Linda Geist
  • Spotted lanternfly.Photo courtesy Penn State Extension
    Spotted lanternfly.Photo courtesy Penn State Extension

PALMYRA, Mo. – “The genie’s out of the bottle” on the spotted lanternfly, University of Missouri Extension entomologist Kevin Rice told farmers Feb. 8 at the second annual NEMO Soils and Crop Conference in Palmyra.

Rice gave farmers an update on insects to watch in the upcoming growing season. He urged them to contact him when they find these invasive pests so he can track their presence in the state.

Entomologists spotted the spotted lanternfly in Pennsylvania in 2014 and Virginia, Delaware and New York in January 2018. It likely is making its way to Missouri, Rice said. The plant hopper’s eggs travel on metal objects such as railroad cars, boats and tractor-trailers. Its primary host plant is grapes, but it also affects other fruit and ornamental trees, and hops. It was observed feeding on soybean and corn in Pennsylvania in 2017. Its honeydew secretions attract other pests to feed.

The adult spotted lanternfly’s forewing is gray with black spots, and the wingtips are black blocks outlined in gray. It has distinguishing bright orange-red and white underwings.

Another insect with the potential to make its way to mid-Missouri soon is the redbanded stink bug, which is already in southeastern Missouri. The Brazilian native feeds on soybean pods. Louisiana and Arkansas soybean growers consider it a major pest. Rice says it often makes a comeback, even after sprayed with insecticides. It feeds on numerous host plants, including legumes such as clover. There can be several generations each year.

Identification of the redbanded stink bug is critical, Rice said, as the allowable threshold is lower than for other stink bugs. It is often confused with the red-shouldered stink bug. Plant early to prevent this late-season pest, Rice says. There are no resistant plant varieties.

Stink bugs puncture pods, reducing quality and yield. Rice, who began as an MU entomologist in January, brings years of research on the brown marmorated stink bug to MU. The population of this voracious eater exploded in 2010. It has been identified in seven Missouri counties and is considered a nuisance pest at this point. Most complaints currently come from homeowners in urban areas, but Rice says it will not be long before it affects agricultural crops.

It feeds on more than 300 plant species, eating on the edge of fields before attacking corn at R3 and R4 stages and soybean at R4-6 stages.

Rice recommends frequent scouting of fields and wooded areas near fields. Use pyrethroids and neonicotinoid-pyrethroid mixtures on field borders, he says.

Japanese beetles continue to be a pest in Missouri. They feed on corn silks and reduce ear fill. Rice recommends treatment when three or more adults per ear are present during silking. They cause defoliation of soybean leaves but rarely cause economic loss. They defoliate the leaves of trees and garden crops. Learn more about the Japanese beetle at

Report your findings to Rice at or 573-771-7386.