Well, we are not the only ones in quarantine! As we begin the new decade, we have another pest plaguing us. Over the past century, we have fought and lost against Dutch Elm Disease, Emerald Ash Borer, Longhorn Asiatic Beetle… and now Spotted Lantern Fly.
Where it is from?
The spotted lanternfly is a planthopper that is indigenous to parts of China, India, Vietnam, and eastern Asia. Korea had spotted lanternfly introduced in 2016 as a pest. The first recorded outbreak in northern Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was in 2014. The spotted lanternfly is considered an invasive species in 2018. It has spread from eastern Pennsylvania to areas in southwestern New Jersey, northern Delaware, northern Virginia, and eastern Maryland.
How does it move?
With two pairs of wings, the spotted lanternfly jumps more than it flies. Because of this, they will hitchhike rides in the wheel wells of cars and trucks. Investigations have also found the pest spreading via the rail system. In less than 3 years spotted lanternfly has been found as far west as the Ohio border.
What are the host plants?
Lanternfly is capable of damaging vineyards, orchards, walnuts, hardwoods along with ornamental crops. The pesticides that could eradicate spotted lanternfly are not licensed for food crops. They have already devastated orchards and vineyards in eastern Pennsylvania and the surrounding states. The fear of them spreading to surrounding states is with food production. At this time there is no natural predator in the states to control its spread.
With no natural predator spotted lanternfly will continue to cause damage and spread. The spread of spotted lanternfly has happened quickly. It is vitally important to work closely with the agriculture inspectors to save our food crops in the area. If you suspect this pest is on our property call your Agriculture Extension Agent.