DNR: Michigan’s First Detection of Spotted Lanternfly Found in Oakland County

Michigan’s first detection of the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive insect native to eastern Asia, has been found in Oakland County.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Gary McDowell confirmed that a small population of the insect was detected in Pontiac last week, and the United States Department of Agriculture confirmed the discovery on Wednesday.

“Although not unexpected, this is certainly tough news to share due to its potential to for it to negatively impact Michigan’s grape industry,” said McDowell. “Spotted lanternfly has been moving closer to the state over the last few years. MDARD, along with our state, local and federal partners, has been working tirelessly to inform and educate growers and the public about this highly invasive insect.”

The Spotted Lanternfly was first spotted in the U.S. in 2014 in southeastern Pennsylvania. Since then, they have spread quickly and have been sighted in Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

The insect moves easily on firewood, tires, campers, cars and more. They prefer to feed on the invasive tree of heaven, but also feed on plants such as grapes and trees such as the black walnut, river birch, willow, sumac and red maple.

Prevention and early detection, according to the DNR, are vital to limiting the spread of the lanternfly. To help limit the spread of the insect, you can do the following:

  • Check Your Vehicle: Before leaving a parking lot or work site, inspect vehicles for spotted lanternfly egg or insects. Check doors, sides, bumpers, wheel wells, grills, and roofs. If found, destroy any eggs or insects you find.
  • Park with Windows Closed: The spotted lanternfly and its nymphs can enter vehicles unsuspectedly. When parked, make sure to keep windows closed.
  • Remove and Destroy Pests: Crush nymphs and adult insects. Scrape egg masses into a plastic bag containing hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol to kill them.
  •  Remove Host Trees: Spotted lanternflies prefer the ailanthus tree, also known as “tree of heaven.” Try to remove trees from properties to avoid attracting spotted lanternfly.
  • Report Sightings: Send in required photos to Eyes in the Field. Photos are necessary to verify a report and to aid in identification.

If you find a spotted lanternfly egg mass, nymph or adult, the DNR recommends that you take one or more pictures, make note of the date, time and location, and report it online to Eyes in the Field.

For more information on identifying or reporting spotted lanternfly, click here.