The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is asking the public to keep an eye out for the invasive pest known as spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) during the spring planting season. There is a risk of egg masses being accidentally brought in on shipments of trees imported from other states.
Who should be on alert?
MDAR recently received reports that nursery stock from SLF-infested areas may have been sent to Massachusetts growers. Anyone who has recently purchased trees or shrubs or had them planted on their property, particularly maple or crabapple trees, is being asked to inspect the trunk and branches to ensure there are no SLF egg masses or any hitchhiking nymphs, and to report any finds to MDAR.
Why is the spotted lantern fly bad?
Spotted lanternfly is a sap-feeding insect that has caused significant impacts to vineyards, orchards, and other agricultural commodities in states where it has become established. SLF not only harms grapevines, maples, hops, blueberries, and over 100 other host plants, but has been observed to impact outdoor recreation in other states where populations are high and adult lanternflies swarm in large numbers during mating season.
How do I identify the spotted lantern fly?
SLF egg masses are about an inch and a half long, and are flat and gray in color, making them difficult to detect, especially on tree bark. Because of this, any SLF may not be noticed until the nymphs hatch at the end of May or the start of June. The public is asked to look for small black insects marked with white dots. If grapes or tree-of-heaven are in the area, they will migrate to those plants.
If you see any signs of spotted lanternfly, please report it to MDAR.