Do We Have Spotted Lanternflies In Rhode Island?

Spotted lanternflies on a branch

Okay, we hear you. “Why should I care about spotted lanternflies?” you ask.

Spotted lanternflies damage all kinds of plants in your garden and landscape. Plants, such as fruit trees, grape vines and various hardwoods are highly susceptible to spotted lanternfly damage. Impacted trees and plants become weakened when the spotted lantern fly feeds on the sap of those trees and then secretes a honey dew that becomes an aggressively dangerous mold. This becomes harmful to trees; and it attracts other harmful insects.

Beware As the First Spotted Lanternfly Population Is Found In Rhode Island

NBC Network affiliate WJAR is one of the largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies in the country today. Last month, Miranda Nazzaro from their NBC 10 News reported that the spotted lanternfly has a detected population for the first time in Rhode Island, according to the Department of Environmental Management.

The Department of Environmental Management said spotted lanternfly patches were discovered along Route 7 and were later confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture around August 15.

Where Do Spotted Lanternflies Come From?

The arguably beautiful spotted lanternfly is native to Asia. They entered the United States in a shipment of stone all the way back in 2012 and were first spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014. These invasive creatures feast on crops such as apples and grapes, but also has an affinity for native species such as maple, walnut, and willow, according to The Department of Environmental Management.

In Rhode Island, we have about 69,000 acres of agricultural lands with many of those lands at risk of being infested with SLF including vineyards, orchards, berry crops, and nursery stock,” said Senior Environmental Planner Cynthia Kwolek in a news release.

Kwolek continued by saying, “It’s critical that we take the necessary steps to detect and stop the spread of this invasive pest, particularly since it has now been found in our state.”

Rhode Island’s first single lanternfly spotting took place last August. This is the first time a known breeding group has been identified.

How Will I Know If I See a Spotted Lanternfly?

Spotted lanternflies exhibit a spotted patterning, scarlet underwings, yellow markings on their abdomen and tan semi-transparent wings, according to The Department of Environmental Management.

Adult lanternflies span around an inch and remain active from August until the first hard freeze around late October into November, so be on the watch.

The Department of Environmental Management asks Rhode Islanders to report suspected sightings through their report form. If you suspect you see a spotted lanternfly, The Department of Environmental Management asks you take a photo, squash the insect, and report it to them.

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