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New Spotted Lanternfly Population Found in Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Two recent press releases issued by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the arrival of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly (SLF; Lycorma deliatula) in Cuyahoga County, Ohio and the first detection of SLF in Indiana.

The following statement was released yesterday from the Ohio Department of Agriculture:

Spotted Lanternfly Found in Cuyahoga County

ODA Plant Pest inspectors confirmed living, adult SLF are in the area. An inspector with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also confirmed a population of the SLF has been found at a secondary location, near the initial report.

A railroad line connects both locations.

ODA has been working with the United States Department of Agriculture, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, and the Ohio Grape Industries Committee to do visual surveys, insect trapping, and outreach in the region.

SLF is a great concern to the grape and wine industry. The insect is fond of grapevines, fruit trees, hops, blueberry, oak, pine, poplar, and walnut. Adult SLF are attracted to the invasive Ailanthus tree, also known as tree-of-heaven, while nymphs feed on a wide range of hosts. Both adults and nymphs feed on stems and leaves, causing sap bleeding and reduced photosynthesis, which can eventually kill the plant.

Now through November is the best time to spot the SLF because it is in its most recognizable stages as a colorful winged adult plant hopper. After hatching in the late spring, the SLF goes through four nymph stages. By midsummer, the nymph SLF can be identified by its red body, roughly a half-inch in size, with black stripes and white dots. During the late summer until roughly November, the SLF is in the adult stage. These adults are larger, roughly one inch in size, with black bodies and brightly colored wings.

The public is the first line of defense against the SLF. If you believe you have seen an SLF in your area, you can easily report a suspected infestation by going to ODA’s Spotted Lanternfly Information Page and filling out a suspected infestation report. You may also call the Plant Pest Control Division at 614-728-6400.

The following statement is the shared from the Indiana DNR:

Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) was found in Indiana for the first time in Switzerland County earlier this week, the farthest west the insect has been found. This federally regulated invasive species has a detrimental impact upon plant growth and fruit production, especially in vineyards and orchards.

A homeowner in Vevay contacted DNR’s Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology (DEPP) with a picture that was taken outside his home of a fourth instar. DEPP staff surveyed the site and discovered an infestation in the woodlot adjacent to a few homes in the area. The site is within 2 miles of the Ohio River and the Markland Dam. DEPP and USDA are conducting an investigation to determine exactly how large the infestation is and where it could have come from, as well as how to limit the spread and eradicate the population.

Spotted lanternfly is a planthopper that originated in Asia. It was first discovered in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture tried to limit the spread of this pest, but it excels at being a hitchhiker and is often spread unknowingly by humans.

Adult spotted lanternfly has two sets of wings, and the underwing has a very distinct red color with spots on the outer wings. The fourth instar of the insect is bright red with black and white markings. The egg masses of this invasive insect look like mud and they can be spread by vehicle transport including recreational vehicles, cargo carriers (truck transport) and freight trains. They can also be spread through trade materials sold in infested areas that are shipped out of state including nursery stock, outdoor furniture, lumber, etc. Anyone receiving goods from the east coast should inspect for signs of the insect, especially if the commodity is to be kept outdoors.

Spotted lanternfly prefers to feed on tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), but it has been found on more than 103 species of plant including walnut, oak, maple, and various fruit trees. This insect is often found on grapevines in vineyards. Adult insects have piercing, sucking mouthparts and weaken the plants through feeding on them, which can make it difficult for the plant to survive the winter months. Congregating spotted lanternfly insects produce a sticky substance called “honeydew” in large quantities that over time becomes infested with sooty mold that attracts other pests in the area.

The Indiana DNR is asking for all citizens to keep an eye out for spotted lanternfly. The bright color of both the fourth instar and the adults of the insect should be present at this time of the year. Anyone that spots signs of the spotted lanternfly should contact DEPP by calling 866-NO EXOTIC (866-663-9684) or send an email to DEPP@dnr.IN.gov. For more information on this or other invasive pests see the following link https://www.in.gov/dnr/entomology/pests-of-concern/spotted-lanternfly/

The updated map below shows the latest distribution of SLF in the eastern US. Currently, Ohio has two populations of SLF, one in Jefferson County (SE) and one in Cuyahoga County (NE).

Fig 1. Distribution of SLF infestations and positively identified individuals, updated August 30, 2021. Not included: Cuyahoga County population announced September 2. Map from https://nysipm.cornell.edu/environment/invasive-species-exotic-pests/spotted-lanternfly/.

Reminder: Be on the lookout for adult SLF and egg masses!

Now through November is the easiest time to be looking out for SLF since most are in their distinct adult form (Fig. 2). During this time, egg masses containing upwards of 30 to 50 eggs per mass are laid by adults. These egg masses are commonly laid on hard surfaces near where SLF are feeding and contribute to rapid increases in local population size (Fig. 3). If you suspect sightings of either SLF nymphs, adults, or egg masses, contact ODA via the Spotted Lanternfly Information Page or by contacting the Plant Pest Control Division at 614-728-6400.

To date, SLF have not been found in Ohio vineyards. Help do your part to reduce the spread by having guests from known areas with SLF to inspect vehicles before arriving and departing your vineyard or winery!

Fig 2. Adult SLF. Photo credit: NYSIPM (https://nysipm.cornell.edu)

Fig 3. SLF egg masses take on a putty-like appearance at first and visually changes over time. Photo credit: Erica Smyers

For additional resources on SLF, visit:

NYSIPM SLF Resource List: https://nysipm.cornell.edu/environment/invasive-species-exotic-pests/spotted-lanternfly/spotted-lanternfly-resources/

What should you do with Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses? (PSU): https://extension.psu.edu/what-should-you-do-with-spotted-lanternfly-egg-masses

Spotted Lanternfly Extension Resources (PSU): https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly

Mark your calendars! Four upcoming Regional SLF Management Workshops for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022

OSU Extension in collaboration with the Ohio Grape Industries Committee will be providing 4 upcoming regional workshops on identifying, monitoring, and managing SLF. These workshops are being developed with separate sessions that target both commercial stakeholders and homeownersAdditional details and registration will be forthcoming. — By Maria Smith, Department of Horticulture & Crop Science, Ohio State University

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