Dedham issues Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources invasive species alert

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The following press release was shared by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and is available on their site:

DEDHAM, MA – The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is asking the public to keep an eye out for the invasive pest known as the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) during the spring planting season due to the risk of accidental introduction of egg masses in shipments of trees imported from other states.

MDAR recently received reports that nursery stock from SLF-infested areas may have been sent to growers in Massachusetts. Due to this, anyone who has recently purchased or planted trees or shrubs on their property, especially maples or crabapples, are encouraged to inspect the trunk and branches to ensure there are no clumps of eggs of SLF or hitchhiking nymphs, and report any findings to MDAR. Landscapers and nurseries are also reminded to be on the lookout for this pest..

“The spotted lantern is a difficult pest to control, as it can be very difficult to detect before it becomes established,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “With the potential impact of this pest on grape and hop growers, as well as U-pick orchards and other parts of the agri-tourism industry, we ask anyone with newly planted trees to check for signs of SLF and report it if they find it, so we can limit the spread of this pest in our state.”

In addition to the agricultural impacts it causes, the spotted lantern has the potential to negatively impact outdoor activities due to the swarming behavior of this pest when adults appear in late summer. SLF egg masses are about an inch and a half long and are flat and gray in color, making them difficult to detect, especially on tree bark. For this reason, any SLF may not be noticed until the nymphs hatch in late May or early June. The public is invited to look for small black insects marked with white dots. If grapes or celestial trees are in the area, they will migrate to these plants.

The spotted lantern is a sap-feeding insect that has caused significant impacts on vineyards, orchards, and other agricultural products in states where it has become established. SLF not only harms grapevines, maples, hops, blueberries and more than 100 other host plants, but has been observed to impact outdoor recreation in other states where populations are high and where adult lanterns swarm in large numbers during the mating season. If you see any signs of Mottled Lantern, please report it to MDAR at https://massnrc.org/pests/slf.

This press release was produced by the town of dedham. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.


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