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spotted lanternfly
Press Alley News & Views

Spotted lanternfly egg masses intercepted in California

June 11, 2024

The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) is bringing attention to the discovery of recent spotted lanternfly (SLF) egg masses on a shipment originating from New York and destined for Sonoma County. The egg masses were intercepted at the Truckee Border Protection Station in late March. This is the first finding of SLF egg masses in California.

CAWG is highlighting this now, because if other SLF egg masses have arrived in California undetected, they may produce adult SLFs in the coming weeks, with peak populations expected in late summer or early fall. SLF has the potential to affect the entire winegrape industry.

“This is essentially a public service announcement to raise awareness of how to identify a spotted lanternfly and the immediate action to take if discovered,” said Natalie Collins, President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. “Spotted lanternflies have been found in 18 states and have proven to pose a serious threat to vineyards. These invasive insects feed on the sap of grapevines, while also leaving behind a sticky honeydew residue on the clusters and leaves. Their activities stress the plants, decrease vine health, and in some cases, can lead to plant death.”

Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted lanternfly sighting? The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) says, “Snag it. Snap it. Report it.”

CAWG applauds the strategic planning undertaken by UDSA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in implementing preventative measures aimed at mitigating the spread of SLF. Additionally, CAWG commends CDFA’s inspection station teams for their diligent efforts in inspecting loads entering the state and the Pierce’s Disease Control Program for their research and mitigation of invasive pests, including the SLF.

Adult SLFs are typically visible from July through November and have the ability to fly, although not very far. The one-inch-long adults look quite different at rest than they do while flying. At rest, with their wings folded, they are a dull tan-gray color with black spots. During flight, the adult’s open wings reveal a bright red, black, and white pattern.

The SLF is an invasive planthopper native to Asia, first discovered in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2014, and has quickly spread to neighboring states. SLFs are described as “hitchhikers” as the egg masses can look like cakes of mud and are transported on trailers, RVs, semi-trucks, containers, trains, and other forms of shipping and transportation. Egg masses hatch in May/June and the adult SLFs are visible soon thereafter.

  • If a SLF is found in California, reporting is easy at (800) 491-1899 or www.CDFA.CA.GOV/Plant/ReportAPest
  • The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) says, “Snag it. Snap it. Report it.”

For more information:

Penn State Extension has information on its website relative to how Pennsylvania grape growers are dealing with SLFs in their vineyards.

Last year, VineRoutes reported on the threat of spotted lanternfly to Ontario’s vineyards, citing that the vineyard pest was detected in upstate New York, and although it is not a great flyer, it is a good stowaway and hitchhiker. The article mentioned that SLF adults have been intercepted in shipments coming into Canada. Read the article here.


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