The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) needs help in keeping an eye out for the spotted lanternfly (SLF), an invasive insect that can cause significant damage to some plants and crops. The insect was spotted in Mingo Junction, Jefferson County, Ohio in 2020. There have also been sightings of it in Pennsylvania and Indiana.
SLF is a great concern to the grape and wine industry. The insect is fond of grape and fruit trees, hops, blueberry, oak, pine, poplar, and walnut. Adult SLF mainly feed on grapevines and tree of heaven, while nymphs feed on a wide range of hosts. Both adults and nymphs feed on stems and leaves, causing sap bleeding and reduced photosynthesis, which can eventually kill the plant.
Now through November is the best time to identify the SLF because it is in its most recognizable stages as a nymph and a moth. After hatching in the late spring, the SLF goes through four nymph stages. By midsummer, the nymph SLF can be identified by its red body, roughly a half-inch in size, with black stripes and white dots. During the late summer until roughly November, the SLF is in the adult moth stage. These adults are larger, roughly one inch in size, with black bodies and brightly colored wings.
Those who believe they have seen an SLF in the area can easily report a suspected infestation by going to ODA’s Spotted Lanternfly Information Page and filling out a suspected infestation report or call the Plant Pest Control Division at 614-728-6400.
ODA has partnered with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio State University and the Ohio Grape Industries Committee to find the SLF in Ohio as soon as possible. The four organizations are working together to do ground and aerial searches, trappings and outreach.
For more information about the spotted lanternfly and what can be done to help, please visit https://agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/divisions/plant-health/invasive-pests/slf.