Lousy Lanternflies Are Lurking Closer to Lincoln!

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I had hoped that the hordes of spotted lanternflies would stay up in Pennsylvania where they entered the U.S., and that Penn State University would find some magic way to do away with them, or at least drive them off of the face of North America forever. Well…that didn’t happen.

After working their way down from Pennsylvania, tree by tree, since coming in from China as egg cases on some cut stone (it is believed), the lanternflies have made it to Carroll County, VA, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. That is just about 80 miles from Lincolnton, just north of Surry County, NC. Not good!

These nasty little troublemakers are real problems for landscaping, some crops, and overall enjoyment of the outdoors. They like to suck the sugary liquid contents out of plants, but then they use it very inefficiently. They drink it in and then pass it (“honeydew”) out the other end in amazing quantities, still packed with sticky sugars. Reports from Pennsylvania say that if you stand under a tree infested with these things, you would think that you were standing in the RAIN as the honeydew falls on you! That is pretty gross!

An infestation of spotted lanternflies is an incredible nuisance, can seriously harm plants, and can really make an otherwise wonderful outdoor event less enjoyable. Furthermore, the spotted lanternfly can lay eggs on any flat surface, including vehicles. Therefore, you should take a look for the little egg masses (see the image) anytime you drive back from Prince William, Shenandoah, Page counties in VA, the cities of Lynchburg and Winchester, and the quarantined Frederick, Clarke, and Warren counties in VA. Also, the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia are now infested, and so you need to be careful returning from those states too. Keep an eye out, and be ready to take a sample insect or a photo of one and get it to the Lincoln County Cooperative Extension office. You can e-mail tldyson2@ncsu.edu with photos, or bring a sample insect in to our office at 115 W. Main St. Lincolnton, NC. It is NO bother for us to check and see if you have actually found one of these nasty pests.

We will get the word to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and NC State University immediately if we determine that you have found a Spotted Lanternfly! Then the battle begins.

Tom Dyson

Lincoln County Cooperative Extension