The lanternfly was first found in 2014 and has spread to 26 other counties in Pennsylvania. The lanternfly is currently moving into Ohio, Indiana, and southern New England. This polka-dotted species can kill trees and several plants while infesting. These insects are 1 inch long and hail from parts of Asia.
What Is A Lanternfly?
The lanternfly belongs to India and China and is said to have arrived in a stone shipment. The first time we laid eyes on this pest was in 2014 in Pennsylvania on a tree of heaven.
The lanternfly had infected half of the state by 2021. It had also affected New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Delaware by July.
The lanternflies laid their eggs in summer and autumn. The eggs were in masses and found mostly on trees and other smooth surfaces. It could also be seen on cars, looking like thin smears of dry mud. Once these pests hatch they crawl towards a new plant to start their infestation.
How Do They Feed On Trees?
They suck into the vascular system of the plant by piercing the bark. They can remove large quantities of sap from the tissues and release “honeydew”. This secretion covers the tree or plant. A black mold tends to grow on this honeydew. The tree loses its nutrients, which in turn hampers its development or growth. The tree dies in some days or can become stunted.
Two fungal pathogens of lanternflies have been found in the US. The labs are busy testing 2 parasitoid insects that can feed on the lanternfly.
The lanternfly infestation is worrisome. These pests can cause widespread damage to trees, crops, and even the beautiful landscape. The adult lanternflies lay on structures to release eggs and cause shock just like the masses of cicadas. These pests are more shocking as wheel bugs or stink bugs, which are predators, have no effect on them. These pests have damaged vines or even killed them. Insecticides are an option but are expensive to implement.
How Can You Help Out?
If your state has been infested and you see a lanternfly, contact your extermination office to help them control it.
If your state has not been infested then report the incident to the Agricultural Department of the State. Make sure that the infestation is caught early. It is easy to eradicate thereon. Identification and eradication of such infestations can slow the spread of lanternfly infestations.