Invasive spotted lanternfly native to China discovered in Iowa for the first time


The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species native to China. The species was first discovered in the United States in 2014. Since then, they have invaded several northeastern and midwestern states. It typically sucks the nutrients from the plant it infects and can cause significant damage to crops and reduce yields.

Spotted lanternflies spread when their egg masses - 30 to 50 eggs, which cling to almost any surface, including vehicles like rail cars and trailers, as well as outdoor equipment and patio furniture, move from one place to another. Two spotted lanternflies were recently confirmed in central Iowa, and Iowa Department of Agriculture has asked residents to report any additional sightings of the invasive insects.

Robin Pruisner, state entomologist for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, said:

The day that they called us, we had a whole herd of people out there looking for any other signs of spotted lanternflies, or a spent egg mass. We were trying to find a mode of transportation, which is usually eggs getting laid on something, and that something being moved. It looks like a smear of mud.

If you see a suspect spotted lanternfly in Iowa, you can report IDALS’ Entomology and Plant Science Bureau at (515) 725-1470.

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