The spotted lanternfly is creating significant concern for growers in California, anxiously monitoring what kind of damage the insect is causing in states where it has been discovered. After learning of the threat that the insect poses for agriculture in Pennsylvania, Founding Chairman of PureCrop1 Ray Drysdale volunteered some of their products to see if they may be effective in combating the insect. Drysdale shared some of the successful research they have been apart of at the recent Organic Grower Summit.
“We decided to send some product to Penn State; they were very receptive to receiving the product and usually these kinds of things might take a while,” said Drysdale. “Surprisingly enough they reported back within ten days that they were very impressed, and they even sent data and pictures.”
Researchers found that the antibacterial material Drysdale sent over was having a significant effect on lanternfly populations. A particular aspect that may prove beneficial for growers is that the material is organic and safe for a number of different crops. “They used different dilution rates and the kill rate was at 98 percent and then it had a unique effectiveness after the fact,” said Drysdale.
Originally from China, spotted lanternfly was first discovered five years ago in Pennsylvania and has since spread to several other states on the East Coast. Expectations are for the pest to arrive in California at some point, which is home to a large area deemed to be a suitable habitat for the insect. Keeping the pest out of the state is especially important to producers of grapes, almonds, avocados, and walnuts, due to the amount of damage it can cause to those crops.
“This lanternfly – as more and more data is coming out – it jumps on cars, it travels to other states and the eggs sometimes will survive over the winter,” Drysdale noted. “We’ve shaken trees and they’ll just be covering branches, so they’re very invasive and they spread.”