The invasive spotted lanternfly was first found in Indiana last year in Switzerland County in the southeast part of the state. Now the insect has also been found up north in Huntington County. Since other counties in the state haven’t reported the pest, it’s not clear how it got there.
The invasive insect was also found outside of Detroit two weeks ago. The spotted lanternfly feeds on grapevines, hops, and several kinds of trees — which could threaten Indiana’s wine grape and walnut industries.
Elizabeth Long is an assistant professor and extension specialist of fruit and vegetable entomology at Purdue University. She said the spotted lanternfly could have come into Huntington County from Ohio.
“I think the thinking is that the eggs were laid on train cars — and they come in and out of some big stations through there,” Long said.
Long said the good news is grape growers can use the same insecticides for spotted lanternflies as they use for other pests in the vineyard.
“So no need to go buy anything extra. No need to be worried that we can’t kill these insects — it can be done,” she said.
Long said grape growers can also cover their vines with very fine mesh nets.
Spotted lanternfly eggs can be transported on all kinds of things — RVs, carrier trucks and even beekeeping equipment.
According to Purdue assistant professor of entomology Brock Harpur, the sticky, sugary substance spotted lanternflies produce can also mix with honey making it less sweet and giving it an unpleasant smoky taste.
The adult spotted lanternfly is grayish with black spots and bright red hind wings. Its nymph is bright red with white spots.
If you see a spotted lanternfly, contact the DNR at 866-NO EXOTIC (866-663-9684) or email the agency at DEPP@dnr.IN.gov.