The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an invasive pest in the United States that was first detected in 2014 in Pennsylvania. It is a pest of numerous cultivated and wild hosts. It can cause serious damage to apples, grapes, stone fruit, landscape trees, and others and can be a nuisance pest in urban areas.
Is California at risk?
It is predicted that many agriculturally important regions in California are at high risk if this pest ever invades the state. California climate and a wide host range including both cultivated and wild species can support the establishment and spread of the spotted lanternfly. The tree-of-heaven, which is a favorite host of the spotted lanternfly, is an invasive tree that is spread throughout California and can serve as a source of infestation.
Who should be concerned?
Apples, cherries, grapes, peaches, pears, and roses are some of the commodities at risk in California that are valued at more than $7 billion. The spotted lanternfly is also a nuisance to the urban landscapes by infesting grapes, roses, and various species of trees.
What does this pest do?
Spotted lanternfly inserts its piercing and sucking mouthparts into plant tissues, feeds on nutrient-rich phloem sap, and produces large volumes of honeydew. Feeding depletes nutrients, reduces plant vigor, and yields. Sooty mold develops on honeydew and affects photosynthesis. Heavy infestations can kill the plant. When uncontrolled, populations build to hundreds or thousands on an individual plant.
What is its life cycle?
On the east coast, egg-laying occurs in fall, nymphs start emerging in spring and mature to adults starting in summer. Eggs are covered by waxy protective material.
How to control spotted lanternfly?
Removing and destroying egg masses, applying biological and synthetic pesticides, and encouraging biocontrol agents are some of the control options. The first line of defense is to prevent its invasion and spread.
For more information:
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources