In February of 2021, I wrote an article about the spotted lanternfly. It is an invasive pest that has been creating problems for our friends across the Northeast. The adult spotted lanternfly is beautiful but deadly. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to control. It is known to feed on the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), but it feeds on many other plants including grapes and fruit trees as well. It may also appear on black walnut, maples and yellow-poplar.
Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) has confirmed detection of the spotted lanternfly in Davidson County (Nashville). On October 3rd, I received a call stating that a spotted lanternfly was found in a truck that was delivering shrubs from the northeast to Shelby County. I immediately reached out to Shelby County Plant Inspector Leslie Hollandsworth. She confirmed that an adult spotted lanternfly was found, properly identified and destroyed.
The spotted lanternfly can spread over great distances when people and vehicles move infested material containing egg masses. The adults emerge in late summer and early fall. Infested trees and plants may exhibit wilting, defoliation, dieback, yield loss, and death. Eggs are deposited on the trunks of host plants and other flat surfaces.
If you happen to see a spotted lanternfly or an egg mass, please report it immediately to the Shelby County Extension Office at 901-752-1207. I would ask that you take a picture of it for a professional identification. It is vital that you then kill the insect and destroy the egg masses. Additionally, be certain to check your vehicles to ensure they are not carrying any insects or eggs.
Let’s do our part and be vigilant about reporting sightings of the spotted lanternfly. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give me call. Take care and enjoy the Thanksgiving holidays.
Photo Credit: Jim Crowder; United States Department of Agriculture