Spotted Lanternfly advances northward into the Finger Lakes, threatening wines

Local News

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – The spotted lanternfly is an invasive bug that came from Asia in 2014., likely along some landscaping stone. It has found its way  from Pennsylvania into the finger Lakes and experts are concerned this could be a major threat to the wine industry. 

While 2020 may go down as a great year for Finger Lakes wines, it will have been a bad year for pests. The spotted lanternfly was spotted in several regions around New York City with sightings near Staten Island and moving northward. 

“This is definitely the first time it’s been in our region,” said Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Brian Eshenaur. “So Ithaca, New York, just here in November is the first find.” The bug has destroyed acres of crops in Pennsylvania since it first came to the United States.  

William Ouweleen is the Vintner for Eagle Crest Wines and O-Neh-Da Vineyard. Concern over the lanternfly has been growing since the first spotting earlier this month. “It basically sucks the life out of fruit plants, so fruit trees, for us particularly in the Finger Lakes we’re concerned about the vineyards.” 

They will last through winter and need a longer growing season, so further north may not get exposed. Areas along valleys within the Finger Lakes may be more at risk. “Everyone is out in the vineyard looking for the egg clusters, and if we can crush them or remove them before the spring when they hatch, we hope to diminish the population before it gets out of control,” said Ouweleen. 

The eggs can be transferred on some firewood, for example, and trigger a spread. “If we move any of those things with egg masses to an area where it doesn’t occur, they could hatch in the spring,” said Eshenaur.  

IF you see a spotted lantern fly, you can take a picture and send it to spottedlanternfly@dec.ny.gov. The next best thing to do would be to scrape it into a ziploc bag with sanitizing alcohol.   Learn more on the DEC website here.

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