Ill. Dept. of Agriculture confirms invasive spotted lanternfly sighting
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Agriculture has confirmed the first detection of the invasive spotted lanternfly in the state of Illinois.
According to a release from the department, after a report of a live adult seen on September 16, officials from the state, federal and local levels coordinated a site visit near the area of the report and identified a moderately populated area of spotted lanternfly on Sept. 18.
Specimens were collected and submitted for identification, and confirmatory results were received on Monday, Sept. 26.
The department did not release the location as to where the spotted lanternfly was detected.
They did say the insect does not present any human or animal health concerns.
“If there is a silver lining associated with spotted lantern fly in Illinois, it is that we have no reason to believe that widespread plant or tree death will result from its presence,” said Ill. Dept. of Agriculture’s Nursery and Northern Field Office Section Manager Scott Schirmer. “This is likely going to be a nuisance pest that interferes with our ability to enjoy outdoor spaces and may have some impact on the agritourism industry, including orchards, pumpkin patches and vineyards.”
The department said the insect feeds on a wide variety of plants, including a strong affinity to the invasive tree of heaven (TOH), grapes (both wild and cultivated) and maple trees.
The spotted lanternfly leaves behind evidence it has fed on a plant or tree.
The insect reportedly produces honeydew, which is a sticky liquid that often coats or accumulates on the foliage and other parts of plants.
According to the release, the spotted lanternfly is an invasive plant hopper native to eastern Asia. First found in the U.S. in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2014, these insects have continued to spread throughout the eastern U.S. and recently into the Midwest.
“Spotted lanternfly has been inching closer to the Midwest and Illinois for close to a decade,” said Ill. Dept. of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II. “We have had a multi-agency team working to prepare for this scenario – including efforts on readiness, informing and educating the industry and the public, as well as monitoring early detection.”
The dept. asks the public to report sightings at email@example.com.
For more information about this invasive insect, click here.
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