Invasive bug found in Michigan worries local vineyards
A relatively new invasive insect has made its way to Michigan, raising concerns for local vineyards.
The Spotted Lanternfly was first spotted in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says data shows it has had a big impact on crops, especially The vineyards.
Mike Philip, director of the Pesticides and Pest Management Division at MDARD, says the insect was spotted in the Pontiac just over a week ago.
The invasive insect has a straw-like mouth that punctures a plant’s stem or branch and sucks the sap, leaving mold and eventually killing the plant. The lantern feeds on almost any plant, but one of its favorites is grapes, which worries a local cultivation consultant.
“It’s a concern on many different levels. We don’t want diseases and viruses to spread. We also don’t want to lose the yield and the harvest,” says Mike Formisano.
Marcel Lenz, owner of Leelanau Wine Cellars, says he expects the insect to travel to northern Michigan. Lenz says that while there is some concern, they have experienced it before with other invasive insects and are confident they will be able to handle it.
“When a pest arrives, there is always a fear that it could cause damage, especially economic damage. It will be one more challenge, but I intend to overcome it. And I think we’ll be able to handle it,” Lenz said.
MDARD says there’s no reason to worry yet, but says we’ll have to wait and see.
“The long-term prognosis remains to be seen. It’s only been known for a little over a week that this insect was there, but we’re optimistic that this infestation is somehow under control,” says Philip.
MDARD says if you see a Mottled Lantern they suggest killing it, taking a photo and posting it on their website.