The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) has warned farmers and growers in the state to be on the lookout for the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive pest that feeds on a wide variety of crops. Though the species has not been confirmed in Illinois yet, it has spread rapidly across eastern states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan since it was first detected in the United States in 2014.
The pest’s yellow-brown eggs covered with a gray wax can be found on any smooth surface, including bricks, stones, pots, and crates, and are easily transported on vehicles. The lanternfly’s favorite hosts are grapevines, but it also feeds on hops and apple, stone fruits, maple, walnut, poplar, and willow trees.
However, researchers and specialists do not yet know the potential impact on peaches, pumpkins, or almonds, as the insects have not migrated to where those crops are abundant.
While the Spotted Lanternfly is not a voracious feeder and will not kill a tree, its feeding can cause plants to ooze, and its excretion of honeydew promotes mold and attracts other insects.
To report any sightings of the Spotted Lanternfly, farmers and growers can call IDOA’s DeKalb office at 815-787-5476 or email email@example.com. The information will be shared by IDOA, specialists with the University of Illinois Extension, and the USDA. Physical evidence will be crucial to confirm any sightings.