Home Industry News Economics Destructive Vineyard Pest, Spotted lanternfly Spreads to Illinois

Destructive Vineyard Pest, Spotted lanternfly Spreads to Illinois

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) has confirmed the first detection of spotted lanternfly (Lycorma deliculata) in Illinois. This invasive pest has been in the US since 2014 but has been working its way across the mid-Atlantic states finally reaching the Midwest and the Land of Lincoln.

The Good Growing blog describes this insect and its life cycle while the focus of this Pesticide News blog post is on recent developments as reported by the IDA in their press release and specific actions you can do to help.

Following a report of a live adult on Sept. 16, state, federal, and local officials coordinated a site visit near the area of the report and identified a moderately populated area of spotted lanternfly (SLF) on Sept. 18. Specimens were collected and submitted for identification, and confirmatory results were received on September 26. The spotted lanternfly does not present any human or animal health concerns.

“If there is a silver lining associated with spotted lantern fly in Illinois, it is that we have no reason to believe that widespread plant or tree death will result from its presence,” said Scott Schirmer, Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Nursery and Northern Field Office Section Manager.” This is likely going to be a nuisance pest that interferes with our ability to enjoy outdoor spaces and may have some impact on the agritourism industry, including orchards, pumpkin patches, and vineyards.”

“Spotted lanternfly has been inching closer to the Midwest and Illinois for close to a decade,” said Jerry Costello II, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director. “We have had a multi-agency team working to prepare for this scenario – including efforts on readiness, informing and educating the industry and the public, as well as monitoring early detection.”

Spotted lanternfly is an invasive plant hopper native to eastern Asia. First found in the U.S. in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2014, SLF has continued to spread throughout the eastern U.S. and recently into the Midwest. Confirmed identifications of SLF have been recorded in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, in addition to some eastern and southeastern states.

SLF feeds on a wide variety of plants, including a strong affinity to the invasive tree of heaven (TOH), grapes (both wild and cultivated), and maple trees. These plants should be targeted for any monitoring activities. When feeding, SLF produces honeydew which is a sticky liquid that often coats or accumulates on the foliage and other parts of plants.

SLF is believed to move easily on wood surfaces and products, vehicles such as trains, outdoor articles, and more – making it a challenging pest to contain and anticipate. Prevention and early detection are vital to limiting its ability to move and intrude upon new areas. Persons are highly encouraged to report any believed sightings of SLF to lanternfly@illinois.edu. Photos are necessary to verify a report and to aid in identification.

“IDOA is working with federal and local partners in an effort to determine the full extent of the infestation,” said Dr. Michael Woods, Division Manager of Natural Resources. “Although we cannot determine with any degree of certainty how SLF has arrived here, efforts are being undertaken to better understand its movement and behavior.”

The research and regulatory communities are continuing to learn about SLF, its behaviors, potential impacts, and effective management strategies – despite ongoing endeavors to minimize its spread and the associated impact on industry and natural resources.

What can you do to help?

  • Report sightings – If you see SLF or suspect it, report it to lanternfly@illinois.edu. A fact sheet, including photos, is available through the University of Illinois Extension.
  • Remove and destroy pests – crush nymphs and adults, scrape egg masses into a container with hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol to kill them. Remember to take photos first, and report this!
  • Check your vehicles, boat, camper, outdoor articles, etc. – Before leaving an area, do a quick inspection for any life stages. Destroy any eggs or insects found.
  • Keep your eyes open and spread the word (not the pest) – We need the public’s help to look for and report this pest, and to also strengthen the outreach about it. It will likely impact everyone in Illinois one way or another, so the more awareness we have the better.

For more information about Spotted Lanternfly, please visit Illinois Department of Agriculture’s page, “Spotted Lanternfly”. Also, check out the Home, Yard, and Garden article, “Be on the Lookout for Spotted Lanternfly”. Finally, Tree-of-Heaven is a preferred host species, for control recommendations, check out the Home, Yard, and Garden article, “Tree-of-heaven”. — By Michelle Wiesbrook, Extension Specialist, University of Illinois

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