Dappled Lanterns Could Impact Valley Vineyards

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – A quarantine of the spotted lanternfly has been put in place across the valley.

Insects can be harmful to agriculture, especially vineyards.

Vineyards and grape production are our crop of greatest concern, the spotted lantern fly will feed on grapes throughout the growing season,” said Mark Sutphin, Virginia Cooperative Extension’s horticultural extension agent for northern the Shenandoah Valley.

There are many vineyards in the valley and these insects can pose a threat to crops all year round.

“They drink the sap or phloem of the host plant and in the vineyard situation this can stress the vine, reduce yield, weaken the vine and reduce winter hardiness,” Sutphin said.

Sutphin said insects excrete a waste product called honeydew on which sooty mold, a fungus, can grow.

“In the vineyard, it can coat the leaves of the vines, lower the canopies and further reduce photosynthesis,” Sutphin said.

Both Bluestone Vineyard and Cross Keys Vineyard say they haven’t seen Dappled Lanterns on their vines yet, but they’re ready if they do.

Bluestone Vineyard’s Lee Hartman said the hardest part about Mottled Lanterns is that they look different every season, so you need to know the different versions to look for.

Experts say that once spotted, the population cannot be completely eradicated, just controlled.

“They will re-infest from the surrounding wood line or fence line or properties adjacent to the vineyard and continue to re-infest for it to become this repeated act that needs to happen,” Sutphin said.

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