Just like that, we're already over halfway through the month of May. I don't know about you but May has been flying by. Summer is right in front of us and it's time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. Summer can pass by in the blink of an eye, so this is your friendly reminder to not waste it this year.

While you're hopefully spending as much time enjoying the warm weather as you can, you should keep this invasive species in the back of your mind. If you happen to come across this on your property, at a park, or while on a walk, you are asked to call the Entomology and Plant Science Bureau at 515-725-1470 or e-mail entomology@iowaagriculture.gov

Spotted Lanternfly

Normally, spotted lanternfly isn't something Iowans have had to worry much about. According to the USDA, this invasive species is found in states closer to the east coast. They feed off of a wide range of fruit, ornamental, and woody trees. This invasive species originates from China, India, and Vietnam and was first spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014.

The reason Iowans should be on the lookout this summer is that there were two cases of spotted lanternflies found in Dallas County, Iowa, in July of 2022. According to We Are Iowa, Spotted Lanternfly females can lay eggs on a boat, on a train car, or pretty much anywhere.

Once they make their way to a tree and attach to it, suck the sap, and reduce the products of photosynthesis, making them weak. This will eventually cause the tree to die.

Iowa DNR
Iowa DNR

While this bug prefers to feed on the invasive tree-of-heaven, it will also feed on crops, plants, grapes, apples, hops, walnuts, and hardwood trees.

According to Iowa DNR, citizens in counties that become infested with spotted lanternflies report it affects their quality of life. This can affect your ability to enjoy the outdoors as the bugs swarm the air and cover trees. The honeydew they produce can coat your deck/porch and stick to playground equipment.

Winter months feel like they last forever when you live in Iowa and summer months seem to flash by. We don't want our outdoor fun ruined by this invasive species. If you notice something you think could be spotted lanternfly, report it immediately.

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