There is an invasive insect in our midst which all residents need to be on the lookout for. As if the pandemic were not enough, the Spotted Lantern Fly (SLF) is a threat to our trees and shrubs and is of great ecological concern.
Agricultural officials need your help to take photos of this pest if you should see it. There is a reporting site to add information about where and when the insect is seen, including sharing photographs.
The insect has already been seen in Billerica, and dead specimen reported in Norwood and Milford, and it is only a matter of time before it gets here. We need to help eradicate it.
According to Massachusetts officials, Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula, “SLF”) is an invasive sap-feeding insect from Asia that was first discovered in the United States in 2014, in the state of Pennsylvania. While the main host plant of this pest is tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), spotted lanternfly attacks a variety of trees, shrubs, and vines, and has the potential to impact a broad range of agricultural commodities, including apples, peaches, grapes/wine, maple syrup, as well as the ornamental nursery industry.
It is thought the insect arrived in a shipment of stone from Asia. It is native to China, India, Korea and Vietnam.
Residents are urged to be on the lookout for any indication of the eggs or adults, especially in any nursery or ornamental products shipped from out of state. The spotted lanternfly was introduced accidentally in Pennsylvania in 2014 and since that time has made its way to Eastern states through a variety of shipped nursery garden products.
The insect appears to attack grape vines, apple trees, maple, pine, birch, willow and plum and more than 100 plants, according to the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture.
The state has an online reporting tool and informative photographs to confirm what you may notice is either an egg mass or adult insects.
So far, according to MDAR, “there are known introductions of SLF in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.”
If you believe you’ve seen a Spotted Lanternfly, report the information at the MDAR website: https://massnrc.org/pests/pestFAQsheets/spottedlanternfly.html.