “Launching the podcast has been such an exciting experience. It’s inspiring and encouraging to connect with individuals who are going above and beyond for their communities. I think it’s also a special experience for our guests to have the opportunity to share their stories and knowledge with listeners who are eager to be involved in their own communities.”

Fans of the podcast can contact Shannon Urum, Prevention Services Coordinator, at They can also follow the department on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LordFairfaxYRA to stay up to date with the latest from Awareness 2 Action.

Awareness 2 Action is available on all major platforms. If you are new to podcasts, you can also listen on a computer or tablet. 

To listen, visit:
Apple Podcasts:
Google Podcasts: 
Spotify: 5SerD2gMGgoHECaFOuPJlZ
Amazon Music/Audible:

NWCS offers an array of outpatient, case management, day support, residential and emergency programs that are designed to enhance the quality of life for both children and adults affected by emotional/behavioral disorders, mental illness, substance use, and intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). They specialize in rehabilitative and family support services for individuals with such long-term challenges as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, addiction, and those with significant impairments from ID/DD. New referrals are screened for appropriateness and, depending upon capacity/need for service requested, may require placement on a waiting list.

NWCS also provides 24-hour emergency evaluation, short-term treatment and hospital referral to individuals having mental health, emotional, substance use, or behavioral crises that pose a safety risk to themselves or others. If you are seeking general information, services or appointments, please contact the Winchester Area Clinic at 540-667-8888. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 540-635-4804 or 800-342-1462. After regular office hours when centers are closed, access to their professional emergency staff is available through Concern Hotline at 540-667-0145.

As the Crow Flies

Keep Your Seed Dry And Your Bird Feeders Clean
Story and illustration by Doug Pifer

Feeding the birds has helped people young and old to get through this pandemic winter. For many home-bound Americans, this backyard hobby has helped lighten the loneliness and depression brought about by the isolation of the pandemic quarantine. Some nursing home residents I know consider watching the antics of birds and squirrels at the feeders outside their windows the high point of their day. Some of them had no interest in birds until I hung a feeder outside their window. Now they have learned to recognize different birds by species, and in some cases as individuals. One lady has even given “her” birds and squirrels individual names. 

But in recent months, all these bird feeders may have brought the birds an epidemic of their own. Citizens across the country have been finding dead or dying birds in their yards. Experts have linked these deaths to diseases the birds picked up at backyard feeding stations. 

If not properly maintained, bird feeders can create an environment that encourages the spread of disease and parasites. When bird seed in feeders gets wet, it will soon grow fungus and bacteria, potentially spreading disease among any birds that visit there. The same thing happens when spilled seed accumulates under the feeders.

Jennifer Riley, DVM, is the chief veterinarian at Blue Ridge Wildlife Center in Millwood Virginia. In the winter 2021 edition of her organization’s newsletter, The Ridge Line, Riley reports a recent dramatic increase in sick mourning doves and house finches brought to the center. Most of them, she believes, have picked up fungal, viral, and parasitic infections at bird feeders.

Riley reports many birds exhibit swollen eyelids with a crusty discharge. This highly contagious form of conjunctivitis progresses to temporary blindness. Infected birds have trouble finding food and escaping danger in the wild, but they soon recover if rescued and kept isolated from each other at the center. And, doves and finches have come to the center with trichomoniasis and Avian parvovirus, two deadly and highly contagious illnesses. Certain other diseases birds get from unsanitary feeders are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted not just among the birds, but from birds to humans. 

The solution, Riley concludes, is to clean bird feeders regularly with soap and water, followed by a one part bleach and 9 parts water solution. Then rinse the feeder and allow it to dry thoroughly before refilling.

Feeders made of non-porous material — metal or plastic — are much easier to sanitize than wood. Clean bird feeders every two weeks. In summer, wash hummingbird feeders with soap and water every three days.

Should you find a sick or dead bird near your bird feeders, stop feeding the birds for three weeks while you disinfect and clean all feeders and bird baths. Make a habit of raking up and discarding any spilled food under your feeders, using a dog poop scooper.

To learn more about how to maintain clean bird feeders, waterers, and housing, check out Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology’s website

From the Editor

Along the Appalachian Trail this weekend, hikers greeted spring. Flowering redbud reached for sunlight; dogwoods unaware of the blight afflicting their brethren bloomed their crucifix flowers. The understory seemed to leaf out as we watched.

Underfoot, Dutchmen’s breeches and all manner of wildflowers strutted their stuff. Everything seemed as it should in April; the only reminder that this was a season like no other were the masks polite passersby pulled from their pockets as they passed, traveling in the opposite direction, nodding Good Morning with collective eye twinkles not seen in a year.

The Shenandoah Valley below turned green after the morning rains. On pastures near the trail, steer chewed the sweet new grass oblivious to the people passing. The youngest calves finally gave up crying for the mamas to run and play. Yes, even the bovine seemed ready to move on.

Was it only a week ago that we wrapped the blossoming peach and apple trees in tarps against the cold? And ten days since a morning snow squall kept the hens huddled indoors till noon?

Was it only a year ago that we lined up in our cars to retrieve school kids for “two week break” that, for some, will continue till June 2021? And all the rest of it. All of it.

But there was beauty. Walks along the river with kids who would otherwise be way too busy for us. College kids we thought were gone forever, home again for extended stays. Game nights, with the winner memorialized in the box top — and sometime in August, finally, Dad wins a game. It’s there, in ink!

Sadness, too. Parents who died from growing old, but alone, leaving families and friends without the opportunity to grieve in gatherings. To tell stories, to laugh and cry together.

