The city of Ithaca is warning residents to be on the lookout for the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive planthopper indigenous to parts of Southern China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, recently spotted in the Fall Creek neighborhood.
City officials asked for cooperation in locating the insects. The greatest agricultural concern falls on grapes, hops, apples, blueberries, and stone fruits. Regional concerns are for native arbors of multiple species and, more importantly, regional vineyards and orchards.
Brian Eshenaur, Sr. Extension Associate for Ornamental Crops at Cornell University, said the SLF can be "a nuisance" in large numbers and can significantly damage native plants and trees, local vineyards and tree nurseries. Its presence could lead to crop loss and increased management costs.
"In New York state we are especially concerned about our vineyards since they like to feed on grapevines," said Eshenaur. "The spotted lanternfly may cause significant damage to vineyards and hop yards. In addition, the increased insecticide treatments necessary to manage this pest drives up costs. The spotted lanternfly can also feed heavily on common tree species, such as black walnut and maples, and may cause branch dieback."
NYS and USDA inspectors will be in the Fall Creek area looking for signs of the insects over the next few weeks. The city urges property owners to be vigilant and cooperative, and to allow inspectors to look around properties.