Invasive Insect Found in Michigan Concerns Local Vineyards

GrapesA relatively new invasive insect has made its way to Michigan, causing concern for local vineyards.

The Spotted Lanternfly was first spotted in the U.S. in Pennsylvania back in 2014. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says data shows its had a big impact on crops, especially vineyards.

Mike Philip, Director of Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division with MDARD, says the insect was spotted in Pontiac a little over a week ago.

The invasive insect has a straw-like mouth that punctures the stem or branch of a plant and sucks out the sap, leaving mold and eventually killing the plant. Lanternfly feed on just about any plant, but one of its favorites is grapes, causing some concern for a local crop consultant.

“It’s a concern for multiple different levels. We don’t want the diseases and viruses to spread. We also don’t want to lose the yield and from the crop,” Mike Formisano explains.

Marcel Lenz, owner of Leelanau Wine Cellars, says he expects the insect to make its way to northern Michigan. Lenz states that, although there is some concern, they’ve been through it before with other invasive insects, and are confident they’ll be able to handle it.Spottedlanternfly2

“There’s always the concern when a pest comes they could do damage, especially economic damage. It’s going to be one more challenge, but I fully expect to overcome it. And I think we’ll be able to manage it,” Lenz said.

MDARD says there’s no cause for concern quite yet, but states we’ll have to wait and see.

“The long term prognosis remains to be seen. It’s only been just over a week since we’ve known this insect was there, but we’re optimistic that this infestation is kind of under control,” Philip says.

MDARD says if you see a Spotted Lanternfly — they suggest killing it, taking a picture and posting it on their website.