The Illinois Department of Agriculture has confirmed the presence of the invasive spotted lanternfly in the state.
The insect, native to eastern Asia, was first discovered in the U.S. in 2014 and has since spread throughout the eastern U.S. and, more recently, into the Midwest. Indiana, Michigan and Ohio also have recorded confirmed identifications of the pest.
Although the spotted lanternfly does not pose any human or animal health risks, it may affect outdoor activities and the agritourism industry, including orchards, pumpkin patches and vineyards.
Officials did not disclose where the insect was found.
What should I do if I see a spotted lanternfly?
Because of the lanternfly’s ability to move easily on various surfaces and products, early detection and reporting are crucial to limit its spread.
Individuals are encouraged to report any suspected sightings, accompanied by photos for verification. Take a photo and send a detailed email to email@example.com, including when, where and specifics of the location.
After taking a photo, agencies encourage killing any spotted lanternflies.
Why are spotted lanternflies so harmful?
Scott Schirmer, the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Nursery and Northern Field Office section manager, said widespread plant or tree death is not expected because of the spotted lanternfly’s presence. The primary concern is its potential nuisance factor and disruption to outdoor spaces.
Efforts are underway to assess the extent of the infestation and better understand the movement and behavior of the spotted lanternfly in Illinois.
How do I know if I have a spotted lanternfly?
Spotted lanternflies feed on various plants, including the invasive tree of heaven, grapes and maple trees. It produces a sticky substance called honeydew while feeding, which can accumulate on plant surfaces.
Look for plants that ooze or weep and have a fermented odor, buildup of sticky fluid (honeydew) on plants and on the ground underneath infested plants, and sooty mold on infested plants.
How can I identify a spotted lanternfly?
Go to ilpestsurvey.inhs.illinois.edu/pest-information/most-unwanted for a variety of photos to help with identification, or email a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org help determine whether it’s a spotted lanternfly.
For information and resources, visit the Spotted Lanternfly page on the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s website at agr.illinois.gov/insects/pests/spotted-lanternfly.html.