The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) technicians are working with state and local partners; businesses and residents to stop the spread of the spotted lanternfly* a destructive insect that feeds on a wide range of fruit, ornamental, and hardwood trees, including grapes, apples, walnut, and oak; a serious threat to the United States' agriculture and natural resources, such as in Reading, Pennsylvania, on August 30, 2018. The pest damages plants as it sucks sap from branches, stems, and tree trunks. The repeated feedings leave the tree bark with dark scars. Spotted lanternfly also excretes a sticky fluid, which promotes mold growth and further weakens plants and puts our agriculture and forests at risk. Native to Asia, the spotted lanternfly has no natural enemies in North America. it's free to multiply and ravage orchards, vineyards, and wooded areas. The invasive insect was first detected in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014, and has now spread to several states, by people who accidentally move infested material or items containing egg masses. Most states are at risk of the pest. USDA and our state and local partners are working hard to stop the spread of this invasive pest. Look for signs of spotted lanternfly. Inspect your trees and plants for young spotted lanternfly, adults, and egg masses. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
*Adult spotted lanternflies are approximately 1 inch long and one-half inch wide, and they have large and visually striking wings. Their forewings are light brown with black spots at the front and a speckled band at the rear. Their hind wings are scarlet with black spots at the front and white and black bars at the rear. Their abdomen is yellow with black bars. Nymphs in their early stages of development appear black with white spots and turn to a red phase before becoming adults. Egg masses are yellowish-brown in color, covered with a gray, waxy coating prior to hatching. Look for nymphs, adults, and eggs on trees. The Tree of Heaven is the preferred tree. Spotted lanternfly lay their eggs on a variety of smooth surfaces. Look for egg masses (which are off-white to grey and textured patches) on tree bark, vehicles, buildings, and outdoor items.
Find it, report it!
Contact your State Department of Agriculture or the Extension specialist near you to report signs of spotted lanternfly. If possible, take a picture or capture the insect in alcohol.
Stop the Spread
Everyone can play a role in stopping the spread of spotted lanternfly
Remove and Destroy
Crush nymph and adult spotted lanternflies. Scrape egg masses into hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol.
For more information about the Spotted Lanternfly, please see www.aphis.usda.gov/hungrypests/slf
For more information about the Tree of Heaven, please see www.nps.gov/shen/learn/nature/tree-of-heaven.htm