ODA on lookout for fly causing damage to plants, crops


(WKBN) – The Ohio Department of Agriculture wants to know if you’ve seen the spotted lanternfly anywhere in the state.

The insect can cause damage to plants and crops, and it is fond of grape and fruit trees, as well as blueberry.

Both adults and nymphs feed on stems and leaves, causing sap bleeding and reduced photosynthesis, which can eventually kill the plant.

It hatches in late spring and goes through four nymph stages. By midsummer, the nymph spotted lanternfly can be identified by its red body, roughly a half-inch in size, with black stripes and white dots.

The best time to identify it is through November because it’s in its most recognizable stages, with black bodies and brightly colored wings.

It was seen last year in Jefferson County, which touches the southern border of Columbiana County, and there’s concern it could find a path to more places in Ohio along the railroad tracks.

“It’s host tree in Asia is the Ailanthus tree, tree of heaven. A lot of people call that a tree of heaven. It’s an invasive tree in our area, and it grows a lot along those railroad tracks, so we have volunteer naturalists out scouting, looking at those trees and checking those trees to see if they happen to find any of those insects,” said Eric Barrett, extension educator.

Four Ohio agencies are working together to search for the spotted lanternfly and do trappings and outreach.

If you believe you have seen a spotted lanternfly in your area, you can report a suspected infestation by going to ODA’s Spotted Lanternfly Information Page and filling out a report.

You can also call the Plant Pest Control Division at 614-728-6400.

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