An invasive insect from Asia has been destroying crops, particularly fruit trees, in Pennsylvania for several years now. The insects are inching closer to the Ohio border and that is cause for concern, particularly for fruit farmers.
The spotted lanternfly is highly destructive, feeding on plant sap and secreting large amounts of honeydew. Host plants are harmed by being fed on and by the secretions spotted lanternflies leave behind: honeydew promotes the growth of sooty mold, which is extremely damaging, especially to fruit crops. These secretions can also attract other pests to feed on a host plant. While the tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus trees) is the preferred host, this sucking insect has been found sucking juices from hops, soybeans and some field grains as well. The insect also has an affinity for grapes.
Members are encouraged to contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture Plant Pest Control Division by phone at 614-728-6400 or by email if a suspected spotted lanternfly is detected.