Spotted lanternfly was found in Indiana for the first time recently, and this is the farthest west the insect has been found, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
This federally regulated invasive species has a detrimental impact upon plant growth and fruit production, especially in vineyards and orchards,
The species was found in Switzerland County, which is in southeastern Indiana.
A homeowner in Vevay contacted DNR’s Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology with a picture that was taken outside his home of a fourth instar, or developmental stage, larva. DEPP staff surveyed the site and discovered an infestation in the woodlot adjacent to a few homes in the area. The site is within two miles of the Ohio River and the Markland Dam. DEPP and USDA are investigating to determine exactly how large the infestation is and where it could have come from, as well as how to limit the spread and eradicate the population.
Spotted lanternfly is a planthopper that originated in Asia. It was first discovered in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture tried to limit the spread of this pest, but it excels at being a hitchhiker and is often spread unknowingly by humans.
Adult spotted lanternfly has two sets of wings, and the underwing has a very distinct red color with spots on the outer wings. The fourth instar of the insect is bright red with black and white markings.
The egg masses of this invasive insect look like mud, and they can be spread by vehicle transport including recreational vehicles, cargo carriers and freight trains. They can also be spread through trade materials sold in infested areas that are shipped out of state, including nursery stock, outdoor furniture and lumber. Anyone receiving goods from the East Coast should inspect for signs of the insect, especially if the commodity is to be kept outdoors.
Spotted lanternfly prefers to feed on tree of heaven, but it has been found on more than 103 species of plant including walnut, oak, maple and various fruit trees. This insect is often found on grapevines in vineyards. Adult insects have piercing, sucking mouthparts and weaken the plants through feeding on them, which can make it difficult for the plant to survive the winter months. Congregating spotted lanternfly insects produce a sticky substance called “honeydew” in large quantities that over time becomes infested with sooty mold that attracts other pests in the area.
The DNR is asking for all citizens to keep an eye out for spotted lanternfly. The bright color of both the last instars and the adults of the insect should be present at this time of the year.
Anyone that spots signs of the spotted lanternfly should contact DEPP by calling 866-663-9684 or send an email to DEPP@dnr.IN.gov.
For more information, on this or other invasive pests, visit the DNR website.