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Should you be worried about this new pest?

30 Oct, 2023 21
Should you be worried about this new pest?

Earlier this fall, the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association notified members of a new invasive pest, the spotted lanternfly. 

Spotted Lanternfly Text header with pic of spotted lantern fly over the words

What is it?

The spotted lanternfly, also called a leafhopper, is native to China (and not the USA). This invasive pest is known to feed on woody tree sap, hops, hard & softwood trees, grape crops, apple trees, and more. When it's through with its host plant, it leaves behind a residue known as "honeydew" that can be harmful.

Spotted Lanternfly on a tree trunk

Here's the good & the bad news →

The Good News:

You don't need to panic. Spotted lanternflies will not cause widespread plant or tree death. They are not harmful to animals or humans.

"If there is a silver lining associated with spotted lanternfly 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.

 

The Bad News:

They are a nuisance and come with a major ick factor. As with other pests, they can be hard to eliminate once they establish themselves in an area. 

Spotted Lanternfly on Tree Trunk

A spotted lanternfly matures to about 1" in length at full maturity. With wings fully expanded, it measures 1.5" in spread. It has distinct spots, contrasted by a red-orange color on its wings.

Please note the spotted lanternfly's appearance changes depending on its stage of life.

Spotted Lanternfly Lifecycle 

Here's what you need to do →

    • take pictures & report sightings to lanternfly@illinois.edu 
    • remove and destroy them
    • before you leave an area, check for them under vehicles, boats, etc  
    • let others know— share this post!

 

Important Resources →

IL Dept of Ag Press Release: https://agr.illinois.gov/news/press-release.27063.html

USDA: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/hungry-pests/the-threat/spotted-lanternfly/spotted-lanternfly

U of I Fact Sheet: https://extension.illinois.edu/sites/default/files/spotted_lanternfly_fact_sheet_v8.pdf

Local News Reports: 

https://news.wttw.com/2023/09/27/spotted-lanternfly-isn-t-eco-disaster-it-does-have-major-yuck-factor-here-s-how-chicago

https://www.pbs.org/video/illinois-first-infestation-of-spotted-lanternfly-confirmed-d/

https://www.wcsjnews.com/news/local/spotted-lanternfly-spotted-in-illinois/article_5391a7c6-6cfa-11ee-826f-d7852a6ca4fd.html

https://patch.com/illinois/across-il/moderately-populated-area-spotted-lanternfly-found-il