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Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an invasive planthopper native to Asia. It was first detected in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. Although this insect has not yet been found in North Carolina, the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services has started a widespread campaign to educate citizens about this impending invasive pest. It is hoped that early detection and reporting can help reduce the spread of the lanternfly. This insect has a broad host range and poses a major threat to the North Carolina grape and orchard industries.
The spotted lanternfly has one generation per year and is able to overwinter in the egg stage. Egg masses look like blobs of silly putty. Females lay eggs on smooth surfaces, including metal. Spotted lanternflies are excellent hitchhikers because egg masses can be transported on train cars, lawn equipment, and shipping containers. Indications of a spotted lanternfly infestation are large areas of sooty mold growing on honeydew excreted by this insect. Although the host range is broad, spotted lanternfly does favor another invasive species, tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), which is commonly seen in disturbed sites and along roadsides. Tree-of-heaven is recognized by its large, pinnately compound leaves and prominent clusters of samaras (winged seeds). Visit NC State Extension’s spotted lanternfly resource page for more information.
The Master Gardener℠ volunteers of Union County will hold their February Fruit & Plant Sale on February 22, 2020, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Union County Center. Plants available will include fruit trees, blueberries, blackberries, native bare-root trees and shrubs, and others. This is a popular sale, so come early for the best selection. Master Gardener℠ volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions about growing fruit and other gardening questions.