by Connie Oswald Stofko
Now is the time to watch for and report egg masses of the spotted lanternfly (SLF). It’s an invasive pest from Asia that feeds on a variety of plants including grapes, hops and maple trees, posing a severe threat to New York forests and agriculture.
You can volunteer with NY iMapInvasives to look for SLF and its preferred host plant, tree-of-heaven, which is also an invasive species. Controlling infestations of the tree can help stop the spread of SLF.
NY iMapInvasives will hold a webinar on Identifying and Reporting Spotted Lanternfly and Tree-of-heaven from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23. Presenters will be Thom Allgaier and Michael Giambalvo of the Department of Agriculture and Markets and Jennifer Dean, Michell O’Neill & Meg Wilkinson of the NY Natural Heritage Program. Register in advance online.
Freezing temperatures will kill off adult insects, but the egg masses they lay in the fall can be seen throughout the winter. Egg masses tend to be about 1.5 inches long and resemble mud that has dried and cracked. You can find them on just about any flat surface, including vehicles, firewood and outdoor furniture.
You don’t have to sign up as a volunteer to report what you believe may be an SLF egg mass. Take a photo and note the location. Then report it to the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets by filling out their online reporting form.
You can also contact the Cornell Cooperative Extension office in your area.