by Cris Blackstone, NHCLP
Just when you thought it was safe…and just when you thought we had a grasp of the life cycle and IPM needed to understand the Emerald Ash Borer or the Asian Longhorn Beetle, along comes the Spotted Lanternfly!
The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) has come to the US from China, India, and Vietnam. Discovered in Bucks County, PA, six years ago, this invasive is mobile and voracious. “A planthopper” insect, it’s destruction is swift and predictable. The piercing-sucking mouthparts attack the host plants, and while feeding secrete a sugary by-product which can cover and smother a plant it has attacked.
There are many problems caused by the infestation of the Spotted Lanternfly, including the way an ornamental plant or shade tree can be covered with that sugary substance which attracts many stinging insects, too.
A sooty mold is additional evidence of its destructive path. Hosts for the invasive insect include the Tree of Heaven, which is lining highways and roadways to New England from Pennsylvania. (Planthopper’s dream come true!) Fruits such as apples, peaches, and grapes are affected as are birch, maple, and dogwood trees.
Fact Sheets from the UMass Extension provide photos of the pest in each of its life stages. (ag.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/spotted-lanternfly) We are fortunate to have first-hand, experienced professionals coming to our March 20 UNHCE/NHLA Spring Conference who will be able to offer information on the Spotted Lanternfly and other invasives we need to know about, from the NH Invasive Species Committee (ISC).
The ISC is a committee of eleven volunteers, appointed to meet on a regular basis, to discuss and analyze threats posed by land-based plants, insects, and fungi and their negative effects on our state’s quality of agriculture and recreational lands. Doug Cygan, the Chairman of the ISC and Coordinator of the project to educate the general public and municipal departments and the highway department about the plants identified, will be on hand March 20 with display material and handouts for attendees to help spread the information about the identified invasives. Doug will be accompanied by Denyce Gagne, of NH Fish and Game, also involved in the ISC outreach and education programming. We are glad to have Andrew Mauch, Millican Nurseries, as the horticultural representative to the committee, attending this conference, too! Please take time to check out the information, and feel free to ask any further questions you have as you speak with Doug, Denyce, or Andrew during the conference.
This is information you can share with your clients, too! Don’t forget the outbreak and infestation of the Asian Longhorn Beetle in August of 2008 was first noticed and reported by a homeowner in Worcester, MA. It takes the strong outreach and education provided by our Invasive Species Committee along with our Cooperative Extension, to help share this type of valuable information and help you vet what you may read about on the internet or hear about from a client.