Watch Out for This Invasive Insect That Could Damage Michigan Crops
A bright, colorful insect that damages fruit, hops, and hardwood trees could be the next invasive species in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is asking the public to be on the lookout for spotted lanternfly.
While spotted lanterfly have not been detected in Michigan yet, the invasive insects were first spotted in the U.S. in United States in 2014 in southeastern Pennsylvania and have spread rapidly across the country. Infestations have been confirmed in Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland and West Virginia.
Spotted lanternflies cause damage by sucking sap from host plants and secreting large amounts of a sticky liquid called honeydew. This honeydew and the resulting black, sooty mold can kill plants. The honeydew often attracts other pests like hornets, wasps, and ants, affecting outdoor recreation and crop harvests.
This insect could damage or kill more than 70 varieties of crops and plants including grapes, apples, hops, plums, cherries, oak, willow, maple and sycamore.
Robert Miller, invasive species prevention and response specialist for MDARD says,
“Prevention and early detection are vital to limiting the spread of spotted lanternfly. Spotted lanternfly cannot fly long distances, but they lay eggs on nearly any surface, including cars, trailers, firewood and outdoor furniture. Before leaving an area where a quarantine is present, check vehicles, firewood and outdoor equipment for unwanted hitchhikers.”
Here's what to be on the lookout for:
If you see eggs, immature, or adult spotted lanterflies, MDARD asks that you record the location, take pictures if you can, and report it to them.