Pest Watch: The Spotted Lanternfly is Heading Our Way!
The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is currently not known to exist in North Carolina. This non-native invasive pest is native to China and was first found in the U.S. in eastern Pennsylvania in 2014. Since then, it has spread to three additional states: New York, Delaware, and in January 2018, Virginia. While this sucking insect prefers tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), it has an extremely wide host range, including: pine, hardwoods (maple, poplar, willow), fruit trees (apple, Prunus spp.), and grapevine.
The egg masses of the spotted lanternfly are laid on the bark of trees and occasionally smooth, man-made items such as bricks or stone. Cutting and moving wood or moving man-made items that have an egg mass on it can transport the spotted lanternfly long distances. It can also be moved when infested plant materials are moved from place to place. It is suspected that the spotted lanternfly originally was transported to the U.S. as egg masses in a shipment of stone. Always check firewood or smooth man-made items for the presence of any life stage of this insect or, better yet, don’t move it at all if it can be avoided.
Learn more from the NC Forest Service's Forest Health Notes (Vol. No. 201802-SLF).
Photo by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org