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 (Ailantus altissima).
SLF was likely introduced to the United States as egg masses transported on a stone shipment from China, India, Vietnam or South Korea. The 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 industries 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 presence
Spotted lanternfly presence can be identified by egg masses that are one inch long and appear to be brownish-gray and waxy or are brown and scaly; massive honeydew build-up underplants that may form black sooty mold; sap oozing or weeping from wounds on host plants that appear wet and may give off a fermented odor.
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.
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.
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. Visit the information links below from the NYSIPM website.
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 email@example.com or visit the information link below from the NYSIPM website.
Biological Control: Research is underway for the use of biological agents, or natural predators, to control populations of the spotted lanternfly. Efforts are under evaluation in USDA quarantine facilities. Visit the information links below from the NYSIPM website to learn more.
Click the spotted lanternfly tab below to view an interative map that highlihgts confirmed iMap observations for tree of heaven, a prefered host of SLF. Check tree of heaven for signs of SLF.
View the information on the left to learn to recognize spotted lanternfly, tree of heaven, and signs of presence.
Spotted lanternfly (SLF) management actions are more effective and regions can better prepare for the impacts of this insect when new infestations are found early.
New York State is seeking volunteers like you to look for SLF egg masses, numphs and adults, and reporting locations of SLF’s preferred host, tree of heaven (TOH) in your area. You do not need prior experience to get involved, anyone can learn what to look for and how to report your observations to New York’s official invasive species database, iMapInvasives (attend a virtual training).
NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation have identified 1km grid squares across the state where volunteer survey efforts would be most helpful. These may be close to known infestations, along major pathways, and/or near important commodities that could be harmed by SLF.
You can help stop protect New York’s forests, agriculture and tourist industries by joinging this state-wide early detection survey effort for SLF and tree of heaven.
Businesses can help raise awareness of spotted lanternfly by agreeing to hand out outreach materials to their customers, especially those who may be traveling from areas with SLF quarantine zones.
Materials are provided by the NY Department of Agriculture & Markets.
SLELO PRISM has developed a trackable QR code sticker label that can be placed on the outreach materials. The code links to online surveys that will help to measure the impact of outreach efforts.
The spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive pest from Asia that feeds on a variety of plants including grapes, hops, and maple trees, posing a severe threat to NYS forests and agriculture. SLF’s preferred host plant, tree-of-heaven (TOH), is already found in much of the state. SLF was first found in PA in 2014, and several populations have since been found in NY. Agencies and conservation partners across the state are working to protect our state resources from these invasives.
This webinar covers the current status of SLF and TOH in NY, potential impacts on the North Country, how to identify these species, and reporting observations to iMapInvasives, as well as a state-wide early detection survey effort that volunteers and professionals can get involved in.
Megan Pistolese- SLELO PRISM