As Master Gardeners we are very concerned about the issues that may occur throughout our communities as well as in our own yards. On this page we hope to pass on some reminders, critical problems, invasive issues, and just plain old every day things that come up that tend to test our patience. We hope you like it and if you would like to see something listed on this page that may be bothering your garden or your neighbors, please send an email to the Webmaster: email@example.com
What in the world is a Spotted Lanternfly and why should we be concerned? For starters, there is not much that can kill it and it has become severely invasive. It has shown itself already in Fredrick County back in 2018 and it is coming our way!
It hitches rides on wood, tents, RV’s, cars, backpacks, you name it and it will try to invade another uninfected area. The only thing good about it is that is does not bite or sting and does not cause structural damage.
Virginia Cooperative Extension has a publication to help you identify the Spotted lanternfly from other look-a-likes. Under the Resource tab you can check out the many pretenders at every stage of growth.
Thank you to Mark Sutphin and Eric Day for the use of their excellent pictures.
This beautiful adult insect originates from China and most likely hitched a ride on some stone. It is destroying fruit trees, maples, grape vines, black walnut, birch and willow trees. Their favorite is the ubiquitous Tree of Heaven. According to the Dept. of Agriculture they excrete a honeydew sugary waste that attracts bees, wasps, and other insects. The waste builds up and can lead to the growth of sooty mold and black colored fungi.
Spotted Lanternfly lay egg masses starting in September and overwinter beginning with a shiny white-gray but turns to a muddy brown-gray. The life stages can overlap and depending on the time of year, multiple stages can be found at the same time.
The eggs hatch in early May and the nymphs are present until late July. Once again they have two stages of growth during this time. The youngest are only about 3/8 inch and are black with white spots. The second stage the measure 7/8 inch and are red with white spots. In late July, they become Adults.
What to do if you see a Spotted Lanternfly?
Virginia Tech suggests you do the following:
- Take a picture if possible.
- Report it to your local Extension Office 540-772-7524.
- STOMP IT! SQUISH IT! KILL IT! Scrape off egg masses and squish them.
- Remove Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) from your property using specific guidelines to prevent it from spreading. https://blueridgeprism.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Ailanthus-factsheet-2021-9-9-FINAL.pdf
- Inspect your vehicles for hitchhiking bugs when passing through areas with heavy infestations. This includes Winchester, Frederick, Clarke, and Warren Counties in Virginia, and much of Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware.