They are back. The Spotted lantern Came back.
As summer quickly returns to warmer weather in some parts of the United States, officials are warning that rising temperatures could help lantern eggs hatch earlier. Invasive species are known to cause widespread crop and vegetation destruction. And, once again, their range is increasing.
“The numbers are increasing in some areas,” said Brian Ashenauer, senior extension associate for invasive species at Cornell University. “In New York City, for example, we’ll probably see more this year. And they’re expanding up the Hudson Valley. We’re also seeing them in areas as far south as North Carolina. And we’re concerned about their westward. expansion. You know, they can affect crops like grapes. . They’ve killed some of the vineyards in Pennsylvania. And we want to protect, especially in the west, where they can spread.”
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According to the USDA, Pennsylvania was where the Chinese-native lantern made its American debut in 2014. Since then, the department says it has been seen in 13 other states: Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.
And they’re not flying themselves in all those states. Ashenauer told CBS News, people are unwittingly helping the lantern see more of the country.
“I hate to say it, but it’s humanitarian,” Eschenauer said. “So they’re traveling in and out of our vehicles and trains, apparently.”
And the firmness and dull color of their egg masses, which the USDA describes as “mud-like,” help create new infections.
“Their egg masses are laid in the fall. They’re there now, they’re just starting to hatch. But they’re very resilient,” says Aschenauer. “These egg masses can withstand subzero temperatures and if we take something that has an egg mass on it and we don’t notice it, you’ll see one there, it’s not very bright. It’s a light color and then it turns gray at the end of the color. Until. If it’s on something that’s been outside and moved to a new location when they come out in the spring, you could have a new infection.”
And these new infections can have dire consequences for farmers, especially grape growers in vineyards.
“It really affects the grapes. Late in the season these adult spotted lanternflies fly into the vineyard and they’re an insect that feeds on the sap and they can destroy grape stock,” Eschenauer said. “So in grape-growing areas in particular we’re concerned, but wherever it occurs it can be a nuisance, especially in large numbers and on backyard plants.”
What to do if you see a spotted lanternfly or its eggs
Report to your local Department of Agriculture
Scrape the egg mass into a plastic zippered bag filled with hand sanitizer, then zip up the bag and dispose of it properly.
Steel yourself, harden your heart, and chase the adult spotted lanterns until they die.
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But not with as much pizzazz, says the USDA’s website.
“Egg masses of spotted lanternfly are about an inch long and resemble mud stains. If found in an area known to have an SLF population, residents should crush and scrape them. Travelers passing through SLF quarantine areas should thoroughly check their vehicles, trailer , even the clothes they wear to avoid accidentally moving the stained lantern from a quarantine area to a new one.
Eschenauer also says that killing the lantern is the best course of action, but if you’re using traps, you’ll want to take extra steps.
“We certainly don’t want to move them,” Eschenauer said. “If you see them in a local area, it’s a good idea to kill them to prevent them from laying eggs next year. But traps can be very effective and you can catch a lot of things with traps. However, with sticky traps we want to make sure that some of our Covered because spotted lanternflies are attracted to woodpeckers when they fly, and there have been cases where we’ve inadvertently caught birds. So there are some traps. There’s a circle trap. You can find information about that online. And those sticky traps might be fine, but We want to cover them with a kind of curtain.”
“If you find one of these egg masses and you scrape it off, put it in a bag and put some rubbing alcohol in there, it will kill them.” “We certainly don’t want to move the egg masses,” Eschenauer continued.
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Symptoms of a spotted lanternfly infestation include plants that are shedding or weeping and have a musty odor, a sticky liquid or honeydew on the plant and in the soil under the affected plant, and sooty mold on the affected plant.
If you live in a state outside of a spotted lanternfly quarantine area and see a pest, the USDA says you take a photo of it and note the location to report to your state’s Department of Agriculture before killing it.