David Owens, Extension Entomologist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to Bob Leiby for correctly guessing this week’s GTP as Delaware’s spotted lanternfly quarantine zone. Bob will be sent a sweep net for lanternfly collecting and destroying.
Spotted lanternfly was accidentally introduced into Pennsylvania from Asia around 2014. It feeds on phloem sap, which is high in sugar and low in protein. This is a large, charismatic insect that needs a lot of protein; thus it filters out enormous amounts of sap. This results in a ‘rain’ of honeydew and sooty mold growth underneath infested branches. In Pennsylvania, these insects are causing serious damage to vineyards, and can potentially impact other orchard crops as well as the silviculture industry by weakening trees over time.
Lanternflies lay eggs in the fall and are not choosy about where they lay eggs. Eggs can be laid on any flat, vertical surface such as rusty metal, equipment, tree trunks, stone slabs, etc. Egg masses look like patches of mud. Nymphs should be hatching now, and will look like small dominos on legs – black with white spots. Later this summer they will transition to red with white spots.
The Delaware Department of Agriculture quarantine is in place in an attempt to slow the spread of lanternflies, allowing university personnel, private collaborators, state governments, and USDA time to identify impacts, management tactics, and natural enemies from Asia that might help bring SLF under control. What does the quarantine mean for you? It means that if you enter these areas and stop for more than just a typical I-95 headache, you should check your vehicle or your goods for potential hitchhiking SLFs. Residents are strongly encouraged to go through a compliance checklist, essentially a visual examination to ensure you are not carrying any life stages with you. This checklist can be found here: https://agriculture.delaware.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/108/2019/03/DDA-Spotted-Lanternfly-Residential-Compliance-Checklist.pdf.
Businesses and organizations, however, that move materials inside the quarantine zone or out of the quarantine zone need to have a permit. This can be done by having a designated company employee or representative work through an online training module (https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-permit-training). After completion, they are required to train other company employees and select the number of permits their company will need for vehicles.
If you think you have SLF, take a photo and send to HitchHikerBug@delaware.gov, or call (302) 698-4632. For more information, please visit: https://agriculture.delaware.gov/plant-industries/spotted-lanternfly/ and https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Plants_Land_Water/PlantIndustry/Entomology/spotted_lanternfly/Pages/default.aspx. Do your part to help prevent the spread of this extremely noxious pest from getting established, for your quality of life, for your neighbor’s, and for the farmer down the road.