The Illinois Department of Agriculture has confirmed the first detection of spotted lanternfly (Lycorma deliculata) in Illinois.
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Following a report of a live adult on September 16, state, federal, and local officials coordinated a site visit near the area of the report and identified a moderately populated area of spotted lanternfly (SLF) on September 18.
Specimens were collected and submitted for identification, and confirmatory results were received on September 26. The spotted lanternfly does not present any human or animal health concerns.
"If there is a silver lining associated with spotted lantern fly in Illinois, it is that we have no reason to believe that widespread plant or tree death will result from its presence," said Scott Schirmer, Illinois Department of Agriculture's Nursery and Northern Field Office Section Manager.
"This is likely going to be a nuisance pest that interferes with our ability to enjoy outdoor spaces and may have some impact on the agritourism industry, including orchards, pumpkin patches, and vineyards."
"Spotted lanternfly has been inching closer to the Midwest and Illinois for close to a decade," said Jerry Costello II, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director.
"We have had a multi-agency team working to prepare for this scenario - including efforts on readiness, informing and educating the industry and the public, as well as monitoring early detection,"
Spotted lanternfly is an invasive plant hopper native to eastern Asia. First found in the U.S. in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2014, SLF has continued to spread throughout the eastern U.S. and recently into the Midwest.
Confirmed identifications of SLF have been recorded in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, in addition to some eastern and southeastern states.
SLF feeds on a wide variety of plants, including a strong affinity to the invasive tree of heaven (TOH), grapes (both wild and cultivated), and maple trees.
These plants should be targeted for any monitoring activities. When feeding, SLF produces honeydew which is a sticky liquid that often coats or accumulates on the foliage and other parts of plants.
SLF is believed to move easily on wood surfaces and products, vehicles such as trains, outdoor articles, and more - making it a challenging pest to contain and anticipate. Prevention and early detection are vital to limiting its ability to move and intrude upon new areas.
Persons are highly encouraged to report any believed sightings of SLF to firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos are necessary to verify a report and to aid in identification. ■