Dec 14, 2017
New York state confirms finding of spotted lanternfly

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has confirmed that the spotted lanternfly invasive insect has been found for the first time in New York state. The insect, which has also been discovered in Pennsylvania and Delaware, is a potential threat to several important agricultural crops in New York, including grapes, apples, hops and forest products. The department is urging communities across the State to help prevent the spread of spotted lanternfly by being vigilant and reporting any suspected findings.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “If left unchecked, the spotted lanternfly can wreak havoc on some of our state’s largest and economically important crops. The department is increasing outreach to these industries and its inspections. We also need the help of the community to keep a watchful eye out for the spotted lanternfly. Early detection and continued survey is the key to eradiating this harmful pest and protecting against damage to our trees and crops.”

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Invasive insects like the spotted lanternfly threaten New York’s valuable natural resources. It’s critically important that we raise awareness and develop innovative solutions to control and limit the spread of these invasive pests. Governor (Mario) Cuomo increased funding for invasive species control to $13 million through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund in this year’s budget to strengthen prevention and eradication measures that will protect the environment and our economy. We urge communities across the state to take action to learn more about these important programs and to immediately report any suspected detections of invasive species in their area.”

The department confirmed the invasive insect as spotted lanternfly in November after employees at a facility in Delaware County reported the finding. It is thought to have arrived in New York on an interstate shipment. The single specimen was dead when it was discovered. The incident serves as an important reminder that invasive species can be transported to new locations in various ways.

The spotted lanternfly, which is native to Asia, was first detected in Bern County, Pennsylvania in 2014. Currently, 13 counties in Pennsylvania are under quarantine. The state of Delaware recently confirmed the finding of the insect. The pest targets ailanthus trees, in particular, and attacks a wide variety of crops, including grapes, hops and apples, which are vital to New York’s agricultural industry. It causes harm by sucking sap from plant stems and leaves.

The department is coordinating with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Cornell Cooperative Extension and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to notify producers whose crops are most susceptible to spotted lanternfly. The department’s Division of Plant Industry is also increasing proactive inspections by visiting facilities, such as warehouses, trucking companies and distribution centers, that receive shipments from outside the state.

Communities are being asked to report any findings of spotted lanternfly to the Division of Plant Industry at (800) 554-4501 or [email protected], or to a local Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) county office.   The insect is easy to identify with distinct markings.  Photos are available here. The department is also asking for residents to take photos of the insect if possible when they find them.

NYS Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program Director, Jennifer Grant, said, “The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program at Cornell, along with our partners at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, will help growers and homeowners deal with the spotted lanternfly in low-risk ways. No one wants new invasive pests to establish in New York, so it’s important for the experts to respond quickly. We depend on reporting from the public to guide our response.”

For more information on the spotted lanternfly, please visit the USDA’s fact sheet, here.

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