Rare insect that poses risk to wine, fruit, vegetable industries found in Oakville

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Published September 19, 2023 at 5:23 pm

spotted lanternfly, planthopper,
A spotted lanternfly, indigenous to parts of China and Vietnam, was found in Oakville earlier this month. The rare insect poses a significant risk with the potential damage it can cause the wine, fruit, and vegetable industries. GOVERNMENT OF CANADA PHOTO

A rare insect the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says poses a significant threat to agriculture industries has been spotted in Oakville.

A Spotted Lanternfly, a planthopper indigenous to parts of China and Vietnam that has spread invasively to Japan, South Korea and the United States, was found on Ford Drive by resident Tanya Campbell last Wednesday (Sept. 13).

The sighting has been reported to the CFIA in hopes of reducing the insect’s spread. The CFIA has previously intercepted the insects travelling to Ontario in shipping crates.

The Spotted Lanternfly poses a significant risk with the potential damage it can cause the wine, fruit and vegetable industries. It feeds on a wide range of fruit, ornamental plants (plants grown for their beauty) and woody trees.

Juvenile Spotted Lanternflies, known as nymphs, and adults prefer to feed on the invasive tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), but they also feed on a wide range of crops and plants including grapes, apples, hops, walnuts and hardwood trees.

The insects are identified early on by their spotted black and white nymphs that develop a red pigmentation and wings as they mature.

Also known as Lycorma delicatula, the inch-long and half-inch-wide insect develops a black head, grey wings and red hind wings as an adult.

The piercing wounds caused by their mouthparts and the honeydew waste they excrete are harmful to the health of host plants. The Spotted Lanternflies also lay egg masses of 30 to 50 that are often covered with a greyish, mud-like coating.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service believes the insect was first detected in North America in Pennsylvania in 2014.

If you think you have found the Spotted Lanternfly or its egg masses, report it to the CFIA immediately.

For more information, visit here.

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