Sunday, September 19, 2021

By Joan Gralla

It’s not venomous, doesn’t sting or bite or spread diseases, and has appealing red, white and black polka dot wings.

But the spotted lanternfly is destructive in others ways. It has an "insatiable appetite for the sap of fruit, ornamental and woody plants," Penn State’s College of Agriculture Sciences wrote in a 2020 report.

According to New York State's Department of Agriculture and Markets' website, it feeds on more than 70 different plants. Suffolk’s vineyards and orchards already have been told to prepare, officials said.

"We’ll have to be very vigilant," said Chris Logue, director of the department's plant industry division.

What does it look like?

Adults are easy to spot. They are large: an inch long, a half-inch wide at rest and have a striking appearance.

"It’s very unique," said Carrie Brown-Lima, director of the New York Invasive Species Research Institute at Cornell University.

What's so bad about it?

Spotted lanternflies feed on more than six dozen plants, including apples, grapes, hops, stone fruits and hardwood trees.

In Pennsylvania, where this bug evidently rode in on a stone slab from China in 2014, yearly economic losses five years later were just over $50 million, and 484 jobs were lost, Penn State's report said.

Late-summer and autumn wine tourists and apple and pumpkin pickers all should scan their vehicles, especially under fenders and hood air vents where these pests can hide.

Where has it been spotted?

As of April, nine states had infestations and "single individual insects" had been spotted in seven others, said Melody Keena, a U.S. Forest Service research entomologist.

This map from Cornell University shows reported sightings as of this week, including on Long Island.

At least two Nassau residents and one in Suffolk have spotted and slain the insects, and in New York City, they have washed up on Staten Island beaches.

"We probably have had, over a couple of days at the end of August, somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 reports," Logue said.

Dyanna Wunsch, 49, of Wantagh, opened her front door recently to spy one "just walking across our doormat," she said.

"It freaked me out," she said, having never seen anything quite like it. Posting the picture her daughter took on social media, she asked if anyone could identify it.

"Immediately people started saying ‘Kill it,’ and everything you read just says ‘Kill it,’ " she said. So armed with wasp pesticide, she hunted it down, finding it clinging to the porch railing, and reported it.

She said it might have hitched a ride on her car after a recent trip to Pennsylvania's Pike County, about 90 miles from midtown Manhattan, where this invader has foraged since at least 2019.

Maria Weigel, 56, of Massapequa, immediately recognized it when one appeared on her property.

"It had hopped right in, onto the deck and right up to the back door," she said. Her husband carried out the execution.

She reported the sighting and shared it on social media. "I’m just glad that I found it when I did and spread the word."

How did they get here?

All too often, they escape attempts to quarantine them. For instance, Logue noted they can travel on empty rail cars that may be left unattended at interstate junctions; Keena said they have been found on planes landing in California, which relies on exports of crops and wines. One specimen recently turned up at the Kansas state fair, experts noted.

Where does it lay eggs?

Now is the prime time to be on guard, not just for adult lanternflies, but also the egg masses they will soon lay. Those are approximately an inch long and resemble a smear of mud.

The egg masses will be encased in "a gray waxy material on smooth surfaces, often tree bark, but also on a wide variety of natural and manufactured items, including stone, cinder blocks, automobiles, rail cars and shipping pallets," Keena said.

"I have seen hundreds of egg masses on single preferred trees in Pennsylvania," Keena said.

Those egg masses can be hard to spot in wooded areas. In vineyards, they were found at the base of a vine, where the grass is forming, Brown-Lima said.

Spotted lanternflies also release a sticky fluid scientists call honeydew that draws other bugs and becomes fuel for mold. And in swarms, this invasive species can be unpleasant to encounter.

It's 'Heaven' they're after

Long Island is often home to this pest’s favorite host: the Tree of Heaven.

Growing as tall as 80 feet, it has multiple, narrow leaflets on either side of long stems.

