Ohio needs help looking for spotted lanternfly

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Spotted lanternfly
An adult spotted lanternfly with its wings closed. At about 1 inch long, they are found July to December. Photo credit: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Agriculture needs help in keeping an eye out for the spotted lanternfly. 

The insect was spotted in Mingo Junction, Jefferson County, Ohio in 2020. There have also been sightings of it in Pennsylvania and Indiana. 

Spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect that can cause significant damage to some plants and crops, is a great concern to the grape and wine industry. The insect is fond of grape and fruit trees, hops, blueberry, oak, pine, poplar and walnut. Adult lanternflies mainly feed on grapevines and tree of heaven, while nymphs feed on a wide range of hosts. Both adults and nymphs feed on stems and leaves, causing sap bleeding and reduced photosynthesis, which can eventually kill the plant

Now through November is the best time to identify the spotted lanternfly because it is in its most recognizable stages as a nymph and a moth. After hatching in the late spring, the SLF goes through four nymph stages. By midsummer, the nymph lanternfly can be identified by its red body, roughly a half-inch in size, with black stripes and white dots. 

During the late summer until roughly November, the spotted lanternfly is in the adult moth stage. These adults are larger, roughly one inch in size, with black bodies and brightly colored wings. 

Spotted lanternfly sightings can be reported to ODA’s Spotted Lanternfly information page online at https://agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/divisions/plant-health/invasive-pests/slf. You can also call the Plant Pest Control Division at 614-728-6400. 

ODA partnered with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio State University and the Ohio Grape Industries Committee to find the spotted lanternfly in Ohio as soon as possible. The four organizations are working together to do ground and aerial searches, trappings and outreach.

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