Be alert for Spotted Lanternfly | in the fresh air

MONTPELIER – The Vermont Agriculture, Food and Markets Agency is asking the public to watch for invasive pests known as the spotted lantern fly during the spring and summer of their landscapes. This is due to the risk of accidentally bringing egg masses on consignments of nursery stock imported from other states which may have a lantern fly spotted spread.

The VAAFM recently received reports that nursery stock from SLF endemic areas had been imported into Vermont’s neighboring states through the nursery trade. Any Vermonters who have recently purchased or planted trees or shrubs on their property, particularly maple or crabapple trees, are required to inspect the trunk and branches for SLF egg masses or any mobile nymphs, and to report any discoveries to Vermont Invasives at vtinvasives.org/reporting- spotted-lanternfly.

Garden coordinators and plant nurseries are also reminded to stay on top of this pest, report it to the agency and treat nursery stock to prevent the potential spread of this insect.

“We know the SLF is good mobile and can be moved easily from state to state, in nursery stock or on vehicles or just about anything they can ride on,” said entomologist Jodi Rosofsky. “Our best bet to keep the spotted lantern fly out of Vermont is to get extra eyes on the trees. Vigilant citizens have found all the SLF intercepted in the VT.”

In addition to the agricultural effects it causes, SLF has the potential to negatively affect outdoor activities when adults emerge in late summer due to their mulching behavior and production of “honey aphids” that may attract stinging insects.

SLF egg masses are about an inch and a half long and are flat and gray in color, making them difficult to spot, especially on tree bark. For this reason, no SLF may be observed until the nymphs hatch at the end of May or the beginning of June. The audience is asked to look for small black insects with white dots. If grapes or a tree of paradise are in the area, they will migrate to those plants.

Not only does SLF harm grapes, maples, hops, raspberries and more than 100 other host plants, but it has been observed to affect outdoor recreation in other states where populations are high and adult lanterns are crowded out in droves during the mating season.

Any signs of the spotted lanternfly should be reported to vtinvasives.org/reporting-spotted-lanternfly. The agency may contact the reporter to determine if action is necessary to prevent incorporation in Vermont.

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