The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is asking freight carriers, warehouse workers and delivery drivers to be on the lookout for the invasive spotted lanternfly.
Concern comes after the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed dead spotted lanternfly insects were found in Michigan in recent weeks.
While the specimens found were dead, MDARD’s Invasive Species Prevention and Response Specialist, Robert Miller, says these cases demonstrate one of the many ways the insect could find its way into the state.
Spotted lanternflys can cause direct damage by sucking sap from host plants and secreting large amounts of a sugar-rich, honeydew-like sticky liquid.
This honeydew and the resulting black, sooty mold can kill plants and attracts other pests- like hornets, wasps, and ants; which can affect outdoor recreation and complicate crop harvests.
There’s no evidence of established living populations of the insect in the state currently, but adults are roughly one inch long with grayish-brown folded wings with black spots.
Open wings reveal a yellow and black abdomen and bright red hind wings with black spots transitioning to black and white bands at the edge.
Egg masses resemble old chewing gum, with a gray, waxy, putty-like coating.
If you find a spotted lanternfly egg mass, nymph or adult, you should take photos, make note of the date, time, and location of the sighting and report to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development by email at [email protected], or call 800-292-3939.
They add, If possible, you should collect a specimen in a container for verification.
For more info on identifying or reporting the spotted lanternfly, you can visit Michigan.gov/SpottedLanternfly.