The spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive planthopper that was first detected in the United States in 2014 in Berks County Pennsylvania.
The adult spotted lanternfly is approximately 1" long and 1/2" wide. Its forewings are pinkish-tan with black spots and the hind wings are black and red with a white band. The abdomen is yellow with black bands. The hind wings and abdomen are only visible when the insect takes flight.
There are multiple stages of young insects (nymphs) that vary in size and appearance. The first three instars (stages) are black with white spots and approximately 1/4 -1/2" inches long. The fourth instar turns red with white spots and is approximately 3/4" long.
SLF feeds on more than 70 host species. Tree-of-heaven is a preferred host for late-stage nymph instars to mid-stage adults. Young nymphs show less preference and impact a wide range of species, while late-stage adults prefer a variety of tree species such as silver maple, willow, and others.
Threats & Impacts:
Spotted lanternfly poses significant threats to the agricultural industry. Large swarms of insects can damage crops like grapes and hops. The insects suck sap from stems and branches which can weaken and damage the plant. The feeding also leaves behind a sticky substance (honeydew) that can form sooty mold and further damage the commodity.
Adult females lay grayish-brown egg masses on any hard surface. These cryptic masses may be unintentionally moved by people on vehicles, outdoor gear, RV's, etc.
Take precautions to prevent the spread of SLF. There are currently no established infestations of this species in NYS. If you see SLF, report it to firstname.lastname@example.org