Ira Plato, New Jersey, Kathleen Davis discussed on Science Friday

Science Friday


Who fought for equality. Lifted up black voices and then mysteriously disappeared. The vanishing of harry pace is a story of hidden identities any phenomenal but forgotten man. Who transformed our world. Listen on the radio feed on apple. Podcasts this is science. Friday ira plato. If you live in pennsylvania or any if it's surrounding environs you've probably seen a really interesting looking bug in the past. Few years the spotted lantern fly around this time of the year. It's in it's nymph stage but when fully grown these lantern fly. Sound a little. Like the joke. They're black and white and red all over. They've also got spots as their name suggests the good news about how interesting they look is offset of course by the bad news. They are invasive species sci-fi producer. Kathleen davis is here with her up. Close and personal experience with these bugs. Hi kathleen hello ira so kathleen. What's been bugging you funny Yeah it's interesting. So i have lived in new jersey for a little bit over a year and last year i saw probably one or two fully grown spotted lantern flies in my neighborhood in late summer. And they're really distinctive-looking. They look like moths kind of like the size of takeda for those listeners. Who have experienced brewed ten. This year Wow that's pretty big isn't it. Yeah yeah they're really big actually so this year though. The plants around my house have been covered in these little black spotted bugs and they are super distinct looking dare. I say they're a little bit cute they are. They're black and they've got these white polka dots over them. They also jumped really far if you touch them. So i thought these are really funky looking bugs. And i looked up and sure enough. They are spotted lantern fly nymphs. Well if they're an invasive species what what can we do anything about them if anything. Well i've been trying to figure that out. But i looked it up in the main advice for getting rid of them is to To stomp on them way. That's the official advice. The high tech answer stop on them. I'm not joking. The state of new jersey's official instructions for what to do. If you see a spotted lantern flight is quote. Join the battle. Beat the bug stomp it out. How well. I'm putting on my and boots. Kathleen hoping my next guests can give you some more advice. Thank you thank you. Ira and my next guest is dr julie. Urban an associate research professor in entomology at penn state university state college pennsylvania. Welcome to science. Friday high great to be here dr urban. Do you agree that the best way to deal with a spot. Atlantan fly as new jersey. Says it's to stop it out. Well it's better than the alternative which is to spread it right trying to direct the public and how to effectively manage it and not transport it and further. Contribute to its. Fred is kind of a hard issue that we've been really wrapping our brains around for quite a while so the short answer is yes. That's not to say that we're not spending a lot of a lot of money on control efforts. But yes yeah. Why don't you let me rewind a bit so we can. We can talk a bit. About how the spotted lantern fly became an invasive species. Tell us about the origin story there. Yes so the origin story actually spotted land reply was an invasive that first occurred in south korea in two thousand four and so there it was reported to damage grapes. Apple stone fruit and was a nuisance. Pests she residence so we were all primed in us and looking for it anyway and so it was first detected and reported pennsylvania department of agriculture September twenty second twenty fourteen so they knew immediately what this thing was confirmed what it was and reported it to. Usda and immediately action was taken and so It was suspected from where it occurred. And from how we know it got to south korea. And what we know about the biology of of other lantern fly. Species is that essentially the lay their eggs on anything. They don't require a host plant that their offspring can fito kahn to be viable host for their eggs and so we suspected they were transported in that egg mass state on a shipment of stone so they were either laid on the stone itself though a shepper on the palate and that's how they got here from their native range which would be somewhere from china vietnam japan or india. So we're talking about tropical bugs right. I mean the pennsylvania's and not really a tropical state while now with the nineties were having for the summer us you could. You could argue that. I mean how is it that they're establishing themselves so well in the northeast. And here's where we get into some complexity of lantern lantern. Flies are a family of plant hoppers on called forty. There's five hundred species and largely. Most of them are tropical. That's that's what i study. But there are a few that occur in more temperate habitats and spotted lantern. Fly like karma delicate. Ula is one of those. Its native range you. You find it in beijing which is forty degrees north latitude which is the same as you know the north latitude of philadelphia new york city. So this is one of the very few leonard lie species that could get here and it is able to survive these harsher temperatures in winter temperatures because it over winters in its inc stage. Not all enterprise do that. Other other species do other things so this this is just one of the few outliers of this particular family. And that's what makes them so good at spreading is that they can survive. Yes that's one of the things. That's not the only okay. What else makes them so good at spreading. They're so good at spreading because they'll feed so broadly on such a huge range of host plants. There sat feeders so more specifically their flowing feeders. And they'll feed on essentially anything except for conifers. So they feed so so there's plenty of different host plants. They can feed on their their biology doesn't have to be honed in. Just the timing of anyone plant because they're feeding on so many different things they're broadly diffused across the habitat so it's really hard to know when they're there right 'cause they're kind of spread out and then the other thing about them is that while they like a lot of things they really like one host plant in particular that also comes from their native range. I land altissimo our tree of heaven. That's an introduced invasive. That's here in the united states. It persists throughout the united states. And it's generally found in highly disturbed habitats so along railroad corridors and road sites. You know once you know what trip having looks like or smells like you're going to see it on the new jersey turnpike. You're gonna see it everywhere. Is that the one with the long thin leaves. Exactly oh i call them junk trees. they're everywhere it's The kids book a tree grows in brooklyn where the tree grows out of a crack in the sidewalk. Right and so. So basically. Because larry fly are always moving around and their eggs are laid on anything that lets the move along with. I- lantis along these corridors and said that's also able to spread and what what makes them so bad. I mean if there's so many of these trees around what are they attacking that we don't like there's two answers your question The first what are they doing. What are they attacking the that we like. They're attacking greats right. They'll feed on Different plants throughout their life cycle. But they'll feed on great throughout their whole life cycle and they'll actually damage rates and so we've seen significant economic impact in actual vineyards on the only other tree that they'll actually kill is tree of heaven otherwise they're just as stressed or to other trees. They're not gonna do a tree in and of itself but the other way. They're so damaging in terms of their direct impact is that they can move around right and so they can get into goods that have to be shipped and we have quarantines for protection to prevent leonard fly from spreading so the other place we're seeing economic impact is in the nursery industry. Because you know you can't ship. Nursery stock is. Bugs will get into him. Even they're not feeding on this plants like topiary our conference they're not gonna feed on them will certainly get into them and they'll get into into christmas trees and lay their eggs and so now we have these nurseries and christmas tree growers who have to spend a lot of money to keep them out of the products before they transport them but also anything else you know if you think about them getting here on stone they can get on anything so. This is a significant impact to any kind of company that transports anything state or international lines but the other reasons by clarify so bad is because they evade our regular bag of tricks we have to control insects so one of the things we often use to monitor insects is figure out what is their chemical cue. What is their fair mon that they use in mating because then if we can use that we can build a lure and build a trap when he can use that for detection and traffic while nobody's found a fair amount for sided. Leonard fly no plant hoppers known to use a ceremony. Not.

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