This Insect Could Destroy California’s Wine Industry and Other Major Crops | STAR 94.1

An invasive insect that could seriously impact California’s wine industry could arrive in the state by 2027.

According to Fox 5 San Diego, a new study from North Carolina State University shows that the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) could reach California in five years.

The insect comes from China and has reached 11 US states since its discovery in Pennsylvania in 2014.

This is a big concern for grape growers and could lead to billions of dollars in losses in the agricultural sector.

In addition to yawns, the spotted lanternfly can affect almonds, cherries, peaches, and pines among other tree species.

The insect kills plants by feeding on them and leaving behind a residue called “honeydew” which causes mold to grow.

To read the full study, click here.

From the Ministry of Agriculture: The pest damages plants as it sucks sap from branches, stems and tree trunks. Repeated feedings leave the bark of the tree with dark scars. The Mottled Lantern also excretes a sticky liquid, which promotes mold growth and further weakens plants and puts our agriculture and forests at risk. Native to Asia, the spotted lantern has no natural enemies in North America. it is free to multiply and ravage orchards, vineyards and woods. The invasive insect was first detected in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014, and has now spread to several states, by people accidentally moving infested material or objects containing egg masses. Most states are at risk from the pest. The USDA and our state and local partners are working hard to stop the spread of this invasive pest. Look for signs of a spotted lanternfly. Inspect your trees and plants for young spotted lantern flies, adults, and egg masses. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

Adult Mottled Lanterns are about 1 inch long and half an inch wide, and they have large, visually striking wings. Their forewings are light brown with black spots in front and a mottled stripe behind. Their hindwings are scarlet with black spots in front and white and black bars on the back. Their abdomen is yellow barred with black. Nymphs in their early stages of development appear black with white spots and transition to a red phase before becoming adults. Egg masses are yellowish-brown in color, covered with a gray, waxy coating before hatching. Look for nymphs, adults and eggs on the trees. The Tree of Heaven is the preferred tree. The Mottled Lantern lays its eggs on a variety of smooth surfaces. Look for egg masses (which are off-white to gray, textured spots) on tree bark, vehicles, buildings, and outdoor objects.

Find it, report it!

Contact your state department of agriculture or extension specialist near you to report signs of spotted lanternfly. If possible, take a photo or capture the insect in alcohol.

Visit the United States Department of Agriculture to learn more about spotted lanterns.

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