While the spotted lanternfly hasn’t hit Rockville yet, residents should be on the lookout for this invasive crop- and tree-damaging insect.
Identified by the Maryland Department of Agriculture as a destructive insect, while this plant-hopper damages crops, and feeds on trees, such as grapes, peaches, apples, walnuts, oaks and pines, it rarely kills them. The lantern-fly is mainly a nuisance and congregates on trees, where it produces honeydew, a sticky substance that collects on plants and objects below.
“While they are not known to pose any serious human or animal health concern, the spotted lanternfly is a destructive invasive species that has negatively impacted agriculture operations throughout the Mid-Atlantic region,” MDA Secretary Joe Bartenfelder said in January, announcing the expansion of a spotted-lanternfly quarantine to control the spread in 10 Maryland counties, Montgomery County among them, and Baltimore City.
If the spotted lanternfly is found in its egg-mass stage, scrape the masses, put them in a sealed bag with hand sanitizer or alcohol, and dispose of them. Squash all other stages of the insect when found throughout the year.
Report spotted lantern-fly infestations to the state’s agriculture department at mda.maryland.gov/plants-pests/pages/spotted-lantern-fly.aspx, or see extension.umd.edu/resource/spotted-lanternfly-management-residents for more information on the pest.