Spotted lanterflies may be less harmful than they were feared

Researchers found good news for many hardwood trees

When spotted lanternflies appeared in the U.S. from China, their arrival raised concerns about how these sap-feeding insects would damage both native and commercial trees. But researchers have found that some hardwoods, including maples, willows and birches, may be less vulnerable than initially thought.

“Since the lanternfly was first introduced to the northeastern U.S., the question has been, ‘How at-risk are our forests?’ said Kelli Hoover, professor of entomology at Penn State. “So far, we haven’t had a good answer. Our study is the first to look at the long-term impacts of feeding pressure on northeastern hardwoods, and our results suggest that we are unlikely to see big impacts on the growth of trees.”

The findings appear in the journal Environmental Entomology.

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Header Image: Long-term research showed that hardwood trees may be less vulnerable to spotted lanternflies than initially thought. Credit: Joe Keller