September 19, 2023

State Department of Agriculture wants Ohioans help find spotted lanterns

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  • (Ohio Department of Agriculture)
  • Spotted lanterns have been reported in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and several other states near the east coast.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Agriculture would like the help of nature enthusiasts or anyone else who can help eradicate an invasive insect that can cause significant damage to plants and crops.

The spotted lantern fly, a leafhopper native to Asia, was discovered in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. In Ohio, it was first spotted in Jefferson County last fall.

The Spotted Lantern feeds on hops, grapes, and fruit trees, as well as oak, pine, poplar, and walnut.

David Adkins, agricultural inspection manager for the plant pest control section of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, asked people to report sightings of lanterns, with a photo if possible and the location exact observation.

“We’re relying on the public to help us out, a little bit, on the reports,” Adkins admitted. “Because we don’t have a trap or decoy that really works to attract the spotted lantern so that we can do a population inventory. ”

Adkins noted that the lantern was found near the train tracks at Mingo Junction, possibly brought by a train carrying garbage to a Jefferson County landfill from the New York metro area. Sightings can be reported to the state’s Plant Pest Management Division at 614-728-6400.

The Department of Agriculture works with the State Department of Natural Resources, Ohio State University, the Ohio Grape Industries Committee, and others to conduct ground and aerial research, set up traps, and conduct survey activities. sensitization.

Adkins pointed out that the main concern was how the spotted lantern would affect the state’s vineyards.

“Our biggest concern right now is in the grape industry and the orchard industry,” Adkins explained. “We know very well that they definitely attack the grapes, killed orchards in Pennsylvania. But they also made the crop unusable, because of the honeydew they deposit on the fruit.”

From late summer to November, lanterns are easier to spot as they are in the adult moth stage.

Adkins said the department is also conducting a series of treatments on lantern nymphs and adults. This winter, they’ll treat any egg masses they find with horticultural oil, which kills insects but doesn’t harm wildlife.