Effects of the Spotted Lanternfly on the Agricultural Fruit Crops in Pennsylvania
Purpose and Rationale
In 2014, the Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (White), an invasive planthopper, had been discovered in the southeast corner of Pennsylvania in Berks County. It is native to China, India, Vietnam, and introduced to Korea where it has become a major pest. In addition, this insect has the potential to greatly impact the grape, hops and logging industries in Pennsylvania. However, the early detection of the Spotted Lanternfly is vital for the protection of Pennsylvania businesses and agriculture (2018).
One specific topic of interest is whether the Spotted Lanternfly can be eliminated by simply removing the egg deposits on wounded trees from the tree of heaven and the willow, the preferred breeding grounds of these agricultural pests. This invasive species often breeds in a rapid manner and can therefore increase their population size causing an infestation on individual properties and entire communities in a short time period of time (2018). Some signs and symptoms of a tree of heaven or willow that has been infested with the pest includes wounds on the side of the tree leaving a black or grayish trail along the trunk and large egg masses located on the host trees and nearby stones or home structures. In addition, the sap that oozes from a host tree often attracts other insects to feed. Over time, the tree can die from deprivation of resources due to the egg masses leaving the trees wounded and targets for other insects to breed upon. Recently, there has been a $17.5 million-dollar grant granted to Pennsylvania by the USDA to fight the invasive species (Merlin, 2018).
A significant amount of studies indicate that the Spotted Lanternfly is an agricultural problem that has lead to the detriment of many of the state’s fruit grower’s crops, especially grapes and apples (Nosowitz, 2018). In addition, the invasive tree of heaven species has become the preferred nesting arboreal species for the Spotted Lanternfly, since it is also a Chinese native tree. Furthermore, Pennsylvania’s secretary of agriculture, Russell Redding has estimated that the financial loss for infestation of the spotted lanternfly can sum up to a loss of $18 billion in agricultural revenue (Merlin, 2018). Preventative measures must be taken to overcome future infestations. In addition, controlling the current invasive species population that is present on Pennsylvania farmland is vital to regaining healthy agricultural yield necessary for revenue, human health, and environmental health.
Plan of Work
Scope of Project
The project objective is to remove egg masses of the Spotted Lanternfly identified on either the tree of heaven or willow trees by manual destruction of the brooding areas. There is much literature on the destruction that the pest has caused in their native regions of China, India, and Vietnam; however, I have focused my research...