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The Spotted Lanternfly Is In America To Wreak Havoc

October 2nd, 2017

The spotted lanternfly was introduced to the United States back in 2014, and experts are still not sure how to reduce their population levels. These invasive insects are native to China, India, Vietnam and can be found in parts of southeast Asia. They were introduced to South Korea in 2006 where they caused significant economic damage. Here in the United States these invasive insects pose serious threats to timber trees, peach trees, grapes, and any type of fruit tree that you can name . Lanternflies spread rapidly, and the damage that they can cause to the economy cannot be overestimated. These damaging insects were first spotted in Pennsylvania during September of 2014. These invasive insects are free to cause massive crop damage since they do not have any natural predators within the continental US.

Lanternfly nymphs and adults use their sucking mouthparts to pierce the skin of a wide variety of plants in order to access nutrients. These insect pests also secrete a sugary substance that is similar to aphid honeydew. These secretions often result in the spread of mold and the growth of disease. When lanternflies are within their natural environment, their secretions and feeding habits typically do not result in disease growth or mold formation. This is due to the presence natural predators that keep the lanternflies from over infestations. Of course, as already mentioned, no such natural predators exist within the US. In regions where the lanternflies feeding habits  are not hindered by natural predators, over infestation often occurs, which results in numerous diseased or dead plants. Lanternflies feed on sixty five different plants. They show a preference for plants that are high in sugar and possess toxic metabolites.

These invasive spotted lanternflies can be spotted during the spring as nymphs. During their nymphal stage lanternflies will have a black body with white spots. During the summer season lanternflies can be spotted feeding as adults. Lanternfly damage can appear as wounds that bleed sap. These sap-wounds can be inflicted on wooded and non-wooded plants. Each year since their discovery, efforts have been successfully made to limit the invasive insects to a quarantine zone in Pennsylvania.

Do you believe that the invasive spotted lanternflies will escape their quarantine zone at some point in the future?

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