California agriculture is watching for invasive spotted lanternflies

Mar 4, 2020

The Fresno Bee has raised the alert for spotted lanternflies, a devastating pest from India, Vietnam and China that may be making inroads in California, the No. 1 agricultural area of the nation.

Reporter Ryan Sabalow wrote that winegrape grower and vintner Warren Bogle likened the pest to the coronavirus. “We definitely don't want them here,” he said. 

Reports of spotted lanternflies in California have been minimal to date. Agricultural inspectors found several dead lanternflies on cargo planes in Sacramento, Stockton and Ontario, and experts say a live spotted lanternfly may have been seen on the wall of a hotel in Davis in September. No others have been found alive, the article said.

Surendra Dara, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Luis Obispo County, said the lanternfly does pose a particular challenge for California, but the hope is that in the next few years, researchers will have the tools to wipe them out. The most likely method would be to use a “biological” method, such as introducing a natural enemy from Asian to manage the population.

“With a strong insect, just like the virus everybody is dealing with now, you need to understand the biology,” Dara said. “You have to understand every aspect of it. The more we know the better we can handle the situation.”

For more in spotted lanternfly, read an update on the invasive spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula: current distribution, pest detection efforts, and management strategies, by Dara on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources website.


By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist