Iowa officials confirm invasive spotted lanternflies found in Dallas County
Two spotted lanternflies were recently confirmed in Dallas County, and state officials are encouraging residents to report any additional sightings of the invasive insects.
Laura Iles of the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic said two nymphs, the immature stage of the spotted lanternfly, were recently detected in Dallas County.
“This is a good time to have people all checking their yards and things like that and reporting it to us,” Iles said.
An Associated Press story described the nymphs as a black, weevil-like bug with white spots. The insect will add bright red patches as it develops into a flying insect. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said in the AP report that lanternflies are native to China, India and Vietnam. The insects were accidentally introduced into Pennsylvania in 2014 and have been confirmed in 11 states.
Iles said the lanternflies often feed on tree-of-heaven. She added that the insects also feed on grapes and vines, walnut, maple and oak trees.
Iles said it’s too early to know what the potential impact may be in Iowa. With the confirmed sightings of two nymphs in Dallas County, that means the insect has been detected but she said “we don’t know yet if we have a population in Iowa.”
Additional sightings of lanternflies will help confirm whether a population has been established in Iowa. Iles said it’s important for the public to keep an eye out.
“We really need at least a photo or the insect itself to confirm an infestation, as there are lookalikes,” she added.
Sightings of lanternflies should be reported to the ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic or Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
“In general with invasive insects, we always encourage people if they see something unusual that they haven’t seen before to take a picture and report it to us,” Iles said. “Citizens paying attention is how we find a lot of these invasive insects.”
Allison Ullmann is the editor and reporter for the Perry Chief and Dallas County News. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.