Be on the lookout for this invasive insect that could damage, kill crops in Michigan

Posted at 10:06 AM, Jun 23, 2020

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says to be on the lookout for an invasive insect with the potential to seriously affect Michigan's agriculture and natural resources.

MDARD says spotted lanternfly could damage or kill more than 70 varieties of crops and plants, including grapes, apples, hops and hardwood trees.

To date, spotted lanternfly has not been detected in Michigan, but MDARD says it has been spreading rapidly across the nation.

“Spotted lanternfly could negatively impact our grape industry,” said Robert Miller, invasive species prevention and response specialist for MDARD. “But it also has the potential to damage stone fruits, apples and other crops in Michigan’s fruit belt as well as important timber species statewide.”

Spotted lanternfly egg masses resemble old chewing gum, with a gray, waxy, putty-like coating, MDARD says.. Hatched eggs appear as brownish, seed-like deposits. Spotted lanternfly nymphs are wingless, beetle-like and black with white spots, developing red patches as they mature. Adults are roughly 1 inch long. Their folded wings are gray to brown with black spots. Open wings reveal a yellow and black abdomen and bright red hind wings with black spots transitioning to black and white bands at the edge.

“Prevention and early detection are vital to limiting the spread of spotted lanternfly,” said Miller. “Spotted lanternfly cannot fly long distances, but they lay eggs on nearly any surface, including cars, trailers, firewood and outdoor furniture. Before leaving an area where a quarantine is present, check vehicles, firewood and outdoor equipment for unwanted hitchhikers.”

If you find a spotted lanternfly egg mass, nymph or adult, take one or more photos, make note of the date, time and location of the sighting, and report to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, or phone the MDARD Customer Service Center, 800-292-3939. If possible, collect a specimen in a container for verification.