The invasive Spotted Lanternfly is at it again. Feeding the bees during what would normally be a dearth period.
If you’re from the East coast of the United States, you know about the recent invasion of the spotted lanternfly from China. It is causing all kinds of problems here. I live at ground zero for the pest, as it was first discovered just a few miles from here. Some places, they fly across the road while you’re driving like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. I recently noticed my bees lapping up their sugary waste products, which rain down from the trees and collect on leaves below. Spotted lanternflies are very similar to aphids, only much larger. The excrement of aphids is called honeydew, and bees have been known to collect it and produce a honey-like substance. It seems that lanternfly waste is similar in composition, because I discovered my bees collecting it excitedly, along with bumblebees and butterflies.
While inspecting some colonies today, I could see the uncapped “nectar” of these bugs. It was as black and shiny as motor oil, and filled every available cell. This is a brand new thing for me, so time will tell how this odd source of sugar affects the bees, and whether spotted lanternfly “honey” will be a hit.