DEM CONDUCTING STATEWIDE SURVEY FOR SPOTTED LANTERNFLY, AN INVASIVE PEST TARGETING PLANTS AND TREES 

Insect Has Been Detected in Connecticut and Massachusetts and Poses a Threat to Rhode Island 

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with the University of Rhode Island (URI) is conducting a statewide survey of local vineyards and areas with large populations of “Tree of Heaven” plants for the spotted lanternfly (SLF), an exotic pest that targets various plants and trees.

 

A tree covered in snow

Description automatically generatedSLF egg masses on birch tree. Photo credit: Emilie SwackhamerNative to China, India and Vietnam, SLF is an invasive plant-hopper that is currently infesting portions of the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The pest has recently been detected in neighboring states and it is anticipated that it may be introduced into Rhode Island within the next few years. The closest and most current finding of SLF was in Greenwich, Connecticut, where officials recently announced the detection of a population of the pest. Single insect findings have occurred in other areas of Connecticut including West Haven in 2020, Southbury in 2019, and Farmington in 2018. Neighboring Massachusetts recently had two findings of dead SLF adults in Norwood and Milford. 

 

To date, SLF has not been detected in Rhode Island. Earlier this year, DEM and URI held a series of public workshops to help municipalities, the grower industry, and residents prepare for and respond to this invasive pest, should it be detected in the state. 

 

“In Rhode Island, more than 800 acres of agricultural lands including vineyards, orchards and berry farms are at risk of being infested with SLF, so it’s critical that we take the necessary steps to detect and stop the spread of this invasive pest should it be found in our state,” said Cynthia Kwolek, senior environmental planner and RI CAPS state survey coordinator in DEM’s Division of Agriculture.

 

SLF is most commonly associated with “Tree of Heaven” (Ailanthus altissima) plants and also feeds on a wide variety of agricultural crops such as grape, apple and hops; and several native species of plants and trees including maple, walnut and willow.  

 

A insect on the ground

Description automatically generatedIn addition to its spotted patterning, the adult SLF’s unique colors feature scarlet underwings, yellow markings on the abdomen, and tan semi-transparent forewings. Adult lanternflies are about an inch long and are active from August until the first hard freeze, which typically occurs from late October into November.  

 

Although SLF can fly distances on its own, these pests are excellent hitch hikers and mainly spread through human movement. Their inconspicuous egg masses can be laid on pallets, vehicles and other goods, so it is important to inspect shipping materials and adhere to travel restrictions when moving through areas that are under quarantine for SLF.  The following tips can help stop the spread of SLF:

 

• Inspect firewood, vehicles, outdoor furniture, and camping gear for egg masses, nymphs, and adults.

• If you visit states with SLF, check all your gear and equipment before leaving and scrape off any egg masses.

 

SLF was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has quickly spread through surrounding states. In Pennsylvania, where the pest has been spreading for over six years, there has been significant yield loss in vineyards and the insect has become a public nuisance. 

 

To learn more about SLF, visit DEM’s Agricultural Pest Alerts website at:

www.dem.ri.gov/spottedlanternfly or the URI website at: https://web.uri.edu/biocontrol/spotted-lanternfly/

 

To report a potential finding, please visit:

www.dem.ri.gov/reportspottedlanternfly

 

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.

 

Remember Bid on the Phone but watch here:  LIVE on O-N TV

The man who runs Instagram is insisting social media can be a positive force in the lives of young people. CEO Adam Mosseri testified in a Senate hearing and said social media companies want kids to remain safe online. Senators argued self-policing by social media giants isn't working.        Jurors in former "Empire" star Jussie Smollett's trial have gone home for the day. They are expected to continue deliberations at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 9:15 a.m. Thursday. Smollett is facing charges after allegedly lying to police about a hate crime in 2019.       Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is suing the House committee that's investigating the January 6th Capitol riots. Along with the committee, Meadows is also suing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The lawsuit comes as the committee has signaled it would go after a criminal contempt referral against Meadows after he refused to sit for a deposition in the investigation into the Capitol riots.       Legendary WWE wrestler Blackjack Lanza is dead at 86. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006. Lanza began his wrestling career in the early 1960s and rose to fame after he teamed up with Blackjack Mulligan. He and Mulligan eventually went on to star in McMahon's World Wide Wrestling Federation in the 1970s.        A woman is dead after a car was found floating near the edge of Niagara Falls. New York authorities say while the car came close to going over the edge, the Coast Guard and their helicopter were able to rescue the driver. However, she was pronounced dead at the scene.        It looks like a copy of Hugh Lofting's "The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle" went on its own voyage. That's because it's been checked out of an Ohio library for the last 34 years. The Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library in Ohio says someone anonymously returned it last month after it was checked out in October of 1987.