It sure looks harmless enough. It is pretty enough to be on the cover of a magazine or the home page of a web site.  But the Spotted Lanternfly is as dangerous as it is easy to look at. State and federal scientists have been warning us for a couple of years that it might happen and have been asking people to be on the lookout. Especially those in the agriculture industry, and truckers and warehouse workers.

The Lanternfly can easily grab on to a train or a truck and hitch a ride. That how scientists believe it has made such a quick advance across the upper Midwest.  Now the Spotted Lanternfly is confirmed to have crossed the border into Michigan. The best part is scientists have not found evidence of living colonies. But finding dead ones in the state is close enough to raise the alarm another notch. Spotted Lanternflies pose no direct danger to people or critters. But they can devastate plants and trees.  They poke plants and suck their juices and sap out killing the plant.  Their egg masses are messy blobs that look like old worn-out chewing gum. They have a waxy coating that sticks to just about anything.

Maybe the worst part is while they eat, they secrete a sticky substance scientists call “honeydew”. It’s anything but that.  It’s a sticky sweet (don’t taste it to find out) ooze that ends up creating sooty dark mold that will kill plants and is just plain nasty. And then it attracts lots of other bugs that end up attacking what’s left of the plant it was left on. Bad combination for the plant life. And that includes a long list of hardwood and fruit-bearing trees that populate Michigan forests and commercial orchards.

If you find a Spotted Lanternfly or maybe evidence of one or more, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development would like to hear from you. Even better if you can get photos or collect physical samples to send to the Department. You can contact the department by email at MDA-Info@Michigan.gov , or call MDARD’s Customer Service Center at 800-292-3939. For additional information on identifying or reporting spotted lanternfly, visit Michigan.gov/SpottedLanternfly.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app