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Spotted Lanternfly Update

Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula, “SLF”) is an invasive planthopper native to Asia that was first discovered in Pennsylvania in September 2014. It has since been detected in New York, Virginia, and Delaware. Thought to have been introduced via shipments of crushed stone, SLF is a threat to grapes, peaches, apples, other hardwood trees, and hops, . While spotted lanternfly has not yet been detected in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is concerned about the threat this invasive pest poses to orchards, vineyards, and to the forest product industry, and has been educating the public and performing inspections at high risk sites in order to increase awareness about SLF.

As it begins to warm up this spring, spotted lanternfly will once again become active. This increases the risk that SLF could be accidentally introduced to Massachusetts by hitchhiking on goods being shipped here from other states, or on vehicles traveling across the Northeast. Here are some tips to recognize this invasive pest:

  • Nymphs pass through a variety of immature stages (called “instars”) and look quite different than their winged adult form.
  • Egg masses are often found on smooth bark, stone or any vertical surface and appear to resmble gypsy moth egg masses, but instead of having a yellowish “fur” coating that gives them the appearance of having been covered in a mud-like substance.
  • SLF prefers tree-of-heaven (Aillanthus altissima) as a host plant, and may be found congregating on the trunks of this species in large numbers.
  • As SLF feed, they can produce weeping sap wounds in the trunks of trees, as well large concentrations of excreted honeydew, which both promotes sooty mold growth


Please keep an eye out for the signs of SLF infestation and report any suspicious finds via our invasive pest reporting form.

Image result for Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Photos via Penn. Dept. of Agriculture

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