Keep an eye out for invasive ‘spotted lanternfly’ in the Tri-State

Invasive insect 'spotted lanternfly' a threat to crops, trees in Tri-State
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:02 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The USDA Animal and Plant Health Service is asking residents to keep an eye out for spotted lanternfly egg masses. The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that can bring impacts for agriculture in the tri-state.

Dr. Gene Kritsky, Dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences at Mount St. Joseph University, says that spotted lanternflies are, “plant hoppers and they’re distance relatives to cicadas.” But rather than go in breeding cycles every seventeen years, the spotted lanternfly breeds every year.

“The major risk of these spotted lanternflies are their impact on agricultural commodities such as grapes and if you have a growing wine industry, that’s going to be impacted. they’ll also feed on a whole variety of species in things like apple and pear and so on,” Dr. Kritsky added. The variety of species that the invasive insect can impact includes, but is not limited to, the tree-of-heaven, hops, walnuts and other hardwood trees.

The spotted lanternfly is native to China, but arrived in the United States as early as 2014 in Pennsylvania. But according to Dr. Kritsky, it has now been spotted in Ohio, adding that he was, “able to visit a site in Cincinnati where there were breeding egg nests and adults of spotted lanternflies in greater Cincinnati and Hamilton County.”

The request from the USDA about monitoring your property for spotted lanternfly eggs asks residents to look for a clump or clumps of small white eggs that can be found on tree trunks, limbs or patio furniture. The mud-like egg masses can be found in these locations from late fall through May. Once consistent warm conditions are present, the eggs will hatch small black insects that will grow red wings with black spots in the summer and fall months.

“The basic thing is to keep an eye out and if you see them, you should actually report them, but also if you find egg masses, you can scrape them off the way and you can also easily kill these insects,” according to Dr. Kritsky.

To help reduce the reproduction of this pest, Ohio residents should monitor their properties for any signs of spotted lanternflies to smash, scrape, and dispose of them. If you spot the pest, please take a picture before killing it and report it via this submission form or by calling 614-728-6400.

To learn more about the spotted lanternfly, click here.

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