The spotted lanternfly is an invasive sap-feeding planthopper, first discovered in the United States in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 2014. Field observations indicate that the tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima, is an important host plant; however the spotted lanternfly is known to feed on a wide range of hosts including wild and cultivated grapes, stone fruits, willow, and various hardwoods. This species is thought to be native to China, and has spread to other Asian countries. In 2004, it was first detected in Korea, where its populations expanded and it became an economically important pest of grapevines and fruit trees. In Korea, it damaged plants directly by phloem feeding, but also caused indirect damage due to mold that grew on honeydew excretions deposited on the leaves and fruits of host plants. It was recorded utilizing 67 host plant species in Korea, many of which also occur in the U.S. Given the wide range of hosts it feeds upon, the spotted lanternfly poses a serious economic threat to multiple U.S. industries, including viticulture, fruit trees, ornamentals and timber.
Posted on March 3, 2017 by rhallberg