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State asks residents to watch out for spotted lanternfly, an invasive species that can 'wreak havoc'

Spotted Lanternfly Infestation on Tree.jpeg
Posted at 10:14 AM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 10:14:26-04

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is calling on the public to watch out for the spotted lanternfly — it’s an invasive insect that has the ability to “damage or kill more than 70 varieties of crops and plants.”

MDARD said the insect has not been detected in Michigan, but in November of 2020, dead spotted lanternfly adults were discovered in packing material at two places in Michigan.

The insect was first detected in the U.S. in 2014, according to MDARD, and they say it has been rapidly spreading across northeastern states and have started to encroach on the Midwest.

“Spotted lanternfly may be a colorful insect worthy of an Instagram post, but also is an invasive species with the potential to wreak havoc on trees, plants and other natural resources, resulting in millions of dollars in damages,” said Robert Miller, invasive species prevention and response specialist for MDARD, in a press release. “In addition, it has the potential to impact grapes, stone fruits, apples and other crops in Michigan’s fruit belt as well as important timber species statewide.”

According to MDARD, the spotted lanternfly sucks sap from host plants and secretes a sticky liquid that can result in black sooty mold that can kill plants and foul surfaces.

“Spotted lanternflies cannot fly long distances, but they lay eggs on nearly any surface, including cars, trailers, firewood and outdoor furniture,” said Miller in a press release. “Before leaving an area where this pest is present, check vehicles, firewood and outdoor equipment for unwanted hitchhikers.”

For more information on identifying or reporting, go here.