A population of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) has been found on the east side of Cleveland. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) was notified of the initial discovery by a tree care professional on August 26, 2021.
ODA Plant Pest inspectors confirmed living, adult SLF are in the area. An inspector with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also confirmed a population of the SLF has been found at a secondary location, near the initial report.
A railroad line connects both locations.
ODA has been working with the United States Department of Agriculture, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, and the Ohio Grape Industries Committee to do visual surveys, insect trapping, and outreach in the region.
SLF is a great concern to the grape and wine industry. The insect is fond of grapevines, fruit trees, hops, blueberry, oak, pine, poplar, and walnut. Adult SLF are attracted to the invasive Ailanthus tree, also known as tree-of-heaven, while nymphs feed on a wide range of hosts. Both adults and nymphs feed on stems and leaves, causing sap bleeding and reduced photosynthesis, which can eventually kill the plant.
Now through November is the best time to spot the SLF because it is in its most recognizable stages as a colorful winged adult plant hopper. After hatching in the late spring, the SLF goes through four nymph stages. By midsummer, the nymph SLF can be identified by its red body, roughly a half-inch in size, with black stripes and white dots. During the late summer until roughly November, the SLF is in the adult stage. These adults are larger, roughly one inch in size, with black bodies and brightly colored wings.
The public is the first line of defense against the SLF. If you believe you have seen an SLF in your area, you can easily report a suspected infestation by going to ODA’s Spotted Lanternfly Information Page and filling out a suspected infestation report. You may also call the Plant Pest Control Division at 614-728-6400.