The New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets (AGM), Environmental Conservation (DEC), and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) confirmed that Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), an invasive pest from Asia, has been found on Staten Island.
Several live, adult insects were discovered by OPRHP staff in Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve. SLF is a destructive pest that feeds on more than 70 plant species, including tree-of-heaven, and plants and crops that are critical to New York’s agricultural economy, such as maple trees, apple trees, grapevine, and hops.
AGM urges New Yorkers to report potential sightings using the web reporting tool found here: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/a08d60f6522043f5bd04229e00acdd63
SLF feedings can stress plants, making them vulnerable to disease and attacks from other insects. SLF also excretes large amounts of sticky "honeydew," which attracts sooty molds that interfere with plant photosynthesis, negatively affecting the growth and fruit yield of plants, and impacting forest health.
SLF also has the potential to significantly hinder quality of life and recreational activities due to the honeydew and the swarms of insects it attracts.
First discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014, SLF has since been found in New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and Virginia. Given the proximity to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey infestations, New York State is at high risk for infestation.
While these insects can jump and fly short distances, they spread primarily through human activity. SLF can lay their eggs on any number of surfaces, such as vehicles, stone, rusty metal, outdoor furniture, and firewood.
Adult SLF can hitch rides in vehicles, on any outdoor item, or cling to clothing or hats, and be easily transported into and throughout New York.
The public is encouraged to thoroughly inspect vehicles, luggage and gear, and all outdoor items for egg masses and adult SLF before leaving areas with SLF, particularly in the counties of states in the quarantine area—Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and Virginia. If SLF adults are found, residents should remove them and scrape off all egg masses.
Residents can also help by allowing surveyors access to properties where SLF may be present. Surveyors will be uniformed and will always provide identification.
Adult SLF are active from July to December. They are approximately one-inch long and half an inch wide at rest, with eye-catching wings. Adults begin laying eggs in September. Signs of an SLF infestation may include:
- Sap oozing or weeping from open wounds on tree trunks, which appear wet and give off fermented odors.
- One-inch-long egg masses that are brownish-gray, waxy and mud-like when new. Old egg masses are brown and scaly.
- Massive honeydew build-up under plants, sometimes with black sooty mold developing. ■