Spotted Lanternfly: A Major Threat To Our Vineyards and Farms

spotted lanternfly vector
Tree of heaven - Latin name - Ailanthus altissima

The Spotted Lanternfly is making its way east, and it promises to leave a path of destruction as it does.

spotted lanternfly
Hundreds of invasive spotted lanternflies (Lycorma delicatula) covering the trunk of their host tree, the Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

The Spotted Lanternfly in Patchogue

This nymph was ‘spotted’ on a Tree of Heaven. This Facebook post has gathered nearly 100 comments so far, but no one cited the clear connection between the tree and the fly.

The Spotted Lanternfly Loves Tree of Heaven

For The Spotted Lanternfly, The Tree of Heaven is home cooking. Both are from China. The tree has been here over a hundred years, but is spreading explosively now along our roadways, rail lines and bird flyways.
This pdf on the Tree of Heaven / Lanterfly connection from Washington State is very informative. They predict that the Spotted Lanternfly will hit California’s vineyards by 2033.

While the New York DEC knows all about The Spotted Lanternfly and its link to The Tree of Heaven, the general public, and most of our public officials are unaware of this connection, or even just how destructive this pest is to local nature and to our farms and vineyards. Suffolk County is one of the top agricultural counties in the state, and it is in the crosshairs now. There are 57 vineyards in Suffolk. Where is the sense of urgency?

The Spotted Lanternfly — Killing It With Milkweed?

Pennsylvania has 357 vineyards, and all are under threat from The Spotted Lanternfly. They are more or less accepting that they are now there to stay.

HOWEVER: It turns out that common milkweed, if planted around the vineyard, can help defend our vineyards because they’ve discovered its pollen is poisonous to the spotted lanternfly. Hope?

If you see one of these buggers, drop us a line. If you see a Tree of Heaven, strip the bark all the way around at the base of the tree. You will still have to deal with the roots, but first cut off the spotted lanternfly’s food supply. Pull out the sucker growth and starve the roots over 1-2 growing seasons. They come out east if you check back once a month or so, not “you still have to deal with the roots.”


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *