Spotted Lanternfly

 

What is Spotted Lanternfly?

 

  • It is an invasive pest, native to Asia, first found in the United States in 2014.
  • It has five distinct life phases (pictured right).
  • It overwinters as egg masses, which can be found on trees, posts, lawn furniture, cars, and many other surfaces.
  • Has piercing-sucking mouthparts that feed on the sap from over 70 different species of plants.
  • The feeding damage can be detrimental to the plants, causing decreased plant health and even death.
  • It excretes honeydew (a sugary substance) which can build up on surfaces, including lawn furniture, buildings, road signs, etc.
  • The build up of honeydew on surfaces promotes the growth of sooty mold (fungi), which can turn the surface black and sticky.
  • The honeydew can also attract other insects, including nuisance insects, such as bees and wasps.
  • They can not bite, sting or cause direct harm to humans or animals.
First nymphal stage of Spotted Lanternfly

Early nymph stage (1st through 3rd instars) when they first hatch from the egg masses. When they first emerge, they are only a few millimeters in length, and grow to be ~1/4 inch before the next stage.

Early nymph stage (1st through 3rd instars) when they first hatch from the egg masses. When they first emerge, they are only a few millimeters in length, and grow to be ~1/4 inch before the next stage.

4th nymphal stage of the Spotted Lanternfly

Late stage nymph (4th instar). The last stage before becoming an adult, the bright red nymphs are ~1/2 inch in length.

Adult spotted lanternfly

Adult Spotted Lanternfly, the final life stage. The adults are about 1 inch long, with bright pink under wings.

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Where is it?

 

Spotted Lanternfly has been identified in 26 counties in Pennsylvania, after first being found in Berks county in 2014. These counties are now under a state-imposed quarantine for Spotted Lanternfly.  This quarantine affects vehicles traveling in, out and within the quarantined counties, and the loads they are carrying. The quarantine is to stop the spread of SLF into other counties and to slow the spread of the insects within the areas they already are. Click here for an interactive map that can tell you whether or not you are in a quarantine area.

To learn more about quarantine from the PA Department of Agriculture, click here.

Spotted Lanternfly strongly prefers some economically important plants, which include grapevines, birch, willow, maple trees, etc. If quarantine is not adhered to, and the spread of Spotted Lanternfly goes unchecked, it could cost the Pennsylvania economy at least $324 million annually, according to economists at Penn State.

 

 

What to do about it?

 

When you spy a Spotted Lanternfly, no matter what life stage, you should squish it! For a demonstration of how to destroy what you found, watch the video to the right.

If you think you have found a Spotted Lanternfly, you should report what you found to Penn State Extension in your county. For help identifying and reporting Spotted Lanternfly, click here.

If you are a business that travels in and out of the quarantine counties, click here for permitting information for your vehicles.

To learn more about this invasive pest, visit Penn State’s website for more information, click here.