What You Need To Know About the Spotted Lanternfly
What is the spotted lanternfly? If you live in Pennsylvania, you have probably already seen this insect. The spotted lanternfly (lycorma delicatula or SLF) is an invasive species native to China and Southeast Asia.
The pest was discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014, specifically Berks County, and has spread throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states: north to Massachusetts, south to North Carolina, and west to Indiana and Michigan (See the Spotted Lanternfly distribution map for the mid-Atlantic area). The spotted lanternfly feeds on and damages many different plant species.
Many homeowners have reported sightings and damage from this pest, both direct damage by feeding and secondary damage due to excessive sooty mold formation on lanternfly excrement (honeydew). As part of our series on invasive insects, here is what you need to know and what you can do if you spot the colorful insect around your property.
What You Need to Know About the Spotted Lanternfly
As of 2023, the spotted lanternfly is reported to be found in 51 Pennsylvania counties and can build to astounding numbers when left unmanaged. While many Pennsylvania residents have spotted this invasive species on their landscapes, we have some information to help those who want to keep their landscape free from invasive insects.
Adult spotted lanternflies can be identified by their coloration and bodies. The insect has grayish wings with black spots; the tips are black and gray, while the bodies are black. When flying, spotted lanternflies will show vibrant red hind wings. Adults are around 1 inch long and a half-inch wide with wings folded. They can jump several feet when startled or approached.
You can also identify the pest via their egg masses or nymph stage. Egg masses are typically found on tree bark on the underside of scaffold branches and occasionally on other smooth surfaces such as rocks, outdoor furniture, and even vehicles. The mass is usually around 1 inch long and a half to three-quarters of an inch wide, with a gray-brown, mud-like covering.
Spotted lanternfly nymphs are much smaller than adults, only about 1/8 to 1/2 an inch long (depending on instar: a phase between two periods of molting in the development of an insect larva or other invertebrate). However, nymphs have distinct coloration: initially black with white spots and wingless, developing red patches/red patches and white spots as they mature.
Care (PHC). Burkholder PHC treats for spotted lanternflies as part of our plant health care program. Our plant health care program emphasizes proper diagnosis and precise treatment, using only state-of-the-art, research-backed methods and equipment. We also utilize various pest management and control processes to protect your landscape from invasive, harmful pests.
Additional Spotted Lanternfly Resources
Contact Burkholder Brothers for Plant Health Care Services
If you want to keep your landscape beautiful, healthy, and free of spotted lanternfly, contact Burkholder PHC for a consultation. Our team of plant health care professionals has decades of experience helping homeowners keep their landscapes as healthy and vibrant as possible. In addition, we have up-to-date knowledge of the latest plant health care methods, from pest control to soil care and more. For more information on our services, contact us today.