Spotted Lanternfly Is A Threat to Grapes, Wine Production in Michigan
Listen, I'm a bit of a pacifist, even when it comes to animals and bugs. Yeah, I'll smack a mosquito, fly, or spider if they're up in my space. But for the most part, I'll let them be if they're just doing their thing.
That being said, if something isn't where it's supposed to be, and it's a threat to my area... then hand me that bug zapper!
Michigan has a new invasive species of insect, and it's actually kinda pretty. But don't let looks fool you. The spotted lanternfly is NOT our friend, and needs to "get got!"
Last week, they were found in Oakland County for the first time, after years of being spotted in the northeast. New York and New Jersey in particular have a hefty problem with the bug.
Scientists discovered several egg masses in the Pontiac area, and aren't sure where they might have come from.
The lanternfly is actually native to eastern Asia, and was fist found in the U.S. in 2014, when scientists found a population in southeast Pennsylvania. Since then, it has spread rapidly across the upper Midwest and New England.
"Spotted lanternfly has been moving closer to the state over the last few years. MDARD, along with our state, local and federal partners, have been working tirelessly to inform and educate growers and the public about this highly invasive insect." - Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD)
The biggest issue the bugs present in Michigan is their impact on the grape industry... and that means it could affect our WINE CROPS!!! Spotted Lanternflies feed on a wide range of plants, which includes black walnut, river birch, willow, sumac, red maple, and grape leaves.
The bugs will also suck the sap out of a tree's vascular system, and excrete something called "honeydew." (No, not the melon... though that visual is pretty funny.) That sticky liquid will then collect on the ground, then grows sooty mold, which can discolor and kill plants.
The Spotted lanternfly isn't the only invasive insect species to make its way into Michigan as of late. The emerald ash borer has been in Michigan for a few years now, too. Unlike the lanternfly, this beetle can destroy trees. The lanternfly can't cause permanent damage to trees, but can have a significant impact on fruit crops.