The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources today announced that a small population of invasive spotted lantern has been found in the town of Fitchburg, near where a lantern nymph was reported earlier this summer. Agricultural inspectors are carrying out extensive surveys in the area, but currently the infestation is limited to a single group of three trees. Although MDAR has not been able to determine the origin of the infestation, spotted lanterns are known to leave infested states in cars, trucks and trains, on shipments of commodities, sheds and gazebos, trees and shrubs for landscaping, and many other items that are regularly shipped from states with known infestations.
In the wake of this new discovery, MDAR urges the public to be on the lookout for the pest, especially residents who live or work in the Fitchburg area. Spotted Lanterns can be found on the sides of buildings, in or on vehicles, and on their favorite host plants: tree of the sky, vines, maples, and walnut trees. Anyone who has recently received property or materials from states where SLF is known to have been introduced (including Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia) should also be on the lookout. .
“The spotted lantern fly can have devastating effects on the agricultural industry in Massachusetts, including a number of farms and orchards in this part of the state that we want to protect from this pest,” said the Commissioner of the State. MDAR, John Lebeaux. “Early detection and reporting is the best way to slow the spread of the spotted lantern fly. Members of the public, especially those in the Fitchburg area, have seen this pest, and are urged to report it as soon as possible. “
If residents find anything suspicious, they are encouraged to take a photo or collect the specimen and report the sighting using MDAR’s online report form. Residents should look for both adult insects (large gray bugs, about an inch long, with black spots and red undersides) and egg masses (rectangular masses one inch long, yellowish-brown and covered with a gray waxy coating). Egg masses can be found on any flat surface.
The spotted lantern fly (Lycorma delicatula, “SLF”) is an invasive, sap-feeding insect from Asia that was first found in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania. While the main host plant of this pest is the tree of the sky (Ailanthus altissima), the spotted lantern fly attacks many different trees, shrubs and vines, and has the potential to impact a wide range of agricultural products. , including apples, peaches, grapes / wine, hops / beer, maple syrup and ornamentals. While individual spotted lanterns have been found in several different parts of the state in recent years, this is the first evidence that Massachusetts has a breeding population. A current map showing the towns and villages where SLF has been found can be downloaded from https://massnrc.org/pests/slf.