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Spotted lanternflies are contained in small, wooded area

SLF folded wings.jpg
Lawrence Barringer / Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

State officials with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development confirmed the first spotted lanternflies are contained in a small, wooded area in Oakland County and have not spread further, at least for now.

When spotted lanternflies first arrived in Michigan, the agriculture community went on high alert. That’s because the insects are known for consuming over 70 different crop varieties.

But Michael Reinke, an entomologist with Michigan State University Extension, said the bugs don't destroy everything in sight. These insects, Reinke mentioned, put stress on crops, primarily apples, peaches and hops.

"They can pull enough nutrients out of grape plants that such that it makes the grapes a little more sensitive to cold winter damage," said Reinke. "So, it doesn't kill the grapes. With hops, it can suck out some nutrients right at that time when the hops are wanting to create their flowers that we harvest."

Reinke said entomologists and state officials have been preparing for the arrival of the insect for years. The spotted lanternfly first appeared in Pennsylvania in 2014. The inevitable spread of the bugs across Michigan will be gradual, Reinke added, and said farmers should not cause go on high alert.

"This is not a major catastrophe by any stretch of the imagination," said Reinke. "It's new insect that's going to cause a little bit of stress to some farmers. It's not going to dramatically change our spray regimes or our management tactics."

Rick joined WCMU as a general assignment reporter in March 2022.