Ohio Maple Days – Spotted Lanternfly, Part II

Part I last week focused on the basics of spotted lanternfly.  What they look like, where they are, where they might be going, what to do if you see some, and more.  This week, I want to share a few initial findings (albeit preliminary results) of how spotted lanternfly impact maples.  A big thanks to Scott Weikert of Penn State Extension for relaying these great bits of information.

First let’s start with the good news.  One bright spot of optimism for most maple producers is that while monitoring efforts are seeing spotted lanternfly in the forest, the pest does not tend to have super high population densities there.  Rather, the heaviest infestations tend to be more on the edges.  That is perhaps reason to be encouraged for most maple producers, but certainly not all.  In my own mind, I would imagine a sugarbush surrounded by intact forest on all sides is at lower risk whereas a backyard sugarmaker tapping a few open-grown trees may face more of a threat.

Heavily infested silver maple trees are showing abnormal bud swelling during the fall and producing no seeds the following year.  It remains unknown what the implications are for sap quality, but anytime an insect pest interferes with a tree’s reproductive cycle there is cause for legitimate concern.

It is certainly worth noting that initial data suggest that spotted lanternfly favor silver maple more than red maple.  As sugar maple does not constitute much of the forest composition where spotted lanternfly infestations are heaviest in Pennsylvania, it would be conjecture to rank sugar maple’s preference to other maples just yet.  As the pest moves into more localities, more will be learned.

Finally, some researchers observed that feeding on red maples tends to be extremely intense and concentrated to just a few weeks in the fall.  While no actual mortality has been observed in maples at this time, discoloration of the xylem in branches is a suspected result of heavy feeding.  It is uncertain what that damage means for future sap flow, but it stands to reason that discolored wood may inhibit sap flow if the response is similar to when a tree compartmentalizes the wound of a taphole or other injury.

While this post leaves far more open gaps in our understanding of how spotted lanternflies may impact the maple resource in the future, it is a start.  As the pest continues to infest new locations and studies gather more data, we will be better equipped to anticipate and combat impacts from this novel forest pest.

For more information, see Part I from last week or check out Penn State’s resources for spotted lanternfly to learn more.

If you see spotted lanternfly or other invasive species, please report your findings!  That is the single best way to improve the efficiency of any efforts to fight back.  Click here for more information on reporting through the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN).

Ohio Maple Days – Spotted Lanternfly, Part I

Despite significant changes to the timing and schedule of Ohio Maple Days not to mention the ever-evolving challenges presented by COVID, we had a great turnout in Ashland back on December 11th.  A subset of maple producers, about 20 in number, also enjoyed an excellent syrup grading workshop on Friday night the 10th.

During the morning session, Amy Stone (an Extension educator from Lucas County) presented on spotted lanternfly and was kind enough to share her graphic-heavy slide deck with us.  You might consider this a Part I post and I’ll follow-up with a Part II next week.

This half is all about spotted lanternfly.  What do they look like, where did they come from, where are they now, where might they be going, why you should care about them, and most importantly – how to report spotted lanternfly if you do spot them.  Click here to access Amy’s whole slide deck from her presentation on 12/11/2021.

Spotted Lanternfly (Amy Stone) Slide Deck from Ohio Maple Days December 2021

An infestation of adult spotted lanternflies is pretty hard to miss or mistake for something else.

The adults are preceded by 4 instars of developing maturity.  Each stage has a diagnostic “look” and the season when they are active.  Familiarizing oneself with the life cycle and knowing how spotted lanternfly will manifest depending on the time of year is key for solid monitoring.

At first glance you may only notice the one egg mass but look up and you’ll see a second.  Egg masses immediately after a female lays is fairly easy to see, but with passing time, the shiny coat over the egg mass fades and the mass become far more cryptic and camouflaged.

Spotted lanternfly was first detected in Jefferson County, OH, but recently Cuyahoga County has been added to the list of known OH positives.

For a comprehensive dive into spotted lanternfly, dig through the slide deck.  It’s a great exploration of this novel invasive forest pest.

Part II next week will focus on some specific preliminary findings on how spotted lanternfly are believed to be impacting maples.  Because of where spotted lanternfly infestations are currently heaviest, most of the results are from Pennsylvania and most applicable to red and silver maples, but you’ll want to tune back in to hear what some researchers – including several from Penn State University – are starting to learn about the maple – spotted lanternfly interaction.

If you see spotted lanternfly or other invasive species, please report your findings!  That is the single best way to improve the efficiency of any efforts to fight back.  Click here for more information on reporting through the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN).

Spotted Lanternfly on the Move

BAD BUG NEWS ALERT!!  This is not exactly the sort of update we are excited to relay.  Spotted lanternfly was detected last week in Cuyahoga County.  More details can be found at this link.

From a broader perspective, this is a great chance to remind producers that we will addressing the spotted lanternfly issue directly at the December 11th Ohio Maple Days event in Ashland.  And not just talking about spotted lanternfly either – rather, the focus will be to equip Ohio’s maple producers to be trained early detectors of this nasty forest invasive insect pest that poses a very real threat to maples and other native Ohio trees.

Past posts and webinars are also available on spotted lanternfly: