Iowa Might Be in for a Disastrous Bug Infestation
Spotted lanternflies are native to China, India, and Vietnam, and were accidentally introduced into Pennsylvania in 2014, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture.
No wonder they don't belong in Iowa and a person notified the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship of two immature spotted lanternflies in Dallas County earlier this month.
These nasty insects may just be more than a nuisance if they spread here in the Hawkeye State, too. The Department of Ag continues, detailing the bug's preferred eating habits:
"It feeds on a wide range of fruit, ornamental, and woody trees, with tree-of-heaven being one of the preferred hosts. Plants preferred include grapes and hops, and the following trees: almond, apple, apricot, cherry, maple, nectarine, oak, peach, pine, plum, poplar, sycamore, tree-of-heaven, walnut, and willow. Infested plants may ooze or weep and have a fermented odor. A buildup of sticky honeydew on plants or the ground underneath the plants may be present. A sooty mold may also occur on infested plants and fruit. The sucking of sap from plants can reduce the products of photosynthesis, thereby weakening the plant and eventually contributing to the plant’s death."
Iowa's State Entomologist Robin Pruisner had this to say regarding the potential foreign bug population and what you can do to help:
Spotted lanternfly nymphs and adults are colorful, and if you spot one, please report it to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship right away. We appreciate this community member letting us know about its presence in our state and we hope other Iowans will keep an eye out as we want to contain the spread of this destructive pest. At this time of year, we expect to find the eye-catching nymphs, which can be black and white, or red, black, and white.
If you believe you have found a spotted lanternfly you can notify the Entomology and Plant Science Bureau by calling 515-725-1470 or sending an e-mail to Entomology@IowaAgriculture.gov. You may also contact your local county Iowa State University Extension Office.