East End vineyards brace for unwanted pest -- the spotted lanternfly
Spotted lanternflies have been spotted all across Long Island, leaving East End vineyards worried that the pesky pests could threaten their livelihood.
Bill Ackerman, the manager and consultant for Duckwalk Vineyards and Pindar, is keeping a watchful eye out for the spotted lanternfly because the invasive species can wreak havoc on vineyards.
"The insect is making inroads here," says Ackerman.
Experts with Cornell Cooperative Extension say the tiny insects are migrating further east.
"We've had reports of individually being seen in Hampton Bays, Montauk, Riverhead, Baiting Hollow," says Entomologist Dan Gilrein with Cornell Cooperative Extension. "The problem it poses for agriculture are primarily a concern for vineyards because they can kill grapevines.
MORE: Have you seen a spotted lanternfly? Here's what you need to know about the risk, and what to do if you see one.
The spotted lanternflies target the vines, which are filled with sap. Once the spotted lanternflies latch onto the vine, they can literally suck the life out of acres of crops.
"They bore into the plant, and they suck all the sap out of it, which is like sucking blood out of your body, it obviously kills the plants," says Ackerman.
Ackerman says he's prepared to protect his vineyards against the destructive insect.
Experts say spotted lanternflies often lay eggs on vehicles, which is one way they can travel from one area to another.