Be on the alert for noticed lanternfly | Outside

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MONTPELIER — The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets is asking the public to keep an eye out for the invasive pest known as the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) during the spring landscape season. This is due to the risk of egg masses being accidentally introduced in shipments of nursery stock imported from other states that may have documented spotted lanternfly (SLF) infestations. This invasive beetle is not yet known to have established a breeding population in Vermont. The agency is educating the nursery industry on the threats and steps it can take to keep the invasive pest off Vermont.

VAAFM has recently received reports that nursery stock from SLF-infested areas may have been imported into states neighboring Vermont through the nursery trade. Any Vermonter who has recently purchased or planted trees or shrubs on their property, particularly maple or crab apple trees, is asked to inspect the trunk and branches to ensure there are no SLF egg masses or hitchhiking nymphs, and report all finds to Vermont Invasives at https://vtinvasives.org/reporting-spotted-lanternfly. Landscapers and nurseries are also reminded to be on the lookout for this pest, report it to the agency and treat nursery stock to prevent possible spread of this insect.

“We know SLF is a good hitchhiker and can be easily transported from state to state on nursery stock or on vehicles or anything they can hitchhike on,” said state entomologist Judy Rosovsky. “Our best way to keep the spotted lanternfly out of Vermont is to get extra eyes on the trees. Observant citizens have located all SLF intercepted in VT.”

In addition to the agricultural impacts it causes, SLF has the potential to adversely affect outdoor activities when the adults emerge in late summer due to their swarming behavior and production of “honeydew” that can attract stinging insects. SLF egg masses are about an inch and a half long and are flat and gray in color, making them difficult to spot, especially on tree bark. For this reason, an SLF may not be noticed until the nymphs hatch in late May or early June. The public is asked to look for small black insects marked with white dots. If there are grapes or sky trees in the area, they will migrate to these plants.

SLF is a sap-eating insect that has a significant impact on vineyards, orchards, and other agricultural commodities in states where it has become established. Not only does SLF damage grapevines, maples, hops, blueberries and over 100 other host plants, but it has been observed to affect outdoor recreation in other states where populations are high and adult lanternflies swarm in large numbers during the mating season.

If you see any sign of spotted lanternflies, please report it at https://vtinvasives.org/reporting-spotted-lanternfly. The agency may contact you to determine if action is needed to prevent establishment in Vermont.