CALVERT COUNTY, Md. — Residents and local agriculture enthusiasts are on high alert as spotted lanternflies (Lycorma delicatula) have made their unwelcome presence known in Calvert County. Originally native to eastern Asia, these invasive insects pose a significant threat to North American agriculture due to their extensive dietary preferences and lack of known predators in the region.
In its metamorphic phase, the spotted lanternfly transitions from a red and black nymph adorned with white spots to an adult of approximately one inch in size, showcasing delicate wings dotted with black spots. The nymphs are particularly concerning for local farmers and gardeners. They have been identified as voracious eaters, feeding on various fruit, ornamental, and woody trees. Common crops such as grapes, apples, hops, walnuts, and various hardwood trees are at risk.
Additionally, homeowners and outdoor enthusiasts should remain vigilant. Adult lanternflies are known to deposit half-inch-long egg masses on stationary objects found outdoors, further exacerbating the spread of this pest.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture actively seeks the public’s help to track and manage the lanternfly population. Residents who come across the spotted lanternfly in its nymph or adult stage are urged to take a clear photograph and promptly send it along with specific location details to DontBug.MD@maryland.gov. This initiative will assist the department in determining the extent of the infestation and strategizing control measures effectively.
Further information, including comprehensive details about the lanternfly’s life cycle and methods to properly dispose of discovered egg masses, can be found on the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s spotted lanternfly information page. Residents must familiarize themselves with this information, ensuring swift and appropriate actions when encountering these pests.
The sudden emergence of the spotted lanternfly in North America highlights the broader challenges faced by regions worldwide due to invasive species. These pests threaten local ecosystems and can have detrimental effects on local economies, particularly sectors heavily reliant on agriculture.
Officials monitor the situation closely, and timely public cooperation is vital. As with many invasive species, early detection and management can make a significant difference in controlling the spread and minimizing damage.
Residents must remain vigilant, continuously check their surroundings, especially outdoors, and report any sightings to the provided email address. Through collective action and awareness, Calvert County hopes to address the spotted lanternfly challenge head-on and protect its rich agricultural heritage.