Summer in New Jersey
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, we pack our weekends with trips down the shore, boating on our lakes, and backyard BBQs. Ahhh, the great outdoors is how we like to spend summers in New Jersey.
But now we have an invader to contend with and we have had it!
Are you tired of stepping on Spotted Lantern Flies? Concerned about their impact on New Jersey vineyards and orchards? Montclair State is doing something about it! Research in our College of Science and Mathematics is aimed at discovering a way to control Spotted Lanternflies without harming pollinators (like bees and butterflies) or other important and beneficial insects.
Lycorma delicatula, commonly known as the Spotted Lantern Fly, are a persistent problem with limited effective methods of extermination. Studies show that insecticides or less toxic methods like glue sticky pads on tree trunks can all be effective. However, as the insect continues to affect New Jersey agriculture and personal homes and gardens, an environmentally sustainable method of control is needed. Surprisingly, fungi have been found to be a promising possibility for biocontrol. In a 2020 study by a research group led by Eric Clifton of Cornell University, a single application of Beauveria bassiana (a common fungus known to infect insects) reduced young Spotted Lantern Flies by as much as 48% and can further decrease adult populations after 2 weeks. Using fungi may be an innovative method of biocontrol when considering the harmful effects insecticides can pose on sensitive populations of beneficial insects. To deploy this method of control safely, a much deeper understanding of the fungi associated with the Spotted Lantern Fly is required.
With increasing globalization comes the increasing challenge of invasive species affecting ecosystem health, agriculture and human well-being. The Spotted Lantern Fly is a recent invader with especially destructive impacts on New Jersey agriculture and gardens. The objective of our research is to understand the fungal biome of the Spotted Lantern Fly and its direct environment in the hopes of isolating an environmentally friendly biocontrol agent.
With your help, we can better understand the microbiology of this insect pest and even help work to develop an environmentally safe management strategy. We will study the DNA of the insects themselves and their environment using the most cutting-edge technology allowing for a deep and sophisticated understanding. This technology comes at a cost, but the reward is profound. This information will ultimately help farmers and gardeners manage this insect pest.
Please help support our research and make a gift today!