Sep 30, 2022Dozens of Congressional leaders ask for action on spotted lanternfly
More than 40 members of Congress are calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take “immediate steps” to eradicate the spread of spotted lanternfly (SLF) – which was recently discovered for the first time in Michigan.
The lawmakers shared their concerns in a recent letter, which includes bipartisan support from members of Michigan’s delegation, highlighting the rapid spread of the invasive insect and detailing the devastation the plant hoppers have already caused in places like Pennsylvania.
“In Pennsylvania alone, an economic impact study estimated that without targeted efforts, the SLF could cost the state $324 million annually and more than 2,800 jobs,” according to the letter.
While the lawmakers expressed appreciation for USDA’s efforts in Pennsylvania, they wrote that greater national effort is urgently needed to protect the nation’s agriculture from SLF.
The colorful pest can cause damage to more than 70 varieties of crops and plants and are especially concerning for nursery operations and fruit growers.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development confirmed a small population of SLF was detected in Oakland County in early August.
Grapes, apples, forest operations, and Christmas tree growers would sustain the heaviest economic losses if the insects were to spread in Michigan.
“We urge you to take immediate steps to allocate increased funding and resources toward national and state efforts to eradicate the spread of SLF,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Additionally, we recommend that the USDA increase outreach efforts to those states with confirmed infestations, as well as neighboring at-risk states, to ensure state and local governments have the support and information needed to track and mitigate the spread of the SLF.”
From late summer to the first hard frost, SLF are in their adult stage and easiest to identify. Adults are roughly one inch long. Their folded wings are gray to brown with black spots. Open wings reveal a yellow and black abdomen and bright red hind wings with black spots transitioning to black and white bands at the edge.
For additional information on identifying or reporting SLF, visit Michigan.gov/SpottedLanternfly.
PHOTO: An adult spotted lanternfly specimen. Photo: Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org