ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Today, Congressman Joe Morelle announced his action to combat the invasive Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) that threatens the livelihood of America’s farmers, wine makers, brewers, and many other critically important industries. He was joined by small business owners and community leaders who share the concerns the SLF poses for New York’s agricultural economy.
The Spotted Lanternfly’s rapid spread across America poses a direct threat to our agricultural economy and demands that we take immediate action to safeguard our farming community,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “I was proud to secure $4 million in funding last year to help the United States Department of Agriculture eradicate this invasive species, but we must do more. With millions of dollars in damage to crops and thousands of jobs on the line in an already strained economy, we must act now to protect the strong agricultural history New York has always been proud to boast.”
“As a winemaker and a small business owner who relies on the health and vitality of our local agricultural community, we’re grateful our community is taking the threat of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly seriously,” said Colleen Hardy, Owner of Living Roots Urban Winery. “If we delay our response to the Spotted Lanternfly, we risk harming New York’s status as a premier wine region as well as countless small businesses like Living Roots. We appreciate Congressman Morelle and all of our local partners who are raising awareness of the Spotted Lanternfly and keeping our region protected from this invasive species.”
“The hops industry in New York continues to grow to support the nearly 500 breweries in the state. Since 2013 the hops industry has grown from zero to 300 acres today,” said Paul Leone, Executive Director of the New York State Brewers Association. “The Spotted Lantern Fly has now been discovered in the Southern Tier and it continues to migrate north at a frightening pace. Congressman Morelle’s support of funding to stop this dangerous invasive species is critical to stopping the SLF and saving a growing hops industry that is critically important to the brewers in our state.”
First discovered in 2014 in Pennsylvania, the SLF has since been found throughout the Northeast and Northwest regions of the U.S., and increasingly across the Midwest. Tompkins County in New York has the only recorded SLF infestation, however there have been reported sightings of the SLF as far north as Monroe County, which Rep. Morelle represents.
Though not harmful to humans, the SLF’s presence has the potential to wreak havoc on our state’s multibillion–dollar cash crop industry, putting winemakers, brewers, and farmers at serious risk. Without immediate action to stop the spread of this invasive species, the livelihood of our breweries, wineries, and many other small businesses essential to our agricultural economy are in jeopardy.
Last year, Rep. Morelle was successful in securing a $4 million allocation in the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations bill to combat the spread of the SLF and help protect farmers. Last month, Rep. Morelle called on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) again to ramp up its efforts to address the alarming and rapidly growing spread of the SLF.
The presence of the SLF also underscores our efforts to curb the climate crisis. A report out of the New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management is quoted as saying that climate change is “increasing the number of invasive species present in our region and exacerbating the magnitude of their impacts.”
If you believe you have encountered a Spotted Lanternfly or SLF eggs, you are advised to follow these steps:
• Crush the bug using your foot, a swatter, or other means.
• Report the sighting by sending a photo to email@example.com and note the location in your message.
• Inspect and continue to monitor the surrounding area for signs of the SLF, which include sap oozing from wounds in tree trunks, honeydew buildup under plants, waxy and mud–like buildup indicating an egg mass.
• Remain diligent as the SLF is mostly spread through human activity, such as being transported on cars and vehicles.
“We’re grateful to be working with Federal and State partners to help protect NYS agriculture from this new invasive pest. Based on the damage we’ve seen in Pennsylvania we’re particularly concerned about our large wine and grape industries in New York State. However, we feel we have plans in place to help our growers combat this insect with its inevitable arrival to NYS vineyards,” said Brian Eshenaur, Cornell
University Integrated Pest Management Program.
“We’re asking residents in our region to be on the lookout for this insect and report it if it’s found! Early detection is key in helping us manage the spotted lanternfly,” said Marci Muller, Cornell Cooperative Extension Monroe County.
“New York Farm Bureau appreciates Congressman Morelle highlighting the threat that the spotted lantern fly poses to the New York agriculture industry, and the importance of tackling this invasive species before it becomes widespread in New York,” said Amanda, Field Advisor for the New York Farm Bureau. “The spotted lanternfly has the potential to decimate the state’s grape, fruit, and forestry industries, which play a critical role in the state’s overall agriculture economy. New York produces more than 30 million bushels of apples each year, and New York’s grapes are valued at harvest of $52.8 million annually. In addition, the state’s maple and timber industries would be negatively impacted by continued spread of the spotted lanternfly. Continued efforts including research, prevention methods, and funding are all needed to help stop the spread and ensure that New York’s agriculture industry does not fall prey to the spotted lanternfly.”
–Cornell Cooperative Extension