Bodies of invasive spotted lanternfly found in Michigan

No evidence of established populations of spotted lanternfly in Michigan

Adult spotted lanterfly's bright wing coloration is hidden when wings are closed. Photo courtesy of Robert Gardner, (MDARD)

LANSING, Mich. – Dead spotted lanternfly insects were found in Michigan in recent weeks, according to The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

MDARD is asking freight carriers, warehouse workers and delivery drivers to be on the lookout for the spotted lanternfly. The incident demonstrates one of the ways the insect could find its way into Michigan. Officials said there is no evidence of an established population of the spotted lanternfly in Michigan.

“Thanks to the collective efforts of MDARD inspectors, alert business owners and USDA, we were able to intercept these shipments. These detections showcase the importance of being on the continual lookout for invasive species,” said Robert Miller, MDARD’s Invasive Species Prevention and Response Specialist. “This a great example of the public and government agencies working together to keep out unwanted pests and protecting our prized natural resources.”

Spotted lanternfly could be next invasive species in Michigan: What to know

Spotted lanternflies go through several phases, first resembling spotted beetles before morphing into their adult form. Photo courtesy of Penn State University College of Agricultural Sciences. (MDARD)

What damage does a spotted lanternfly cause?

The spotted lanternfly sucks sap from host plants and secrets large amounts of a sugar-rich, sticky liquid called honeydew. The honeydew and resulting black, sooty mold can kill plants. The honeydew often attracts hornets, wasps and ants. This can complicate crop harvests.

The lanternfly was first found in the United States in 2014 in southeastern Pennsylvania. Infestations have been confirmed in Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, West Virginia, Connecticut, and Ohio. The insect could damage more than 70 varieties of crops and plants including grapes, apples, hops, and hardwood trees.

What can be done to prevent an infestation?

People involved in transporting and handling goods or freight should become familiar with identifying spotted lanternfly adults and egg masses. Both could become attached to vehicles or the goods that are being transported.

Spotted lanternfly adults are roughly one 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. Egg masses resemble old chewing gum, with a gray, waxy, putty-like coating.

How to report to MDARD

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.

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About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.