It’s Bug Squashing Season; Kill This Invasive Pest Before It Hatches!
A fairly recent invasive insect, the Spotted Lanternfly or Lycorma delicatula, is moving towards Wisconsin, and the Midwest as a whole (that means you Iowa and Illinois), and experts say it’s only a matter of time before the pest truly invades 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.
Since the invasive pests arrival in the United States, the spotted lanternfly has migrated west and south and can now be found in 14 states; that's according to the USDA:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
So here are the official rules for dealing with Spotted Lanternflies or their egg clutches. Take a picture. Report it to the local department of agriculture. Then stomp it or scrape it off.
The eggs look white and glossy before they turn gray/brown when dried, similar to a smudge of clay.
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. If allowed to spread in the United States, the pest could seriously impact the country’s grape, orchard, and logging industries. Agriculture industries and experts agree this bug could be a serious problem, even SNL took the chance to hop on the "hate this bug" bandwagon. 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."
The Today Show 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.