Spotted Lanternfly in Virginia
Citizen Scientist Detection Program for Spotted Lanternfly in Virginia
The pilot program for the Citizen Scientist Detection Program for Spotted Lanternfly in Virginia began in 2018, soon after spotted lanternfly was first detected in Winchester, Virginia. Virginia Cooperative Extension envisioned a program where people who owned property with tree of Heaven in northern Virginia could help determine where spotted lanternfly was found and where it hadn’t arrived yet. The pilot program began with help from the Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Program. We had 20 volunteers in 2018, and 54 volunteers participated in 2019. COVID disrupted much of our plans for 2020, but we still had 46 participants helping us look for spotted lanternfly last year.
You, as a citizen scientist, can help us detect and monitor spotted lanternfly in Virginia. Some of the questions you can help us answer include, Can we find spotted lanternfly anyplace else in the surrounding area? And where should the Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services concentrate treatments for this pest? In particular, we’d like to have volunteers working in counties surrounding the known infestation to determine the leading edge of the spotted lanternfly spread. And it’s very important to remember that no detection of spotted lanternfly on your property is just as important as any positive finds.
We haven’t returned to our usual in-person spotted lanternfly training, but we hope to continue the citizen scientist program by placing these presentations online. These modules are also available for anyone interested in spotted lanternfly, including how to identify it in all of its life stages, what its life history is, and how to control it. While we hope you will join us and participate in the Citizen Scientist Detection Program, participation is not mandatory to access these videos.