A new pest is spreading in Pennsylvania and you can prevent the destruction and impact it has on our homes and businesses.
The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an exotic inspect pest native to China, India, and Vietnam. The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) was first found in Berks County in Pennsylvania in 2014. Currently restricted to eastern Pennsylvania, SLF is subject to control and eradication efforts. Risks of SLF movement come from transportation of firewood, outdoor equipment, timber, and woody debris.
Counties currently affected are Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill.
The Spotted Lanternfly can feed on a variety of 70+ plant, including grapes, cherries, maples, stone fruits, hops, among others. As nymphs, SLF will feed on a variety of native and introduced plants. As they approach adulthood, feeding preferences switch to Tree of Heaven and other high-sugar-content sap trees. Feeding damage from large numbers of this pest has the potential to weaken or kill plants and reduce crop yields in orchards and vineyards.
In the fall, adults congregate in groups of up to 20. Egg masses will be laid on medium to large trees, on trunk, branches, and limb bases. After hatching in the spring, nymphs will move off the tree and search out new hosts, including several kinds of agricultural crops.
The Spotted Lanternfly adult is approximately 1” long and ½” wide at rest. The forewing is grey with black spots and the wings tips are reticulated black blocks outlined in grey. The hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band. The legs and heads are black; the abdomen is yellow with broad black bands. Immature stages are black with white spots and develop red patches as they grow.
Several other insects such as the Giant Leopard Moth and the Virgin Tiger Moth may be confused with the Spotted Lanternfly due to their appearance. When in doubt, send a photo to [email protected] or call the Automated Invasive Species Report Line at 1-866-253-7189 and leave a message detailing your sighting and contact information.
Signs and Symptoms
Trees, such as tree of heaven and willow, will develop weeping wounds. These wounds will leave a greyish or black trail along the trunk. This sap will attract other insects to feed, notably wasps and ants. In late fall, adults will lay egg masses on host trees and nearby smooth surfaces like stone, outdoor furniture, vehicles, and structures. Newly laid egg masses have a grey mud-like covering which can take on a dry cracked appearance over time. Old egg masses appear as rows of 30-50 brownish seed-like deposits in 4-7 columns on the trunk, roughly an inch long.
What to Do
- If you see egg masses, scrape them off, double bag them and throw them away. You can also place the eggs into alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them. Please report all destroyed egg masses on www.pda.state.pa.us/spottedlanternfly.
- Collect a specimen: Specimens of any life stage can be turned in to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Entomology lab for verification.
- Take a picture: A photograph of any life stage (including egg masses) can be submitted to [email protected].
- Report a site: If you can’t take a specimen or a photograph, call the Automated Invasive Species Report Line at 1-866-253-7189 and leave a message detailing your sighting and contact information.