NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has confirmed the spotted lanternfly (SLF) has been found in Davidson County.
Officials said Tennessee is the 16th state to detect SLF since it was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014.
While visually stunning with their bright colors and spots, SLF are invasive insects and can spread long distances when people and vehicles move infested material or items containing egg masses.
“Our Plant Certification Section inspectors responded to a tip from a vigilant citizen about a sighting of spotted lanternfly,” Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “This non-native insect is harmful to a range of crops and natural resources in our state. Wood products businesses and fruit growers could be especially vulnerable, and we want your help in watching out for this pest and eliminating any you find.”
According to officials, adult SLF emerge in late summer and early fall and are nearly one inch long and one-half an inch wide. Their favored host is a Tree of Heaven and the flies tend to prefer grape vines and fruit trees. However, SLF may also appear in other trees such as black walnut, maple and yellow-poplar.
Signs of a tree infested with SLF include defoliation, wilting, dieback, yield loss, and in severe cases, death.
SLF adults and nymphs usually gather in large amounts on host plants and feed on nutrients and water. They also lay eggs on host plant trunks and other flat surfaces.
If you see SLF or an egg mass, authorities urge you to take pictures and complete this form. Then, stomp on SLF and destroy egg masses by smashing or drenching them with rubbing alcohol.
The public is also urged to check their vehicles, boats, or campers to make sure they aren’t carrying any SLF or eggs.
The Department of Agriculture said the State Entomologist and Plant Certification Section staff are studying SLF samples, carrying out surveillance, and conducting research on the insects.