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Spotted Lanternfly

What is it & why should you care?

The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma delicatula (White), is an invasive planthopper native to Asia. It was first discovered in Pennsylvania (PA) in 2014 in Berks County and has spread to other counties across the Commonwealth.

SLF feeds on sap from myriad different plants with a strong preference for economically important plants including grapevines, maples, black walnut, birch and willow. Feeding damage significantly stresses the plants which can lead to decreased health and in some cases, death. SLF has the potential to greatly impact the viticulture (grape), fruit tree, plant nursery and timber industries, which contribute billions of dollars each year to PA's economy. A recent economic impact study estimates that, uncontrolled, this insect could cost the state $324 million annually and more than 2,800 jobs.

SLF is not just a concern to agricultural and horticultural professionals, it poses significant quality-of-life frustrations for all residents. The impact of its' large populations and feeding habits can force even the most ardent nature lovers to stay inside. When feeding, SLF excrete honeydew, sugary waste which attracts bees, wasps and other insects. The honeydew builds up on anything below the insects: plants, forest understories, decks and patio furniture, and vehicles. This build-up leads to the growth of sooty mold, black-colored fungi, on those items.

What's Being Done

Penn State University and Extension, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and PA Department of Agriculture (PDA) have joined forces to control and contain the spread of SLF.

Penn State University and Extension are leading the research efforts to find ways to control and mitigate the spread of SLF, and to answer the many questions we have about the insect's biology, pesticide effectiveness, and the ability of the insect to adapt to the environment in Pennsylvania. Please visit the Research Page for current project information. Visit the Penn State Extension SLF website for more on how you can help control Spotted lanternfly.

Treatment by both USDA and PDA is occurring across the state, anywhere known populations exist. Both agencies are working with property owners to continue treatment and control. Visit the Program Information page to learn more about the many ways Penn State, USDA and PDA are working to control SLF.

To protect the state's economy and residential quality of life, PDA issued an Order of Quarantine and Treatment to limit the movement of Spotted Lanternfly by human-assisted travel. Visit the SLF Quarantine & Permitting page for more information about how the quarantine affects residents and businesses.

What Can Be Done: Everyone

Join the effort to control and prevent the spread of Spotted Lanternfly.  We need everyone to protect their properties, communities, and the Commonwealth from this invasive insect that has the potential to change our landscape and quality of life.

Any efforts you make in destroying the Spotted Lanternfly or its' egg masses help reduce populations on your property and in your community. SLF can be controlled with a combination of physical removal of life stages and host trees, and pesticide applications.  Use Penn State Extension's management resources to safely manage SLF on your property or at your business. Utilization of these management techniques is also important to assist PDA and USDA in control of the spread of this invasive pest.

This insect is easily moved if no one is looking.  Know the life stages of the insect and when to look for them. If you are in the quarantine area, please "Look Before You Leave." Residents should utilize a checklist to complete inspections of vehicles, trailers, or any outdoor items before movement within or out of the quarantine.  If possible, don't park in tree lines and keep windows rolled up and doors closed when parked. 

Report sightings of the Spotted Lanternfly.  All reports of SLF outside of the quarantine will be investigated.  Reports within the quarantine are registered in a USDA-PDA shared database which is used in determining properties for treatment.  Treatment is based on several factors including location, risk, and funding.  

Stay informed and share the latest news on Spotted Lanternfly with your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Sign up for PDA's Spotted Lanternflier enewsletter and join us on Facebook and Twitter for the most up-to-date information.

What Can Be Done: Business & Industry

Businesses also play an important role.  Business owners should incorporate pest control into their vegetation management plans and work to minimize the possibility of this insect hitching a ride on vehicles or in products. 

Businesses located or working within the quarantine, which move products, vehicles or other conveyances within or from the quarantine are required to have an SLF Permit or hire companies that have one. Visit the SLF Quarantine & Permitting page for permitting program information and industry best management practices. You can use the interactive SLF Permit Map to find permit holders throughout the USA and Canada. This information is searchable with data available to export but is not currently formatted for mobile.

Contractors: How to Get Involved

SLF has the potential to affect properties in all corners of the Commonwealth. PDA needs tree experts across the State to join the battle. Please see the contractor page to learn what PDA requires of its contractors and how to sign up.

Image Resources

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has an extensive Spotted Lanternfly image database. Many images from this database have been deposited on the University of Georgia Forestry Images website.

Organizations looking to create new educational material using Spotted Lanternfly images are encouraged to use the photographs deposited on Forestry Images. Any image credited to Lawrence Barringer or the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture can be used at any time. If you use any of those photos, please credit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.