Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #406614

Research Project: Integrated Production and Automation Systems for Temperate Fruit Crops

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

Title: Short- and long-term effects of season-long infestation of Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera:Fulgoridae) on young apple (Malus domestica) and peach (Prunus persica) trees

item NIXON, LAURA - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item BARNES, CAITLIN - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item Wilson, Charlotte
item Rugh, Anthony
item Carper, Garland - Lee
item Leskey, Tracy
item Tang, Lisa

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/10/2023
Publication Date: 10/16/2023
Citation: Nixon, L., Barnes, C., Wilson, C.C., Rugh, A.D., Carper Jr, G.L., Leskey, T.C., Tang, L. 2023. Short- and long-term effects of season-long infestation of Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera:Fulgoridae) on young apple (Malus domestica) and peach (Prunus persica) trees. Journal of Economic Entomology. 116(6):2062-2069.

Interpretive Summary: Spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive insect originating in Asia that has established populations in the USA. This insect is a phloem feeder with a broad host plant range, including the invasive tree of heaven as well as important cultivated plants, such as grapevine. The pest status of this insect in apple and peach orchards is unknown; although, they have been observed on both tree species. Here, we infested apple and peach trees with each life stage of SLF throughout one growing season and compared plant growth and health indicators to non-infested control trees during that year and the year following infestation. Peach trees infested with SLF were found to have slower growth in the short term and increased frost damage; however, these effects were not long-lasting; SLF did not have an effect on apple trees.

Technical Abstract: Lycorma delicatula, commonly called spotted lanternfly, is an invasive fulgorid, which was first detected in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has spread across Eastern states. Lycorma delicatula is a phloem feeder, and feeding of persistent populations can cause wilt and dieback in host plants. Vineyards in infested regions have experienced vine loss, where damage has been attributed to L. delicatula. Nymphal and adult lifestages have been observed on cultivated apple and peach trees, but feeding effect of this pest on these crops has not been quantified. Here, we caged young potted apple and peach trees, and infested them with 50 nymphal or 25 adult L. delicatula per plant for three months and tracked plant health. Horticultural measurements including trunk diameter, height, leaf drop, and photosynthesis rates were recorded before, during, and after infestation. To evaluate long-term effects of infestation, all trees were removed from pots planted in an orchard block and evaluated by monitoring the phenology, growth, and physiology of apple and peach trees the following growing season. Short- and long-term measurements showed no significant differences in apple tree health between infested and non-infested trees. There was a significant reduction in the growth of trunk diameter in peach trees during exposure to early instar nymphs; infested peach trees also had significantly increased frost damage to buds the following spring. However, there were no long-term impacts on peach growth and physiology. These results indicate that L. delicatula likely will not be a major threat to these deciduous fruit crops.