Spotted Lantern Fly Found In Kent County

A single spotted lanternfly has been found in Kent County Delaware.  This is a serious issue since the spotted lantern fly can be an aggressive invasive species.  That is a serious hazard for the agriculture industry.  The Agriculture department is trying to do more surveys to see if this is an established population or just a random dead bug that was found.  It is possible it came from a vehicle that had a dead bug on their car.

new castle county, delaware, invasive species, insects, Spotted lantern fly, department of agriculture
Spotted lantern fly

I talked to a friend of mine  about the spotted lantern fly and why this is such an issue.  I wouldn’t say he painted a grim picture, but this invasive species could be very devastating to the agriculture industry, especially grape growers, which in turn could hurt the wine industry.  “It’s going to be bad. I’ve seen what they can do up in Pennsylvania. They feed on tree sap and because they consume way more sugar than they need, they literally crap sugar. It’s called honeydew and in areas with high numbers everything is covered in what looks and feels like maple syrup. After two hours working in a Pennsylvania forest with lanternfly, my legs were covered in sticky honeydew. This honeydew also attracts tons of flies and ants, and then after a few weeks, everything gets covered in a sooty mildew. Not only do these insects reduce crop yields, any fruit produced will likely be covered in that sooty mildew.”  

delaware, invasive species, insects, Spotted Lantern Fly, tree fo heaven, delaware department of agriculture
Spotted Lantern Fly
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Spotted Lantern Fly Fact Sheet So where did the Spotted Lanternfly come from, obviously they are not native to North America, and neither is the tree of heaven apparently.   Jeff Wildonger …”They came over on a shipment of granite to Pennsylvania from China.  The Tree of Heaven was introduced by William Bartram in the 1770’s in Philly in what is now the Philadelphia Zoo and Bartram Gardens.  They are super common along the C&D canal and Delaware river because the seeds float.  It is also very common along highways, especially 95.  In fact the lanternfly was considered as a biocontrol at one time for the tree of heaven.  They quickly realized the laternfly had too many hosts and was not suitable for intentional introduction.”  How widespread could this invasive infest?  Jeff, “I know they can survive New York to Virginia.”  That means the entire Delmarva peninsula is at risk.  Before anyone wants to freak out on China, we export our own invasive species as well.  You can’t check all the shipments that thoroughly.

Spotted Lantern Fly Nymph, delaware, new castle county, delmarva, invasive species
Spotted Lantern Fly Nymph

If you happen to see any of these invasive Spotted Lanternflies please follow the link and report them to the Delaware Department of Agriculture.  Stephen Hauss, “We have an electronic form people can fill out on the website and upload pictures to report any findings.  We would appreciate any and all the help we can get to stop this invasive species”  As Stepehen mentioned they cannot trap these right now they have to physically find them and remove them.  Jeff … “Sticky traps will work, but they also catch and kill other beneficial insects.  There is a pheromone trap being worked on, like the Japanese beetle traps, that target the spotted lanternflies specifically.”   You can also contact them via email or phone HitchHikerBug@state.de.us. For more information, call 698-4586

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