What to do if you find Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted Lanternfly

The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive insect that was first found in Pennsylvania in 2014.

This insect is a potential threat to several important crops including grapes, peaches and timber trees. Many sites within the infested area have high populations of spotted lanternflies. Every landowner who effectively uses control measures will help to reduce the potential for this insect to spread to new territory.

As of August 22, 2016 confirmed populations of the spotted lanternfly are known to exist in only the following Pennsylvania municipalities in the United States of America:

  • Berks County: Amity, Colebrookdale, Douglass, District, Douglass, Earl, Hereford, Longswamp, Oley, Maxatawny, Pike, Rockland and Washington townships and the boroughs of Bally, Bechtelsville, Boyertown, Kutztown and Topton.
  • Bucks County: Milford Township and Trumbauersville Borough.
  • Chester County: South Coventry Township.
  • Lehigh County: Lower Macungie and Upper Milford Townships, and the boroughs of Alburtis, Emmaus and Macungie.
  • Montgomery County: Douglass, New Hanover and Upper Hanover townships and the boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg and Red Hill.
If you find a spotted lanternfly in a municipality where it is not known to exist.

You should try to capture it and put it into a vial filled with alcohol to kill and preserve it, or at least take a good picture of it. Report it to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) by emailing to: badbug@pa.gov or call the Invasive Species Hotline at 1-866-253-7189. Your discovery could add additional municipalities to the quarantined area.

If you find spotted lanternfly in a municipality where it is known to exist.

You should try to kill it. This insect is considered a threat to crops and many people are working to try to prevent it from spreading. Soon the females will begin to lay eggs. Each female will lay up to 100 eggs or more this fall, so by destroying even one female, you are reducing the potential population for the future.

In the late summer and fall, the spotted lanternfly prefers feeding on Ailanthus altissima, commonly known as the "Tree of Heaven." They can be found feeding on other plants and trees, but if you have Ailanthus altissima, you should start searching for spotted lanternfly on those trees.

The spotted lanternfly is not known to bite humans. You can kill spotted lanternflies mechanically, by swatting or crushing them. However, when you threaten them, they are able to quickly jump far away from you, so mechanical control is not easy to achieve.

Are there any natural enemies of the spotted lanternfly?

Birds don't seem to like to eat them, and researchers have not found predatory or parasitic insects that are making a great impact on the population yet. Over time, natural enemies often do find invasive insect species, but for now this does not seem to be happening on a level that is making a difference.

Avoid spreading the spotted lanternfly.