Ever heard of the spotted lantern fly? Certain areas of the United States are very familiar with it. It is a pest that is native to Asia, namely China and Vietnam. In those countries the spotted lantern fly has natural predators that keep the invasive species in check. But the U.S. and Canada have no such varmints to protect their crops from destruction by the spotted lantern fly.
The problem is, the lantern fly is an accomplished hitchhiker. It has arrived in the U.S. by riding on ships and planes from Asia and spreads by attaching itself to trains, automobiles and trucks to reach new areas where it can establish new feeding and egg laying to establish habitats. And when lantern flies lay eggs, they drop a bunch.
The spotted lantern fly poses a threat to Canada’s grape, fruit tree, and forestry industries. None of us want to sacrifice our wineries, tree fruits, or forestry works, especially from the infestation of a foreign pest.
So far, this invader has not been seen in Canada. However, given all the trucks, cars and trains entering the country it can only be a matter of time until we do discover their presence. Imagine wineries and tree fruit farms unable to supply Canadian consumers with products they feel are always available and one day gone from store shelves.
The U.S. northeast states have experienced infestations of spotted lantern flies. The species likes a wide variety of host plants such as apple, grape, black walnut, butternut, willow and others. So far, it has infested plants in Pennsylvania and down the Eastern states as far as North Carolina. In fact, in Pennsylvania some areas have been designated as quarantined due to the pests in an attempt to quell the spread.
September and early October are when the pests lay their eggs which can amount to anywhere from 30 to 50 eggs each. The eggs are usually lain on logs, trees, rocks or bricks and can even appear on outdoor furniture. Lanternfly eggs are the most likely to be contacted and spread to other areas if they are not recognized and eradicated.
Trees are especially subject to damage and death from the lantern fly. They tap into trees and cause seepage of sap that can kill the tree and enable the fly to lay more eggs leading to an ever-increasing population of devastating flies.
Lantern flies, unfortunately for us, are quite beautiful which makes them attractive to uneducated souls who don’t understand their potential for destruction.
To rid yourself of harmful spotted lantern flies, if you find a group of eggs on a tree or log or even a brick or patio furniture, squash the eggs immediately. Although the flies are beautiful to look at, remember that they are an invasive species that can wreak havoc on trees and crops and even a jurisdiction’s economy.
Doing Our Part
When it comes to trucking, drivers need to be aware of traveling through states and areas that are infested with lantern flies. Drivers must check their rigs top to bottom so they can get rid of these pests before entering Canada. The spotted lanternfly has no natural place here. The pest originated in Asia and cannot be allowed to affect the Canadian economy or the population’s enjoyment of their environment. Drivers, check your trucks for hitchhikers and get rid of any destructive riders whether they are adult flies or eggs. We must all do our part to prevent the threat to Canadian agriculture.
Doing our part includes everyone who traverses the affected eastern states by driving with windows closed and inspecting their cars and trucks for these pests and destroying them.
If you drive through or within any of these states, check your vehicle periodically and destroy any lanternflies or eggs. It’s that serious to protect agricultural products and slow the spread in the U.S.
For more detailed information on how to recognize the spotted lanternfly go to Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) – Fact sheet – Canadian Food Inspection Agency (canada.ca).