You have likely heard that the Spotted Lanternfly is the latest invasive insect pest that threatens our natural habitats, managed landscapes, and farms and forests.
This is potentially the worst invasive pest since the introduction of the gypsy moth nearly 150 years ago.
This Asian planthopper was found for the first time in the United States in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 2014. It has since spread throughout 13 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, currently under quarantine, including Chester County. The insect has recently been found in New Jersey and Virginia.
This insect threatens not only about $18 billion of agricultural products in Pennsylvania, but it can make outdoor areas unusable by excreting a sticky substance called honeydew, which serves as a host for sooty mold. Furthermore, the presence of Spotted Lanternfly could threaten the shipment of goods over state lines and from the port of Philadelphia, should restrictions be placed on the movement of Pennsylvania products.
Since it is new to the United States, little is known about its behavior and biology, but researchers in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working tirelessly to gather scientific data on how to contain and manage this pest. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) and USDA are leading the strategy and implementation of containment and control efforts, while the college focuses on research, education, and outreach.
Working with PDA and USDA, Penn State Extension has launched a spotted lanternfly website — extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly— that serves as the primary hub for the most up to date information on this insect. To help stop the spread, the public can visit this website to learn how to identify spotted lanternfly and to report any potential sightings for action by PDA.
You will also find an online course that provides businesses with the necessary training to receive a PDA permit that is required for companies operating in the quarantine zone to move equipment and goods within and out of the zone.
We need your help in fighting this pest as September through December is their egg laying season.
Please help us spread the word by pasting the below spotted lanternfly image on your web sites and hyperlink it to the Spotted Lanternfly website (extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly).
Please visit the PA Department of Agriculture’s website information about identifying these bugs, ways to report sightings, and a number of helpful resources.
The Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (White), an invasive planthopper, has been discovered in Berks County, Pennsylvania. It is native to China, India, Vietnam, and introduced to Korea where it has become a major pest. This insect has the potential to greatly impact the grape, hops and logging industries. Early detection is vital for the protection of Pennsylvania businesses and agriculture
The Spotted Lanternfly adult is approximately 1” long and 1/2” 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 head are black; the abdomen is yellow with broad black bands. Immature stages are black with white spots, and develop red patches as they grow.
Signs & 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 our website.
Collect a specimen:
Specimens of any life stage can be turned in to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Entomology lab for verification. Submit samples with the Entomology Program Sample Submission Form.
Take a picture:
A photograph of any life stage (including egg masses) can be submitted to Badbug@pa.gov.
Report a site:
If you can’t take a specimen or photograph, call the Spotted Lanternfly hotline at 1-888-4BAD-FLY (1-888-422-3359) with information regarding your sighting.