Officials are asking for your help after a "destructive invasive pest" from Asia has been spotted in the Hudson Valley and across New York State.

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The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets urged the public on Thursday to stay vigilant and report live Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) or overwintering egg masses, following additionally confirmed finds of the invasive species in areas of the Hudson Valley and the Southern Tier.

The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive pest from Asia, was first confirmed in the State on Staten Island in August. Adult SLF and egg masses have since been found in Port Jervis, Sloatsburg, Orangeburg and Ithaca, officials say.

The destructive insect feeds on more than 70 plant species, including tree-of-heaven, and plants and crops that are critical to New York’s agricultural economy, such as maple trees, apple trees, grapevine, and hops.

"SLF can be devastating to New York agriculture, including some of our leading crops, such as apples and grapes, which is why we have been aggressively working to prevent this pest’s establishment in New York. While we have additional confirmations in areas of the Southern Tier and the Hudson Valley, thanks to the public’s assistance, we have been able to begin immediate survey work and targeted management plans. We ask that, despite the approaching cold weather and winter months, the public continue to provide their assistance and watchful eyes and report any egg masses," State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said.

Freezing temperatures are expected to kill off adult SLF, however egg masses are still a concern during the winter months. In the fall, SLF will lay their eggs on any flat surface such as vehicles, firewood, outdoor furniture, stone, or other items, which can be inadvertently transported to new areas. If this insect becomes established in New York, it could impact New York's forests and agricultural and tourism industries, officials say.

SLF feedings stress plants, making them vulnerable to disease and attacks from other insects. SLF also excretes large amounts of sticky "honeydew," which attracts sooty molds that interfere with plant photosynthesis, negatively affecting the growth and fruit yield of plants, and impacting forest health. SLF also has the potential to significantly hinder New Yorkers’ quality of life and recreational activities due to the honeydew and the swarms of insects it attracts.

In August the Spotted Lanternfly was just found on Staten Island, the DEC confirms. Several live, adult SLF was discovered by State Parks staff in Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve.

In the past, several individual adult SLF have been found in counties across New York including Delaware, Albany, Yates, Westchester, Suffolk, New York, Kings, Monroe, Chemung, Erie, Ontario, Ulster, Nassau, Sullivan and Orange, the DEC reports.

The destructive pest from Asia feeds on more than 70 plant species, including tree-of-heaven, and plants and crops that are critical to New York’s agricultural economy, according to the DEC. It also impacts forest health and recreational activities.

The Spotted Lanternfly can jump and fly short distances. It is often spread from human activity. They often hitch rides to new areas when they lay their eggs on vehicles, firewood, outdoor furniture, stone, or other items, according to the DEC.

According to the DEC, spotted lanternflies are at first black with white spots before turning red when they become adults. They start to appear as early as April and begin to appear as adults in July. They are one inch long with eye-catching wings. Their forewings are gray and black, hindwings red with black spots and the upper portions are dark with a white stripe.

The public is encouraged to thoroughly inspect vehicles, luggage, and gear, and all outdoor items for egg masses and adult SLF before leaving areas with SLF, officials say.

Identifying SLF:

  • Adult SLF are active from July to December. They are approximately one inch long and half an inch wide at rest, with eye-catching wings. Adults begin laying eggs in September. Signs of an SLF infestation may include:
  • Sap oozing or weeping from open wounds on tree trunks, which appear wet and give off fermented odors.
  • One-inch-long egg masses that are brownish-gray, waxy, and mud-like when new. Old egg masses are brown and scaly.
  • Massive honeydew build-up under plants, sometimes with black sooty mold developing.

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