Invasive Pest Alert – the Spotted Lanternfly

The Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (White), is a plant hopper that is native to China, India and Vietnam and has become a major pest in eastern PA and in 8 counties in western NJ.   It has been spotted in Ewing landscapes.  They like over 70 different plant species, including fruit trees, ornamental trees, woody trees, vegetables, herbs and vines, as well as agricultural crops like grapes and hops.

The pest strongly prefers another invasive, the “Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima, also from Asia.”   It is an excellent hitchhiker, so if you travel to and from areas where it has been currently found, you should search your vehicle, your clothing and your car load thoroughly, to help prevent its spread.

The Spotted Lanternfly is rather beautifully colored in its life stages.   The adult is approximately 1 inch long and a half inch wide at rest. The forewing is grey with black spots and the wings tips are reticulated black blocks outlined in gray. The hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band. The legs and head are black; the abdomen is yellow with broad black bands. Immature stages are black with white spots and develop red patches as they grow.  Before it’s a beautiful fly, it’s a nymph.  In the early stages it’s black later it turns red in July-September and eventually it looks like the fly and can be seen July – December.

How to help stop the spread of this invasive species

Remove them: If you see egg masses, scrape them off, double bag them and throw them away. You can also place the eggs into alcohol, bleach, or hand sanitizer to kill them.

Collect a specimen: Specimens of any life stage can be turned in to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s lab for verification.

Take a picture: A photograph of any life stage (including egg masses) can be submitted to SLF-plantindustry@ag.nj.gov.

Report a siting: If you can’t take a specimen or photograph, call the New Jersey Spotted Lanternfly Hotline at 1-833-223-2840 (BADBUG0) and leave a message detailing your sighting and contact information.

NJ Dept of Agriculture Handouts

Norway Maple – EEC Plant of the Month (Not!)

by Ann Farnham, LLA

Norway maple, Acer platanoides

No! Don’t plant this!

This maple tree is seen almost everywhere in the United States north of Hardiness Zone 7 and west to Minnesota. Native to Europe, it has thrived in the U.S.A. since it was introduced in the 18th century to Philadelphia by John Bartram, an early American botanist and horticulturist.

Acer platanoides adapts to extremes in soil (acid or alkaline, clay, sand), compaction, hot and dry weather, air pollution, and either full sun to part shade. As a result, its toughness has contributed to over-use as a street tree (especially after the Elm tree die-out), lawn specimen, and park tree. It has become invasive, crowding out native plants in our woodlands and forests because of its heavy seed crop and high germination rate, and site adaptability. Pests and diseases (Powdery mildew, Verticillium wilt, Anthracnose, Leaf scorch,) have not diminished its spread but the recent arrival of the Asian long-horned beetle may change that for the Norway maple as well as for all the native maples.

Why not?…

Why has the Norway maple fallen out of favor?

  1. It crowds out our native plants, about which we have become more appreciative and knowledgeable.
  2. It is very shallow-rooted, starving other plants of moisture and sunlight, so nothing can grow under its wide canopy (especially lawn grass and most ground covers); the roots also heave sidewalks and streets.
  3. It is fast growing and thereby brittle, causing extensive damage from breakage. Norway maple has been banned in New Hampshire, Maine, and New York.

This Maple is easily confused with our native Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum. They both have opposite, simple, 3 to 5 lobed, dark green, pointed leaves, but the Norway maple leaves are slightly larger, 4 to 7” across as opposed to the 3 to 6” Sugar Maple leaves. The Norway maple has a milky sap which can be extracted from its petioles (the leaf stalk) whereas the Sugar Maple sap is clear. The seeds in both species, samaras, are flattened, two-winged, and differ considerably as can be seen in the photographs.

Norway maple will occasionally reach 90’ in height although 40-50’ high is the average, with a spread 2/3 or equal to the height. It casts very deep shade. The fall foliage is usually yellow and the tree holds its leaves longer than other maples do. The wood is yellowish-white to pale red, and has been used for furniture making although the wood is reportedly not durable.

There are dozens of varieties of Norway maple which include a range of growth habits and leaf color, such as that of ‘Crimson King’ and ‘Dissectum’, which will doubtless continue to make this tree popular. Work is ongoing to develop sterile varieties.

To learn more about invasive plants, go to nps.gov/plants/alien and www.maipic.org

The Ewing Environmental Commission welcomes suggestions for the Plant of the Month from all Ewing residents.

Environmental Insights Program on Invasive Species June 24th

The latest entry in the Environmental Insights Series is set for next Wednesday, June 24th at 7 pm  – Invasive Species in the Landscape: Together, We Can Nip Them in the Bud, a presentation and discussion led by Susan Brookman, Executive Director of the New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team. (Click to see event flyer)

butterfly_bushWhat is an invasive species? Do I have them in my home landscape? And why is it so important that they be eradicated? These are questions that will be answered during this informative presentation.   Susan Brookman, Executive Director of the Strike Team says that invasive species cost an estimated $140 billion in annual loses in the US.  They cause great damage to the local ecosystem, crowding out natives and are considered the second greatest threat to biodiversity worldwide.  Despite the damage they cause, they are still readily available at nurseries in New Jersey.

According to Brookman, detecting invasive species early is the key to successful control.  “If we can catch an invasive species soon after it arrives, we have a chance to nip it in the bud and keep it from establishing a viable population in New Jersey.  It’s easy to see the damage done by widespread invasive species like Dutch elm disease, the European gypsy moth and Japanese knotweed.  It makes a lot of sense to spend a little effort figuring out which non-native species have the potential to wreak havoc, and then spend a little more effort to eradicate them.  The alternative – letting them spread and then dealing with their impacts – costs so much, both to our pocketbooks and to our state’s agricultural and natural heritage.

And, if you have a smartphone and spend time outdoors, the Strike Team would like your help.  Thanks to a grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, it has developed a NewJersey Invasives app to enable people with smartphones learn about, identify and report invasive species.  With the app, a user who sees something they suspect may be an invasive species can scroll through photos to identify what they see, read information about it, then take a picture and submit a report – it’s that simple!  Members of the Strike Team’s Technical Advisory Committee (experts in the fields of botany, entomology, aquatic biology and the like) verify each sighting and add the information to the on-line database the Strike Team uses to track the spread of problem species.

About the Strike Team

striketeamThe New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team, http://njisst.org/, works to stop the spread of new invasive species – plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms that are not native to New Jersey whose presence is likely to damage the health of our environment, economy or our citizens.  It works with counterparts across the mid-Atlantic to catalog non-native species and assess their threat levels.  It creates an annual list of target species and then encourages conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts to be on the lookout for them.  When invasive species are detected, the Strike Team offers guidance to property owners to help them eradicate the problem species.

Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Time: 7 pm
Location: Ewing Senior and Community Center (Community Room), 999 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing, NJ
Details:  All are welcome