NC Ag Commissioner Troxler Announces Spotted Lanternfly Detected in Kernersville

by | Jun 30, 2022

Click here to listen to Commissioner Troxler speak to Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis about the detection

 

It’s hard to miss: the spotted lanternfly is a colorful insect! The immature form is black with white spots (top left) and, in its last immature stage, also has red coloration (top right). When at rest, the top wings are held tent-like and are gray with black spots (bottom left). The underwings are bright red and may be seen in flight. Images: L. Barringer, PA Dept. of Agriculture, Bugwood.org.

 

  • We have made our first discovery of an established presence of the spotted lanternfly in North Carolina. Initial surveys indicate the known distribution of the pest is within a 5-mile radius in Forsyth County near Interstate 40 in Kernersville extending up to the Guilford County. Survey efforts are ongoing. A heavy infestation of insects were found in a few locations, signifying it as being an established presence and not a single-insect occurrence.
  • We have been actively looking for the spotted lanternfly for years and we had ramped up our outreach and surveillance efforts when it was detected last year just over the North Carolina-Virginia line.
    Those outreach efforts paid off in this case, as we responded to a report of a suspected case.
  • We are especially concerned because the spotted lanternfly poses a serious threat to the state’s wine and grape industries and can feed and cause damage on over 70 species of plants including apples, roses and other landscape plants.
    We did not want this pest here and we will be working very hard to get rid of it now that we have discovered it.
  • Members of our Plant Industry Division and the N.C. Forest Service are moving quickly to eradicate this brightly colored pest, and we ask members of the public to be on the lookout for more spotted lanternfly and report any finds.
  • The insect has a very different look throughout its life cycle. Please refer to the Plant Industry Division spotted lanternfly page for pictures of each life cycle. This time of year, people would most likely see the insect in the fourth instar stage with a red and black body or the showy adult stage with grays and pinks on its wings. They are NOT harmful to people or pets.
  • We have created an online form for people to be able to upload a photo and provide details of the location where they have seen a suspected spotted lanternfly.
    The form can be found on our website at www.ncagr.gov/slf
  • The spotted lanternfly prefer to feed on an invasive species plant known as the tree of heaven. They attract stinging insects and encourage sooty mold growth under their feeding location, which can affect the quality of residential outdoor life.
  • There are no known natural predators of the spotted lanternfly, so we will need to treat trees in the area. Licensed pesticide applicators will apply an insecticide Transtect (dinotefuran) to the low bark of the tree of heaven which will kill spotted lanternflies as they feed.
  • High density spotted lanternfly populations may be treated with target applications of bifenthrin, a commonly used insecticide. It is only being applied where there are high concentrations of spotted lanternfly at this time.
  • This infestation likely moved into the area on a shipment or vehicle, as they lay eggs on smooth outdoor surfaces such as trees, lumber, landscaping materials, gardening tools, etc.
    If spotted lanternfly is discovered on your property, teams will treat the trees and marked them, with survey teams returning for follow-up checks of the site. The treated trees should effectively kill feeding spotted lanternflies for the remainder of this season.
  • The department is also using spotted lanternfly detecting dogs to look for spotted lanternfly egg masses, hoping to find and destroy them before they hatch and become established. The dogs are onsite being used to aid in ongoing surveys of the surrounding area.
  • Again, this is a pest of significant concern to us, so we will be working quickly to determine the scope of this established pest in and around the area where it has been found, and, also begin treating to eradicate the pests there.