In 2020, the invasive spotted lanternfly (SLF, Lycorma delicatula) – native to China and first identified in Eastern PA in 2014 — had reached Western Pennsylvania. I knew Ohio was soon to follow, so I began recruiting students at Franciscan University of Steubenville (near the Eastern Ohio border) to initiate a dual-[multi-]purpose study. Melody Vetrovec answered this call, and together we initiated an ongoing study in 2021. The goals of the study:
- Monitor for the arrival and spread of SLF along their 2020-2021 western extent (i.e., the OH/WV border).
- Analyze the long-term impacts of SLF on local insect and plant communities using before/after invasion data.
- Create a research framework within/from which many undergraduate students could ask novel questions so as to gain formative research experience.
Through 2023, the accomplishments of this research program include:
- 7 research students, 3000+ surveys
- 20 survey locations in Jefferson Co (OH), Hancock Co (WV), and Brooke Co (WV).
- 2021: 3rd ever SLF documented in Ohio. (See here and here).
- 2021-2023: more SLF captured than any other non-government agency in Ohio.
- 2021: 1
- 2022: 31
- 2023: 2000+
- 2023: Received USDA APHIS PPDMDPP PPA 7721 federal funding to expand study.
- 2023: student manuscript submitted for publication
- 2 student side-projects: biochemistry thesis examining ailanthone chemical and research comparing efficacy of SLF trapping on grape vines vs trees.
Interested in getting involved? Contact Dr. Payne!
Current range map: https://cornell.app.box.com/v/slf-distribution-map-detail