Sniff & Destroy: Researchers recruiting dogs to combat costly invasive species

Researchers at Texas Tech and Virginia Tech are looking for citizen scientists and their canine companions to help snuff out the Chinese Spotted Lanternfly. These pests cause $40 billion in agricultural and forestry damage each year.

fly sniffing dog_VT.jpeg

Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences / Adobe Stock

Looking for a fun way to spend time with your furry friend and help protect and support your local agricultural community? Researchers at Texas Tech University and Virginia Tech might have just the opportunity for you!

The invasive Chinese Spotted Lanternfly (CSL) is wreaking havoc on agricultural and forestry industries across the United States. According to Virginia Tech’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the invasive species has now spread from New York to North Carolina and as far west as Illinois, and preys on more than 70 native plant species. The damage caused by lanternflies is estimated at around $40 billion a year.

While there have been many different ideas on how best to eliminate the pests before they continue to spread and cause more damage (some, like the “stomp, squash, or smash” method even went viral), this new program seeking citizen scientists and their canine companions is one of many stemming from a four-year, $475,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agriculture and Food Research Initiative spearheading eradication efforts.

Researchers say not to be concerned about your dog’s age or breed — because many different types of dogs can be trained to sniff out new odors.

If you’re interested in participating in the K9 Citizen Science Detection Dog Study, click here to apply.

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