Speckled lanterns warn the region’s vineyards and orchards | Local News


“There’s going to be an eradication effort, but it’s a breeding population where it’s been found,” Downing said. “So eradication is unlikely, but it will be attempted. “

If people find the insect, they are asked to kill it, take a picture and contact the extension office at albemarle.ext.vt.edu/Spotted_LanternFly.

They are also asked to scrape or crush egg masses, which are about 1 to 1.5 inches long, grayish-brown in color and covered with a waxy gray coating. The adults lay their eggs in the fall. The eggs then hatch in spring and early summer and undergo four larval stages before adults begin to appear in July, becoming abundant in August.

Spotted lantern adults and nymphs are depicted on a sky tree plant. Hundreds of insects congregate on trees, secreting a sugary substance that causes sooty mold to form on branches, outdoor furniture and patios. The mold gives off a vinegar smell and can make the area look like it has been burnt by fire.


The lantern fly can lay its eggs on rail cars, vehicles, wooden pallets, and even stone, allowing it to spread more easily. They are particularly attracted to the tree of the sky, or Ailanthus altissima, an invasive plant species very present in Virginia.

The Albemarle Extension Office has been training volunteers and monitoring spotted flies at various sites in the county since April 2020.

Stephen Barnard, president of the Monticello Wine Route, said they are currently focusing on monitoring and showing wineries what they look like and how to identify the insect.

“Right now it’s just a matter of trying to get as much information as possible, trying to identify it if we see it, and then contacting people who maybe know a little more and can help us, ”he said.


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