This invasive bug is terrorizing Pennsylvania growers (and it’s coming for your wine)
In Amityville, Pennsylvania, 10 acres of grapevines sprawl across the family-owned Manatawny Creek Winery. Owner Darvin Levengood is no stranger to vineyard pests. But he was met with calamity in the fall of 2017 when grape pickers were bombarded by swarms of a new invasive insect, the Spotted Lanternfly. Winery guests couldn’t drink on the open porch without finding the bug, and its “honeydew,” in their glass.
“It’s a misnomer,” Levengood said of the sweet-sounding residue. “Honeydew is a perfectly good fruit. This is nothing more than poop.”
Since the bug was first identified in 2014, it has been devastating vineyards and orchards in the Northeast. Lycorma delicatula, named for the lantern-shaped body of the adult that appears to glow under its dull wings, is used in traditional medicine in China, its native land. In the U.S., it was quickly considered one of the most destructive invasive species in 150 years.
The Spotted Lanternfly is unlike other invasive species in its voraciousness and indiscriminate palate, with a diet that includes at least 70 plants, said Heather Leach, an entomologist at Pennsylvania State University — the mothership of lante... Read more