Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) or SLF, is an invasive insect from Asia that threatens a wide variety of plants such as hops, grapevine, walnut, fruit trees, maple trees. Its preferred host is an invasive plant called the tree of heaven (Ailantusaltissima). 

SLF was likely introduced to the United States as egg masses transported on a stone shipment from China, India, Vietnam or South KoreaThe first US infestation was discovered in 2014, in Berks County , Pennsylvania and has since spread to other parts of PA in addition to bordering states. View a Map of SLF Distribution.  


Spotted lanternfly can devastate New York’s agricultural and tourism industry and threatens our forests. It feeds on over 70 different plant species including, grapevines, hops, fruit and nut trees, and maple trees. SLF feeds in large numbers and excretes honeydew that attracts sooty molds; these molds interfere with plant photosynthesis and impact crop growth and yields. The honeydew impedes tourism as it puts off a foul odor and attracts stinging insects. 

Signs of infestation

Sap oozing or weeping from wounds on host plants that appear wet and may give off a fermented odor. The presence of egg masses that are one-inch-long and appear to be brownish-gray and waxy or are brown and scaly.  


Early-stage SLF nymphs are black with white spots, they range in size depending on their life-cycle stage. SLF turn red with white spots just before they transform into winged adults. Adults are 1 inch long and ½ inch wide with greyish colored forewings and red hindwings with black spots, their upper wing portions are dark with white stripes.  Adult SLF usually appear in July. In the fall, SLF adults lay egg masses that are an inch long with a smooth brownish-gray waxy appearance, as the egg masses age they turn brown and scaly.  

Image taken from the NYS DEC & Agricutlure and Markets Spotted Lanternfly Flyer


The best mode of control for SLF is prevention. SLF easily spreads by hitchhiking to new areas on vehicles, firewood, outdoor furniture, stone, etc. Be sure to check your vehicles and gear when traveling from or stopping within known quarantine areas (NY, PA, NY, DE, MD, and VA). Monitor tree of heaven populations for signs of SLF.  


Manual Control: 

Monitor tree of heaven, young black walnut, wild grapevines and other SLF host plants for signs of infestation. Use a plastic card or putty knife to scrape egg masses into a container filled with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer to collect a specimen for confirmation. Banding trees with specifically designed bug bands helps catch nymphs and adult SLF and reduces by-catch. Recent research indicates the removal of Tree of heaven increases SLF dispersal, as they seek suitable hosts further away.  


Chemical Control:  

There are pesticides labeled for specific crops and application restrictions for spotted lanternfly in New York State. For regulations and guidance for controlling spotted lanternfly with pesticides reach out to the NYS Integrated Pest Management out of Cornell University at 

If you find Spotted Lanternfly in New York:

  • Take pictures of the insect, egg masses, or infestation you see and, if possible, include something for size, such as a coin or ruler.
  • If possible, collect the insect. Place in a bag and freeze, or in a jar with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.
  • Note the location (street address and zip code, intersecting roads, landmarks, or GPS coordinates).
  • Email pictures and location to OR fill out the form at Spotted Lanternfly Observation, which includes specimen information.

To enhace awarness of the Spotted Lanternfly, SLELO PRISM is providing outreach materials for local businesses to share with their customers, especially those who may be traveling from areas with SLF quarantine zones.  

Join the SLF Spotters Program to partcipate. 

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Prevent the introduction of invasive species into the SLELO PRISM.

Rapidly detect new and recent invaders and eliminate all individuals within a specific area.

Share resources, including funding personnel, equipment, information, and expertise.

Collect, utilize, and share information regarding surveys, infestations, control methods, monitoring, and research.

Control invasive species infestations by using best management practices, methods and techniques to include: ERADICATION (which is to eliminate all individuals and the seed bank from an area), CONTAINMENT (which is reducing the spread of established infestations from entering an uninfested area) and SUPPRESSION which is to reduce the density but not necessarily the total infested area.

Develop and implement effective restoration methods for areas that have been degraded by invasive species and where suppression or control has taken place.

Increase public awareness and understanding of invasive species.

Develop and implement innovative technologies that help us to better understand, visualize, alleviate or manage invasive species and their impacts or that serve to strengthen ecosystem function and/or processes.

Rob Williams
PRISM Coordinator

Megan Pistolese
Outreach and Education

Brittney Rogers
Aquatic Invasive Species

Robert Smith
Terrestrial Invasive Species