The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is asking residents of Western New York to be on the lookout for Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), after a population was discovered in the area from Buffalo this week. The SLF is a destructive pest that feeds on more than 70 plant species, including trees of paradise, and plants and crops essential to New York’s agricultural economy, such as grapevines, apple trees, and hops. The invasive was first observed in New York State on Staten Island in August 2020, and since then the population has been reported in all New York boroughs, Long Island, Port Jervis, Sloatsburg, Orangeburg , Ithaca, Binghamton, Middletown, Newburgh, Highland, and now in the Buffalo area.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said: “We are concerned about the large numbers of adult spotted lanternflies that have been found in Buffalo, particularly due to its proximity to the Concord wine region in western New York. SLF can have a devastating impact on vineyards, as we have seen in neighboring states, so we need everyone’s help to be on the lookout for this invasion and report it immediately.
Inspectors from the Department’s Plant Industry Division responded to reports of SLF in a Buffalo residential neighborhood adjacent to an active railroad. By September 9, more than 100 adults had been found. Agriculture and Markets staff will continue to survey the area over the next few days. Although the population is large, the area was surveyed in April 2022 and no egg masses were found, and no old egg masses were found during the current survey.
As investigations in the area are ongoing, the Department is asking for the public’s help in slowing the spread of SLF in this area by immediately reporting any sightings to agriculture.ny.gov/reportSLF.
In addition to the declaration, residents are invited to:
- Take pictures of the insect, egg masses, or infestation you see and, if possible, include something for size, like a coin or ruler.
- If possible, collect the insect. Place in a bag and freeze, or in a jar with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.
- Note the location (address and postal code, intersecting roads, landmarks or GPS coordinates).
Adult SLFs are easy to identify, as shown in the photos below. They are about an inch long and half an inch wide when at rest, with eye-catching wings. Adults are active from July to December and start laying eggs in September. Signs of an SLF infestation may include:
- Sap oozing or oozing from open wounds on tree trunks, which appear damp and give off fermented odors.
- Inch-long egg masses that are brownish-gray, waxy, and mud-like when new. Old egg masses are brown and scaly.
- Massive accumulation of honeydew under the plants, sometimes with formation of black sooty mold.
Although these insects can jump and fly short distances, they are mainly spread by human activity. The SLF can lay its eggs on a number of surfaces, such as vehicles, stone, rusty metal, outdoor furniture, and firewood. Adult SLFs can hitchhike in vehicles, on any outdoor item, or cling to clothing or hats, and be easily transported in and through New York, so that residents are urged to be vigilant.
The public is also encouraged to thoroughly inspect vehicles, luggage and equipment, and all exterior items for egg masses and adult SLFs. If SLF adults are found, residents should remove them and scrape out any egg masses.
Impacts of SLF on New York Agriculture
SLF feeding can stress plants, making them susceptible to disease and attack from other insects. SLF also excretes large amounts of sticky “honeydew”, which attracts sooty molds that interfere with plant photosynthesis, negatively affecting plant growth and fruit yield, negatively impacting agriculture and plant health. forests.
The total estimated economic impact of invasive insects in the United States exceeds $70 billion per year, and if not contained, SLF could impact New York State by at least $300 million. of dollars per year, mainly on the grape and wine industry, which ranks third. in the country in production. SLF also has the potential to significantly impair quality of life and recreational activities due to the honeydew and insect swarms it attracts.
About the SLF and State Efforts to Address Invasive Species
First discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014, SLF has since been found in New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Carolina North and Ohio. Given the proximity of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey infestations, New York State is at high risk for infestation.
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in conjunction with many partner agencies such as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Department of Transportation, the Thruway Authority, and the United States Department of Agriculture, continue to respond to SLF’s presence in New York State. Actions taken include:
- Conduct surveys in high-risk areas across the state;
- Respond to public reports from the SLF;
- Apply the New York State quarantine to goods from other states that have established SLF populations;
- Inspect nursery stock, stone shipments and commercial shipments from quarantine areas;
- Implement a comprehensive education and awareness campaign to educate the public and transport industries to limit the transport of SLF into non-infested areas; and
- Implement statewide egg trapping, handling and scraping efforts.
For more information on the Mottled Lantern, visit https://agriculture.ny.gov/spottedlanternfly.