Spotted lanternfly confirmed in Illinois, posing limited threat to agriculture

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has confirmed the first detection of Spotted Lanternfly in the state, but a field crop entomologist says it poses little threat to agriculture.

Nick Seiter with the University of Illinois tells Brownfield while the pest does not impact livestock or row crops, grape growers should keep an eye out.

“They do very well on grapes, apparently, and they can cause some pretty serious damage to grapevines if they’re left unchecked.”

He says the insect releases honeydew when feeding in trees which could also be a nuisance for agri-tourism operations if populations increase.

“Like vineyards, orchards, places where people gather in the fall outside to pick pumpkins, pick apples, things like that. “If these insects are in that area, they can cause a mess and it it’s very disruptive and annoying.”

Seiter says anyone who sees a spotted lanternfly should take a picture and send it the IDOA or email it to for confirmation and to help track the pest.

The Spotted Lanternfly is native to eastern Africa and entered the US in Pennsylvania in 2014. It has just recently spread to the Midwest having also been confirmed in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Seiter says it most likely spreads from laying eggs on long-haul transportation vehicles like trucks and trains. It does not pose any risk to human or animal health.

Photo Credit: University of Illinois Extension

Audio: Interview with Nick Seiter

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