For the past few years, State of Michigan officials have warned residents about a colorful insect that that damages fruit, hops, and hardwood trees.

Now, national health experts are backing that up, having created a five year plan in an attempt to eradicate this pest.

Spotted Lanternfly Found in Michigan

Last year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources shared that, live spotted lanternfly were found in Michigan. Prior to that, there were confirmed cases of dead lanternfly found in separate locations across the state. In these cases, the dead insects were found in packaging materials or objects shipped from states with known infestations.

SLF-spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) winged adult 4th instar nymph (red body)
Photo by Steve Ausmus, USDA/ARS

According to MDARD, a small population of spotted lanternfly was detected in Pontiac in Oakland County last summer. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed the finding on August 10, 2022.

MDARD Director Gary McDowell said,

Although not unexpected, this is certainly tough news to share due to its potential to for it to negatively impact Michigan’s grape industry. Spotted lanternfly has been moving closer to the state over the last few years. MDARD, along with our state, local and federal partners, has been working tirelessly to inform and educate growers and the public about this highly invasive insect.

Native to Asia, the invasive insects were first spotted in the U.S. in 2014 in southeastern Pennsylvania and have spread rapidly across the country.

Spotted Lanternfly infestations have now been confirmed in 14 U.S. States.

Damage Caused by Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted lanternflies cause damage by sucking sap from host plants and secreting large amounts of a sticky liquid called honeydew. This honeydew and the resulting black, sooty mold can kill plants. The honeydew often attracts other pests like hornets, wasps, and ants, affecting outdoor recreation and crop harvests.

MDARD - Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture,
MDARD - Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture,

This insect could damage or kill more than 70 varieties of crops and plants including grapes, apples, hops, plums, cherries, oak, willow, maple and sycamore.

Robert Miller, invasive species prevention and response specialist for MDARD says,

“Our agricultural and natural resources are part of Michigan’s identity and spotted lanternfly has the potential to forever change that landscape. With its ability to wreak havoc grapes, apples, hops, stone fruits and more, this could be devastating to Michigan’s farmers and the state’s food and agriculture industry.”


USDA Releases Five-Year Strategy to Combat Spotted Lanternfly

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) worked with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and the National Plant Board (NPB) to create a five year plan to combat the Spotted Lantern Fly.

The strategy aims to:

  • Effectively limit the advancement of spotted lanternfly and efficiently respond to its introduction within Federal and State authority and resource availability.
  • Support continued scientific research towards practical management and risk mitigation.
  • Establish a consistent national and State-level outreach message and educational campaign for the public and industries at risk for spreading spotted lanternfly.

What To Do If You Spot a Spotted Lanternfly in Michigan

If you see eggs, juvenile or adult spotted lanternflies, MDARD asks that you record the location, take pictures if you can, report it to them, and destroy the insects.


You can email or call 800-292-3939.There's also the Midwest Invasive Species Online Reporting Tool, or you can download the MISIN smartphone app and report from your phone.

MDARD shares these steps to limit the spread of the spotted lanternfly:

  • Check Your Vehicle: Before leaving a parking lot or work site, inspect vehicles for spotted lanternfly egg or insects. Check doors, sides, bumpers, wheel wells, grills, and roofs. If found, destroy any eggs or insects you find
  • Park with Windows Closed: The spotted lanternfly and its nymphs can enter vehicles unsuspectedly. When parked, make sure to keep windows closed.
  • Remove and Destroy Pests: Crush nymphs and adult insects. Scrape egg masses into a plastic bag containing hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol to kill them.
  • Remove Host Trees: Spotted lanternflies prefer the ailanthus tree, also known as “tree of heaven.” Try to remove trees from properties to avoid attracting spotted lanternfly.
  • Report Sightings: Send in required photos to Eyes in the Field. Photos are necessary to verify a report and to aid in identification

You can find more information on spotted lanternfly here.

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