AMHERST, Mass. — The InsectXaminer short video series hopes to increase the visibility of the beautiful world of insects, even those we consider to be pests in our managed landscapes. InsectXaminer showcases the complexity of insect life cycles, cataloging as many life stages for each species as possible. The goal of this series is to provide professionals and land managers with footage that is helpful for learning the identification of insects throughout the season, rather than at any single point in their life cycle. Proper identification is key to successful management. If possible and caught on camera, important aspects of their biology and natural enemies are revealed.
Join UMass Extension as we observe these incredible organisms and look into a world that, while it happens all around us, sometimes goes unseen!
An established population of spotted lanternfly (SLF) was recently confirmed in Fitchburg, MA in 2021. Do you know what to look for right now and where to report it? Until the first couple of hard frosts in Massachusetts, keep your eyes open for SLF adults. You can also search for egg masses, which is how these insects overwinter. Check out Episode 5 of InsectXaminer to learn more about the adults and egg masses of this invasive insect!
Episode 5 – Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula)
This invasive insect is native to certain locations in southeast Asia and was first detected in the US in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2014. Spotted lanternfly adults and immatures feed on the sap of over 100 species of plants using piercing-sucking mouthparts. Tree-of-heaven, an invasive tree species, is a favored host of this insect. However, spotted lanternflies will also feed on maple, black walnut, grapes, and many other trees and shrubs and agriculturally important crops.
These insects secrete a sugary, liquid excrement known as honeydew as they feed. Black sooty mold can then grow on that honeydew, which will also attract stinging insects such as ants, bees, and wasps. The spotted lanternfly has the potential to impact vineyards, ornamental landscapes, and homeowner backyards not only by damaging plants (particularly grape) but also as a public nuisance, as these insects are known to gather in large numbers once established. This episode highlights the identification of the adults and egg masses of this insect. An episode highlighting the immature (nymphal) stages of spotted lanternfly will be produced separately, once nymphs are again available for filming.
–UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery and Urban Forestry Program