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  • Michael Radovic

The Spotted Lanternfly

The Spotted Lanternfly is native to Southeast Asia but has spread to the Northeast of the United States after first being seen in Pennsylvania in 2014. The Spotted Lanternfly is spreading throughout the region and is thriving in their new environment. Spotted Lanternfly populations are currently found in 14 states in the Northeast and the Atlantic seaboard.

These invasive species infest several types of trees and plants and, left unchecked, can seriously impact the grape, orchard, and logging industries. According to the USDA, the list of plants and trees at risk is quite extensive, including:

  • Almonds

  • Apples

  • Apricots

  • Cherries

  • Grapes

  • Hops

  • Maple Trees

  • Nectarines

  • Oak Trees

  • Peaches

  • Pine Trees

  • Plums

  • Poplar Trees

  • Sycamore Trees

  • Walnut Trees

  • Willow Trees

Federal and state departments of agriculture are serious about the threat telling people if they see a Spotted Lanternfly or egg masses, they should crush them and scrape them off the tree or plant they are on.

Spotted Lanternfly egg masses are about an inch long and resemble a smear of mud. They can be found on outdoor surfaces like tree bark and on other objects such as bikes, lawnmowers, or grills. If Spotted Lanternflies are found outside of the zones in which they have been documented, the New York State Department of Agriculture is asking that people take a picture of the pest and the area before squashing it. Spotted lanternflies have been found in all five boroughs of New York City and on Long Island, so there is no need to take a picture here. However, it is still important to report sightings here.

According to a flyer on the New York State website:

“Spotted lanternfly adults are very colorful when their interior hind wings are displayed. The hind wings are red with black spots. They have a black head and a yellow abdomen with black bands. Their beige-gray forewings also have black spots and a distinctive black brick-like pattern on the tips. There is one generation per year, with adults developing in the summer, laying eggs in the late summer through fall, and overwintering as eggs. Each egg mass normally contains 30-50 eggs which are laid in rows and usually covered in a waxy substance. The first nymphs to hatch from the eggs in the spring are wingless, black, and have white spots, while the final nymph stage turns red before becoming winged adults. Adult males are slightly smaller than inch-long females but are almost identical in appearance. Adults and nymphs commonly gather in large numbers on host plants to feed and are easiest to see at dusk or at night.”

You can find more information about the Spotted Lanternfly on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website here and on the New York Department of Agriculture website here.

The flyer previously mentioned can be downloaded here.

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