The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma delicatula, is an invasive planthopper that is rapidly expanding its range from Pennsylvania into the rest of eastern North America and beyond. In an effort to stop the further spread of this damaging pest, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has established quarantine zones for all counties where the SLF has been reported. In 2019, only 14 counties were part of the quarantine zone. As of March 5, 2020, 26 counties were under quarantine in Pennsylvania (see map) indicating a significant expansion of the quarantine zone that now includes Allegheny and Beaver counties. This pest is also present in the states of New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.
As beekeepers drive across Pennsylvania and state lines, it is important to understand that SLF can be easily transported on beekeeping equipment. Egg masses (left photo above) can be laid on hive boxes, lids, bottom boards, stands, pallets, etc. Beekeepers must check equipment, vehicles, and trailers for SLF prior to moving the equipment and transporting packages and nucs. If you find SLF individuals of any stage in your apiary or equipment, and you are not inside of the quarantine zone, it is very important that you report it here. To move bees in hives and/or equipment to another state, please contact your Apiary Inspector or State Apiarist (email@example.com or 717-346–9567). You must be inspected and issued a permit prior to leaving the state whether you are in the quarantine zone or not.
In addition to the quarantine policies, lanternflies may impact you and your bees in other ways. Part of the management and efforts to control the spread of this pest include the application of the systemic insecticide dinotefuran to trees infested with SLFs. These insecticide applications may directly or indirectly impact the health of your colonies. Honey bees, wild bees and other pollinators may be directly collecting pollen and nectar from flowers of trees that have been sprayed with insecticides targeting SLF. Indirectly, honey bees may be using the honeydew—the sap that flows when planthoppers feed on plants—as a food source. Research groups at Penn State are investigating the direct and indirect effects of SLF control measures on bee health. For example, two hundred samples of honey were collected last fall from across PA and no traces of dinotefuran were detected. While this is good news, many questions remain open regarding the impact of SLF chemical control on non-targeted insects such as bees. We are still investigating the impacts of these treatments during bloom. Watch out for more information to come.
Post contributed by Robyn Underwood, PhD, Assistant Research Professor
Links to other resources:
- Official Website Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) Spotted Laternfly
- Pennsylvania State University Spotted Lanternfly Website
- Best Management Practices for Beekeepers in Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Area
- Underwood R, Breeman B, Benton J, Bielski J, Palkendo J, Betts T. (2019). Are Non-Target Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Exposed to Dinotefuran From Spotted Lanternfly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) Trap Trees?. Journal of economic entomology, 112(6), 2993-2996. [link]