Have You Seen This Bug!? Squish It!
A new invasive insect, the Spotted Lanternfly or Lycorma delicatula, is moving towards Wisconsin and experts say it’s only a matter of time before the pest reaches the state. The Spotted Lanternfly is native to China and was first detected in Pennsylvania in September of 2014. According to the USDA APHIS website, this insect is considered a "Hungry Pest." Hungry pests are invasive species that threaten to harm crops and trees. If left unchecked, they can devastate entire ag industries which in turn can eliminate jobs, threaten the local food supply, and cost businesses and American families billions.
Spotted lanternfly feeds on a wide range of fruit, ornamental, and woody trees. Examples include; Almonds, Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Grapes, Hops, Maple Trees, Nectarines, Oak Trees, Peaches, Pine Trees, Plums, Poplar Trees, Sycamore Trees, Walnut Trees, and Willow Trees.
According to the USDA, the spotted lanternfly does not fly long distances, but is a very good 'hitchhiker.' In fall, female fly's lay mud-like egg masses on tree bark, and outdoor items; like, lawnmowers, bikes, grills, and vehicles. The egg masses are about an inch long and resemble a smear of mud. Residents that find an egg clutch should crush them or scrape them off. If you find this pest take a picture of it and note the location to report it to your State Department of Agriculture before killing it. If allowed to spread in the United States, the pest could seriously impact the country’s grape, orchard, and logging industries. Researchers from Penn State have said that:
"the spotted lanternfly could drain Pennsylvania's economy of at least $324 million annually and cause the loss of about 2,800 jobs."
Currently, the spotted lanternfly populations are found in 14 states which include; Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The Today Show recently did an in-depth look at the invasive species as well;
Spotted Lanternfly signs to watch for in your plants include; plants that ooze or weep and have a fermented odor. Buildup of sticky fluid on plants and on the ground underneath infested plants. And sooty mold on infested plants.
So how can we avoid the spread of this nasty pest? The USDA lays out some steps to follow when dealing with this bug.
- When preparing for the winter holidays/travel, check outdoor items for spotted lanternfly egg masses, including items you bring indoors. Scrape any egg masses into a plastic zippered bag filled with hand sanitizer, then zip the bag shut and dispose of it properly.
- Inspect your trees and plants for signs of this pest, particularly at dusk and at night when the insects tend to gather in large groups on the trunks or stems of plants.
- Inspect trees (especially tree of heaven; another invasive Chinese plant species), bricks, stone, and other smooth surfaces for egg masses.
- Report a sighting if you find spotted lanternflies.