Things involving nature can change drastically in three years. It was late 2017 when the Department of Environmental  Conservation first announced concerns about the Asian invasive species, the Spotted Lanternfly (SLF). Those worries are now growing for Central New York producers of apple, hops, grapes, and maple goods as the infestation is growing.

SLF were first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014, followed by more reports coming out of New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and Virginia. With New York nearby, the spread is starting to show. In August the pest was found on Staten Island, now adults and egg masses have been seen in the Hudson Valley, Southern Tier, and Ithaca.

The Lanternfly can only fly or hop short distances and relies on hitching rides on vehicles, firewood, outdoor furniture, stone, or other items, which can be inadvertently transported to new areas. If you're traveling or bringing outdoor products from any of the areas reporting SLF, the DEC asks you to check vehicles, luggage, trailers, and any flat surface for the pest or its eggs.

Freezing temperatures will kill the adults, but they have spent the fall laying eggs for future generations. The DEC shared photos and descriptions of what to look for:

  • Sap oozing or weeping from open wounds on tree trunks, which appear wet and give off fermented odors.
  • One-inch-long egg masses that are brownish-gray, waxy, and mud-like when new. Old egg masses are brown and scaly.
  • Massive honeydew build-up under plants, sometimes with black sooty mold developing.

If you have found something suspicious, take a photo, collect a sample and place it in a jar with hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol and fill out this form.  Read more about the SLF.

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