A non-native insect, the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is a recent arrival in the U.S. & has been found in Cheshire. The CT Agriculture Experiment Station identifies the invasive insect as a sap feeding planthopper. "It has the potential to severely impact the state's agricultural crops, particularly apples, grapes and hops," according to CAES.
Homeowners also need to keep a lookout since the exotic pest also can impact ornamental trees. The Spotted Lanternfly feeds on more than 70 species of plants.
The host tree for the Spotted Lanternfly is another "introduced" and highly invasive species, called the tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima). Tree-of-heaven is common in Cheshire. It looks similar to sumac, but where sumac has serrated (toothed) leaves, tree-of-heaven has smooth leaves. Tree-of-heaven is often found on edges of fields and forests.
Spotted Lanternfly not only damages trees and vines by feeding on the sap, but the insect excretes a sooty black mold that reduces the plant's ability to conduct photosynthesis. CAES also states that reduced yields can be expected if a crop has been attacked by the insect.
Learn more about this insect with CAES’ Associate Agricultural Scientist, Dr. Victoria Smith as she presents an informative Zoom presentation on the Spotted Lanternfly with the Cheshire Public Library on Monday, February 7, at 6:30 p.m.
The presentation is co-hosted by the Coalition for a Sustainable Cheshire and the Friends of the Cheshire Public Library.