This Chinese sumac, imported in 1784 to Philadelphia via England, arrived in Flushing in 1820, where it was "publicized, planted and cultivated" as a "fast-growing, exotic shade tree," said the nonprofit Ecological Landscape Alliance. Seeds were even distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Well aware his trio of backyard Trees of Heaven, too huge to easily remove, could lure spotted lanternflies, Frank Piccininni of Huntington said he instead girdled them. Slicing a ring into the trunk below the lowest branch stops the sap from rising, slowly killing the tree. The shoots must be repeatedly removed, he said.

An environmental lawyer with a master's degree in biology, he at once knew what to do when a spotted lanternfly flew into his brother-in-law's face at a recent backyard picnic in Huntington.

"I thought I had to kill it as quickly as I could and tell everybody else to be on the lookout." So he did.

How to report sightings

See it, kill it, then report it, is what the state is asking the public to do. Also, scrape off any egg masses, then soak in soapy water.

If you're in New York, follow these steps:

  • Take a photo
  • Collect a sample and place it in a freezer or in a jar with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer
  • Fill out this form

Report locations of Tree of Heaven, too.

If you're outside of New York, follow the instructions on the USDA's website under "Where's the Threat and How to Report It."

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SILVER LAKE EXPERIENCE (SLE) - Registration now Open for this August 4-6, 2022's SLE. See:


Walter D. “Pete” Mairs, 81, died peacefully on July 23, 2021. Born in Avon, N.Y., on Sept. 3, 1939, Pete was a longtime resident of Geneva, N.Y., and these past many years in Buffalo, N.Y., as well as his beloved Silver Lake. Pete is survived by his wife, Linda Bergstrom Mairs, a loving and true companion; children, Mimi C. Mairs, Jonathan B. Mairs; sisters, June Huff, Helen Dole; brother, Thomas Mairs; stepchildren, Daniel Brinkworth, Jennie Ramsey; sister-in-law, Anne Bergstrom, eight beautiful grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. A service and celebration of life is planned for the fall when all can share the joy of Pete’s life together. Arrangements by Stephenson – Dougherty Funeral Home, Avon, N.Y.

Editor's Note: It was a privilege knowing and working with Pete Mairs during his presidency of the Silver Lake Institute. He was a kind and gentle man, but also firm in his leadership. I served as Treasurer and Chaplain of SLI during those years and I could always depend on Pete's presence in the worship service. He was a man of faith and a gem of a human being. May he rest in God's care.


Gerald C. Sahrle, 80, of Perry, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He was born on Oct. 10, 1941, in Wayland, N.Y., to the late Charles A. and Helen I. (Blowers) Sahrle. Gerry was a line foreman for 32 1/2 years for NYSE&G, working out of the Perry and Hamburg locations, and was a Town of Perry Councilman. He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Constellation Lodge -404 in Perry. He was an avid fisherman, hunter and woodworker. He is survived by his wife, Valary A. (Conley) Sahrle; 1 son, Gerald (Pamela) Sahrle II of Silver Springs; 2 sisters, Millie Edmond of Greece, Bonnie Fink of Winston-Salem, N.C., 3 brothers, Ronald (Linda) Sahrle of Dansville, Robert (Susan) Sahrle of Springwater, Kenneth Sahrle of Dansville; 5 grandchildren, Bradley Musscarella, Stone and Winston Sahrle, Conley and Cooper Gayton; along with many nieces, nephews and friends. Along with his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Thomas Sahrle, who passed away in 2012. Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Gerry will be laid to rest in West Perry Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Perry Center Fire Department, P.O. Box 204, Perry, NY 14530. For more information, please call (585) 237-2626 or to leave a message of condolence, visit Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 North Main Street, Perry, NY 14530.

Editor's Note: Gerald and Valarie could always be seen in the family pew with Pamela, Stone and Winston at Perry First United Methodist Church and continue to be loved. Gerry will be sorely missed. Both were supporters of the Arts at the Silver Lake Institute and Valarie was active in painting and participating in the Annual Show in August. Valarie's presence was always valued and appreciated.


