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Spotted Lanternfly Eggs Detected in Finger Lakes

Spotted lanternfly adults, eggs, nymph
Spotted lanternfly adult, egg mass, nymph (immature)  Photos from NYS IPM factsheet

by Hans Walter-Peterson

This article reprinted from a November 17 post at the Finger Lakes Grape Program website - TEM

We've all been saying that it was not really a matter of if the spotted lanternfly (SLF) would arrive in New York, but when. Unfortunately, this might be the beginning of 'when'. Last week, we learned that several live and dead adult SLF were found in the Ithaca area, along with several egg masses. You can read the official announcement from Ag & Markets here. Staff from NY Ag & Markets, the Department of Environmental Conservation, and others have been conducting intensive surveys of the area since the discovery, trying to identify any other occurrences of the pest. Work has also started on developing plans for the removal of tree-of-heaven (the most preferred host of SLF), as well as targeted insecticide use. Although tree-of-heaven is the favored host of SLF, removing tree-of-heaven from your property alone won't prevent SLF from showing up as it can move into vineyards from neighboring properties and it can survive on other preferred hosts, besides grapes, including black walnut, butternut, river birch, willow, sumac, red maple, and silver maple.

We're all crossing our fingers that the inspectors will be able to find and destroy all of the egg masses in the area, but it's entirely possible that not all of them will be found. The fact that we have now had our first confirmation of egg cases in the Finger Lakes region means that our vigilance about this pest needs to get "kicked up a notch" (as Emeril Lagasse would say) in the coming months. As most growers know, after tree-of-heaven, grapes are another attractive host for SLF, so the proximity of this pest to our region means that there is an increased risk for them to impact vineyards.

So while work continues to figure out the extent of this recent population of SLF, here are a few things that might be helpful to read about, prepare for, and discuss among your staff over the dormant season.

  • First and foremost, become familiar, or refamiliarize yourself, with what SLF egg masses look like (freezing temperatures will kill the adults but not the eggs). As we move into the winter pruning season, it will be important to keep an eye open as you're walking past barns, end and line posts, fences, etc. where SLF can lay its eggs (which is almost anywhere). The egg masses can look like splotches of mud or dirt, so they can be difficult to see. This YouTube video from the IPM Program gives some good basic information about what to look for, and lots of pictures of what the egg masses look like.
  • Become familiar with the quarantine requirements for traffic coming from areas already with established SLF populations (anywhere outlined in red in the current SLF map below). Be sure to ask vendors, visitors or others who are coming from those areas or who visited there to be sure that they thoroughly inspect their vehicles and loads before they come into New York State.
  • Become familiar with insecticides that are labeled for use on grapes for SLF. As you are making decisions about pest management material purchases this winter, this might be something to take into consideration. The materials that have been approved for use in NY on SLF are already labeled for other pests in grapes, so you may already have one or more of these products on hand. If you tend not to use insecticides in most years, it would still be good to know what the options are in case SLF shows up in your vineyard next year.

The materials with 2(ee) approval (meaning you have to have the 2(ee) label in your possession) in New York State are listed in the attached chart.
Approved Materials for SLF in NY Grapes (pdf; 201KB)

Fact sheets with more information about SLF are available at the New York State IPM program's SLF webpage, https://nysipm.cornell.edu/environment/invasive-species-exotic-pests/spotted-lanternfly/.

Most importantly, be sure that you, your employees and others at the farm know what to do if you believe you have found SLF.

  • Take pictures of the insect or egg masses. If possible, include something for scale such as a coin.
  • Note the location: address, intersecting roads, landmarks or GPS coordinates.
  • Email the information to: spottedlanternfly@agriculture.ny.gov

Additional Resources: