Hort Report: Beware the Spotted Lanternfly

A new invasive pest has emerged and it is very important that we keep a sharp eye out for signs that it is in our area. The Spotted Lantern Fly, is yet another unwanted invader from Asia. These flying/jumping insects propagate readily and have no known natural predators to keep them in check. They are very destructive and will damage our local trees significantly. Ironically their preferred tree is the “Tree of Heaven” (Ailanthus altissima) which itself is an invasive from Asia. Despite this preference, the insect will attack almost any tree (see list below).

The Spotted Lanternfly adult is approximately 1″ long and 1/2″ wide at rest. The forewing is grey with black spots and the wings tips are reticulated black blocks outlined in grey. The hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band. The legs and head are black; the abdomen is yellow with broad black bands. Immature stages are black with white spots; red patches develop as they grow. Above is a picture of an adult with its wings extended (showing a very bright and colorful image) and below and with its wing retracted (showing a dull gray image with black spots).

Despite having two sets of wings this insect prefers to hop. At this point the insect is predominantly in Pennsylvania but just recently a single live adult male was found in the Southbury, CT area.

Please be on the lookout for egg masses as well as adults. If you find any of these insects or their egg masses PLEASE REPORT YOUR FINDINGS by email to ReportSLF@ct.gov. Obviously a photograph would be helpful. It is better to try to catch the insect alive for ID and testing (by CAES) but if this cannot be done, squash to invader and as many of its colleagues as you can. Trees at risk are: Almonds, Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Grapes, Hops, Maples, Oaks, Peaches, Pine Trees, Plums, Poplars, Sycamores, Walnut Trees, and Willows.

Additional resources:

Connecticut CAES: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/CAES/DOCUMENTS/Publications/Press_Releases/2019/CAES-Press-Release-Spotted-Lanternfly-CT-October-15-2019.pdf?la=en

USDA: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/hungry-pests/the-threat/spotted-lanternfly/spotted-lanternfly

Spotted Lantern Fly.com  (This is especially helpful in ID’ing egg masses) https://spottedlanternfly.com/

Pennsylvania Source    https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Plants_Land_Water/PlantIndustry/Entomology /spotted_lanternfly/SpottedLanternflyAlert/Pages/default.aspx