A new environmental threat, the spotted lanternfly, has recently come to Indiana. While it’s unknown how they got here, spotted lanternflies have now been seen in at least two Indiana counties, according to Indiana Public Radio.
The first spotted lanternfly was discovered in Switzerland County last year, and more recently was found in Huntington County.
The adult spotted lanternfly is identifiable by the black spots and red wings that appear on its grey body, while its nymph is red with white spots.
The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that feeds on grapevines and certain trees, meaning they can greatly impact grape, wine and nut production here in Indiana.
Farmers can use insecticides for other pests to keep the spotted lanternfly away from their crops. Another way to prevent the spotted lanternflies from damaging grape crops is to cover their vines with small mesh nets, according to IPR.
While the spotted lanternfly can be killed, these insects can still become problematic as they leave their eggs nearly anywhere, making it easy for them to spread, according to IPR.
Brock Harpur, Purdue University professor of entomology, shared with IPR that lanternflies produce a sugary substance that can even travel on beekeeping equipment. The sugary substance from lanternflies can mix with honey, resulting in a smoky taste.
The spotted lanternfly could have made its way into Huntington County by its eggs being transported by train from Ohio, Elizabeth Long, Purdue assistant professor and extension specialist of fruit and vegetable entomology, told IPR.