The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect species native to Asia. This insect’s eggs are laid in masses about 1” long and may look like patches of crusted mud. Hatched nymphs are black with white dots. Adults are about 1” long with gray forewings that have black spots. Hindwings are a vivid rose-red color with black tips and a white band running down the center. They have black legs and heads and yellow and black abdomens.
Spotted lanternflies attack various landscape trees including:
They are also known to favor valuable crop plants such as grapes, hops, and orchard fruits.
The most noticeable symptom of spotted lanternfly is wilted trees. In severe cases, the entire tree’s foliage may be wilting, and the trunk could have open, oozing wounds. Spotted lanternflies secrete a sugary, sticky substance called honeydew. Honeydew can attract wasp and bee populations but can also be a growth medium for fungi such as sooty mold, which can stunt the growth of the tree and cause further damage. Eggs are usually laid during late fall. Female spotted lanternflies lay their eggs on various vertical surfaces such as:
Proper identification is important to managing spotted lanternfly. This pest lays eggs on multiple surfaces and can be easily transported to new breeding grounds, so as soon as damage is visible, locating new eggs before they hatch is crucial. If egg masses are found, they should be scraped off, smashed, and double bagged before being thrown away. It is also helpful to report any sightings to your state’s Department of Agriculture. This is something your local arborist can assist you with. If you have common host trees to spotted lanternflies, it is recommended to take precautionary measures to avoid infestation. Contact your local arborist to find out which treatments may help decrease the likelihood of infestation on your landscape trees.