spotted lanternfly life stages
The spot­ted lantern­fly (SLF) is an inva­sive insect. It was first dis­cov­ered in Penn­syl­va­nia in 2014 in Berks Coun­ty, but has been iden­ti­fied in Alleghe­ny Coun­ty and with­in the City of Pitts­burgh in 2020. This page has some infor­ma­tion for you; for fur­ther infor­ma­tion and to report sight­ings of spot­ted lantern­fly please vis­it the Penn State Exten­sion web­site. Image cred­it: Penn State Extension

What is spotted lanternfly?

The spot­ted lantern­fly is an inva­sive insect. It’s native to Chi­na, India, and Viet­nam but was first found here in 2014. It feeds on many trees, includ­ing fruit, orna­men­tal, and woody ones. They move around eas­i­ly, through the move­ment of mate­ri­als or as egg mass­es. As it feeds, it sucks sap and excretes hon­ey­dew which can build up and become a become a growth area for sooty mold. SLF dam­ages trees and rarely kills them.

In addi­tion to the impact on our tree canopy, it also has the poten­tial to dev­as­tate our econ­o­my if not con­tained. It’s esti­mat­ed the state could lose $324 mil­lion annu­al­ly from the forestry industry.

Life stages and identification

There are 4 stages of the spot­ted lanternfly.

Egg mass (Octo­ber-June)
You can find egg mass­es on trees, stones, cars, patio furniture…really any­where. The mass­es are 1 inch long and are cov­ered in a white sub­stance that dries over time, look­ing like mud (blend­ing into things like trees).

Ear­ly stage nymph (May-June)
After they hatch, nymphs are very tiny and grow to about 1/4 inch. They have black bod­ies with white spots. They’re excel­lent jumpers.

Late stage nymph (July-Sep­tem­ber)
As late stage nymphs, SLFs get bright red spots in addi­tion to the white. They grow to be 1/2 inch long.

Adult (July-Decem­ber with egg lay­ing begin­ning in September)
Adult SLFs are about 1 inch long. Their wings are red clos­est to their bod­ies, with tan wings and black spots out­side. They like to jump and glide.

What to do when you find SLF

If you find spot­ted lantern­fly, please vis­it this link or call1-888–422-3359.

If you find egg mass­es, this video shows you how to iden­ti­fy, remove, and destroy them. When you find oth­er stages on your prop­er­ty, you should try and destroy it. You can find infor­ma­tion on that from the PA Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture here.

Additional resources

This page is just a brief primer on spot­ted lantern­fly, but more infor­ma­tion is avail­able. You can find it here:

Penn State Extension

PA Depart­ment of Agriculture

Infor­ma­tion on Quar­an­tine and Permitting


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