11/16/20 – New Potential Invasive Species Found in MI

Spotted lanternfly wings open and closed. Photo courtesy of Richard Gardner, Bugwood.org.

A new invasive species has made its way to Michigan, but the extent of the invasion is still being determined.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is asking freight carriers, warehouse workers and delivery drivers to be on the lookout for invasive spotted lanternfly after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed dead spotted lanternfly insects were found in Michigan in recent weeks.

While the specimens found were dead, these cases demonstrate one of the many ways this insect could find its way into the state. There is no evidence of established populations of spotted lanternfly in Michigan.

First found in the United States in 2014 in southeastern Pennsylvania, spotted lanternfly has been spreading rapidly across the nation. Infestations have been confirmed in Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, West Virginia, Connecticut and Ohio. If introduced, spotted lanternfly could seriously affect Michigan’s agriculture and natural resources. This insect could damage more than 70 varieties of crops and plants including grapes, apples, hops, and hardwood trees.

Spotted lanternfly causes direct damage by sucking sap from host plants and secreting large amounts of a sugar-rich, sticky liquid called honeydew. This honeydew and the resulting black, sooty mold can kill plants and foul surfaces. The honeydew often attracts other pests, particularly hornets, wasps, and ants, affecting outdoor recreation and complicating crop harvests.

MDARD is asking people involved in transporting and handling goods or freight to become familiar with identifying spotted lanternfly adults and egg masses, as both could become attached to vehicles or goods themselves and unintentionally be brought into Michigan.

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 by email at [email protected] or call MDARD’s Customer Service Center, 800-292-3939. If possible, collect a specimen in a container for verification.