While there is something to see year-round in the world of spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) or SLF, last week, a group of Extension professionals - Jim Jasinski with our IPM Program, Thomas deHaas in Erie County, Ann Chanon in Lorian County, and Amy Stone in Lucas County spent some time in the field together gathering footage and photographs to develop educational resources that are seasonally specific. Once developed, these tools will help Ohioans, help us, look for SLF in the Buckeye State.
The team gathered in Cuyahoga County, where a known infestation was discovered, reported and confirmed last year. The site does include SLF egg masses that have been treated by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), and will continue to be monitored as the timining of egg hatch draws near.
Egg masses, that were laid last year, throughout late summer and into fall. Even after nymphs hatch from the egg stage, 'remnants' of the egg masses remain. We mention this because even old egg masses can be something that is 'spotted' when looking for SLF.
Egg masses can be laid on nearly any surface. While plant people like yourself may be drawn to look on plants, especially tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), an SLF favorite, don't limit yourself. On our recent trek where SLF has been found, we found several egg masses and wanted to share that story and see if you can see it too!
So while there is a tree in the photograph above, it is actually the blue tank in the background and the fence in the foreground that caught our attention. But before we go any further, let's take a look at the photo below to show you what we were looking for this time of the year.
The egg masses typically contains 30 - 50 eggs in each mass or groups of egg. Adult females will lay one to two egg masses in her lifetime. The photo above does illustrate how the SLF eggs can appear slightly different depending on if they are uncovered, partically cover, fully covered, or have hatched which equals an old egg mass.
Take a look at the photo below. Does anything stand out to you?
Hopefully you were able to identify the egg mass laid on the blue tank. If you weren't able to see it, check out the photo below to help guide your eyes on what to look for.
But wait, there were more!
Do you see the SLF egg mass on the underside of the top rail of the fence? How about in the zoomed in photo below?
What was really interesting is that grapevine was sporadically growing along the fence - another host favorite of SLF. Wild grapes, along with the occasional tree of heaven, SLF found the perfect buffet that made them happy and able to reproduce at this site in Cuyahoga County.
Very soon, if SLF is present, the first instar nymphs will soon be hatching. Here is a life-cycle illustration created by Penn State Extension. The first instar nymphs are approximately ¼" long and are black with white spots, and can occasionally be mistaken for a tick. Second and third instar nymphs are also black with white spots but a little larger in size. The fourth instar nymph takes on a red coloration with white spots and can be up to ¾". Fourth instar nymphs molt and become adults that approximately 1" in length. Adult females can be slightly larger than the males.
If you suspect that you have seen any stage (egg mass, nymphs, or adults) of SLF, it is impartive that you report what you are seeing. If you are able to collect nymphs and adult that would be the preference. Photographs can also be very useful. Reports can be made by contacting the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) by phone ( 614-728-6400 ), email ( email@example.com ), and on their online web based reporting system ( https://agri.ohio.gov/divisions/plant-health/invasive-pests/slf ). Additionally, you may contact your local Extension office ( https://extension.osu.edu/lao ), or use the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN) app ( https://apps.bugwood.org/apps/gledn/ ).
Stay tuned to BYGL for SLF updates through out the season. Thanks in advanced for helping spot the spot in Ohio this upcoming season!