Ross Tree likes to keep its customers informed about invasive tree insects. Last year, local media outlets featured stories about the Spotted Lanternfly. It is not in Colorado yet, but this insect is creating havoc in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. The Japanese Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer, recent insect transplants, are now notorious in Denver. Let’s hope the Lanternfly does not make its way to Colorado and join their ranks

The Spotted Lanternfly

potential lanternfly distribution map

The sap-sucking Spotted Lanternfly is indigenous to Asia and attacks over seventy woody and non-woody plants, including grapes, hops, fruit, ornamental, and hardwood trees. In 2014, this planthopper made its presence known in the Philadelphia area. The 5280 Magazine is not known for its articles on Entomology, but in August 2018, it published an article titled “This Invasive Insect Has Local Tree Huggers Worried.” Channel 9 News followed up with a story a year later showing trees covered with hundreds if not thousands of these bugs in Pennsylvania. The onslaught is so bad in Philadelphia that the police department asked people not to call the police when the planthopper appears in their yards. Pennsylvanians started writing songs and posting ingenious ways of dispatching this pest on social media.

phily police cartoon

The Spotted Lanternfly bores into trees causing sap oozing, wilting, leaf curling, and dieback. The insects excrete honeydew that grows black sooty mold. Overtime this mold weakens trees. On top of this, yards and neighborhoods with large infestations find these bugs a significant nuisance. The insect lays eggs on vehicles, campers, boats, yard furniture, and farm equipment. With the migration of people from the Eastern United States to Colorado with all their outdoor belongings and vehicles, it is just a matter of time before the Lanternfly arrives in Colorado.

Local Colorado vineyard, fruit and lumber industries could be devastated since there are no native predators to keep this insect in check. Let’s hope the scientists at the Colorado State University and the Colorado Department of Agriculture are looking for ways to control the Spotted Lanternfly before it arrives. The State of Pennsylvania has been dealing with this insect invasion the longest. Click here to visit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Lanternfly webpage.