Then, Spring. Is it possible?

Two jabs in the arm. Then, slow dancing to James Taylor with a sweet friend. Then, Easter with Mom. Then, sipping bourbon with buddies, still outdoors but, hey, it’s spring. And, then, a postcard arrives. Save the date. A July wedding. A college buddy’s daughter. A reunion of sorts. It is possible.

Tomorrow is uncertain. Tonight, though, the windows are open, and frogs are singing in the trees. Last year’s rosemary and sage are going strong. In our little corner of the world, we hope we never forget every blessing, every kindness, every act of love, every prayer that got us through.

That’s what we have, what we share.

— David Lillard

Jordan Springs Market is All About the Community

By Rebecca Maynard

Whether you’re planning a party or just have a hankering for some good barbecue, you’re in for a treat if you have not yet visited Jordan Springs Market. Located near the western Clarke County border in Stephenson, it has been voted “Best Barbecue in the Valley” for many years, and was labeled “Best Pork Barbecue” by Northern Virginia Magazine.

Owner and pit master Olivia Landry bought the generations old store, formerly known as Ellis’s Shopping Center, in 2008. It is one of the few stations in the area to offer ethanol free gasoline, and also sells beer, wine, groceries, tobacco, ice, propane exchanges and much more. And then, of course, there is the award-winning menu, which is available for dining in, carryout, delivery through GrubHub as well as event catering.

The menu, which can be viewed on the market’s website, includes breakfast sandwiches, sausage gravy, smoked wings, smoked beef top round, beef brisket, pulled pork and chicken, chili, brisket grilled cheese, homemade sides and desserts, and more. All the meat is smoked with hickory and cherry wood at low temperatures for long periods of time and there are three sauces, Alabama White, Memphis Sweet and 
Carolina Vinegar.

“I put myself through college working in catering,” Landry said. After graduating from Mary Washington College (now University), she worked in media for a number of years in Washington, DC. While she loved her work, she also eagerly embraced the opportunity for a change by buying Ellis’s Shopping Center. “It was easy to leave my corporate background, but that background also helped me with things like hiring, team development and making changes due to Covid-19,” Landry said. 

Decades ago, teen dances were held in the building that is now Jordan Springs Market, and Landry enjoys continuing the tradition of community togetherness. She has enjoyed having couples come in who met at one of the dances decades ago. “We enjoy doing a lot with and for the community,” Landry said. She and the market staff, most of whom have been with the business long term, enjoy working with nonprofit organizations and schools. Recently, they catered lunch for the entire staff at Rappahannock Hospital. 

There is indoor seating for 15 to 20 people and four outdoor tables, and Landry said that one of the things she loves about the market is how it brings people in the community together. Sometimes people will bump into neighbors they haven’t seen for awhile, but because people often travel many miles to the market based on its reputation on Yelp, new friendships are made as well. “There’s something important about a meal shared, and it’s amazing to see the interactions between people,” Landry said. “Strangers will start talking, and before they leave, they’re like old friends.”

The market caters events ranging from 10 guests to more than 1000. Whether you are celebrating a birthday, marriage, corporate milestone or honoring someone in passing, Landry says she and her catering team will custom create a menu to help make your special occasion unforgettable. “Our focus is food and togetherness,” she said.

Visit, visit their Facebook page or call 540-662-0601.

As The Crow Flies

Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine

Because the invasive, destructive Spotted Lanternfly has established significant reproducing populations in Clarke County, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has expanded its Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine to include Clarke County.

Quarantine requires businesses that ship materials from quarantined areas to obtain Spotted Lanternfly Permits if their shipments are going to un-infested areas. By mid March 2021, VDACS’ Spotted Lanternfly quarantine area will be Clarke, Frederick, and Warren counties and the City 
of Winchester.

Businesses must complete training and submit their training credentials and completed SLF Permit Applications to

Find information about SLF training, permit application, and inspection statements at

All residents and business owners are encouraged to learn more about the Spotted Lanternfly and other invasive pests and plants. The Virginia Cooperative Extension also has a website dedicated to Spotted Lanternfly identification at

If you believe you have found a Spotted Lanternfly, kill it, and then take the specimen to your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office, or send a photo to Extension Agent Mark Sutphin at Provide the address of the location where the insect was found. VDACS and the Cooperative Extension are tracking the insect’s movement in order to mitigate its infestation and destruction to crops. 

The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) was first found in Frederick County, Va., in January 2018. By November 2019, it was in western Clarke County near the Frederick County border at Opequon Creek. The insect was found in Berryville in August 2020. The SLF is native to China, India, and Vietnam. It was introduced into South Korea in 2006 and dramatically spread to become a major agricultural pest. It was first found in the U.S. in 2014 at a Pennsylvania business that imports stone products.

While the SLF prefers to feed on Tree of Heaven, also called Ailanthus Tree, it will feed on more than 100 types of plants, including grapes, peaches, hops, and a variety of other crops. The SLF has also been reported on a range of ornamentals and can become a nuisance pest to homeowners.

The Spotted Lanternfly changes appearance quite a bit between egg mass and nymph and nymph to mature adult. Nymphs are black and white before becoming red, black and white. The adults have multi-colored wings, but are poor fliers. They are considered plant hoppers.

The insects are also hitchhikers, traveling on anything they can, including cars, trucks, and trains, which is why VDACS created the Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine. Spotted Lanternfly quarantine programs currently exist in a number of states, including New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, where the insect was first found, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Find more information at the USDA National Invasive Species Information Center,

Information and images provided by Clarke County.