"Kathy P." passed November 8, 2021, of Hamburg and Boston, NY. Beloved daughter of Joseph and Barbara Michalak; loving sister of Daniel Michalak; devoted wife of the late Jeffrey Praczkajlo; cherished mother of Jennifer (Shawn) Jump; loving babcia of Lily Jump; also survived by many beloved family members and friends who became her family. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Editor's Note: "Kathy P." as she was better known to us at Silver Lake was an annual summer visitor for most of the last number of years at the invitation of Silver Laker Julia Hoffner. She stayed at the Hoffner Cottage, and became known as both the fun visitor with the vivacious smile to the neighbors at the intersection of Haven Ave. and the Ames Walkway. Kathy P. and Julie could be seen walking and talking between the cottage and the Hoffner boathouse where they could be close to the water. She was also occasionally seen at the Saturday morning breakfasts at Stoody Hall. Her stay was anywhere between 4 days and a week where she had the opportunity to develop a love for Silver Lake. She was not yet eligible for retirement when late last week she developed "a cold" and had to remain home from her job. She did not update her condition over the weekend so the local police made a wellness visit and found her deceased on Monday. She was one of those many people who found Silver Lake and friendship for brief respites where she also found new strength and energy to return to work. She is being particularly mourned by those in the Haven/Ames neighborhood. She will be memorialized next summer at the annual Celebration of Life Memorial Service at Epworth Hall.


Brenda Joan Paddock, 82, of Perry, born April 15, 1939, now resides in heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brenda met Jesus as her Savior in 1965. She met him in person on Nov. 14, 2021. She had a beautiful homecoming with music, singing and praying, leading her into Glory. Her last words were “I am well, I am well.”

Brenda’s greatest loves were her family and friends. Brenda had five children with her husband Roger: Don and Daelene Paddock of Florida, Jody and Tim Von Sanden of Pavilion, Bradley and Jeanie Paddock of Warsaw, Jennifer and Paul Guy of Massachusetts, and Nathan and Jill Paddock of Perry.

Brenda dearly loved her grandchildren: Jessica Morillo, Nikki and Clint O’Brien, Luke Paddock, Paul Paddock, Ian and Brooklyn Paddock, Joe and Louana Paddock, Burke and Megan Paddock, Aaron Paddock, Ellen Paddock, Andrew Paddock, Rachael Paddock, Abigail Paddock, Erik and Cassandra Von Sanden, Jacquelyn and Michael Jones, Tim Von Sanden, Brandon and Brandee Paddock, Jamey and Laura Paddock, Peter and Kara Guy, Candy and Jay Waitkevich, Marlo and Ryan Bolger and Jenna and Rory Peterson.

Brenda was blessed and loved her great grandchildren: Chloe, Olivia and Nicholas Von Sanden, Joshua and Jaxon Morillo, Jameson and Cassandra O’Brien, Atlas Paddock, Noah and Ezra Jones, Colton, Brantley and Charlotte Guy, Cameron Waitkevich, Amelia Bolger and Brennen Leonard.

Brenda is also survived by her brother and sister in laws; Frank and Emma Paddock, Viva and Jim Phillips-Richardson and Kurt and Lynn Paddock.

Brenda first started working as a secretary at Perry Central School. She then assisted her husband building Paddock’s Breeding Service. Roger and Brenda together built and ran the Sandsabarn teenage nightclub. Brenda was owner and operator of Serendipity Travel. Brenda’s pleasures included playing organ and piano. She played at a number of area churches along with performing for her loved ones. UPDATED -- Brenda also played with conviction at both indoor and outdoor services at the Silver Lake Institute where her grandson, Luke, sang at Epworth Hall on several occasions and was appreciated by all who heard his inspiring voice.

Brenda was preceded in death by her parents Noble and Freda Buckland, her husband Roger and son Bradley.

A Committal service at West Perry Cemetery will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17 at 11 a.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at LaGrange Baptist Church at 4 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made in Brenda’s honor to the LaGrange Baptist Church 7092 LaGrange Rd. Perry, NY 14530 or to the First Congregational Church P.O. Box 156 Perry, NY 14530. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 N. Main St., Perry, N.Y. 14530. For more information or to sign the online guest registry please visit

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