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SLF Best Management Practices

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There have been several confirmed detections of Lycorma delicatula (spotted lanternfly) (SLF) in Ohio in 2020. This is an invasive pest with many hosts important to Ohio including grapes (Vitis) and fruit trees (Malus, Prunus) as well as a wide range of nursery stock. The exotic invasive tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) reportedly is also important to its life cycle. SLF was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014 and since then infestations have been found in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. Two Pennsylvania counties bordering Ohio are known to be infested. The threat to Ohio is dramatically heightened by the plethora of transportation corridors: several railways, major freeways, and our proximity to states already infested with SLF.

Adults mainly feed on tree of heaven and grapevines while nymphs feed on a wide range of hosts. Both are sapsucking stages that feed on stems and leaves resulting in damage to the plant and reduced photosynthesis, which may ultimately contribute to mortality. Sap and sooty molds associated with SLF feeding can cause plant damage including staining that may make a plant unsalable. SLF can also be a nuisance in residential settings by aggregating in large numbers to feed and mate.


Prevention is the most critical step you can take. Talk to your suppliers about how they are preventing the movement of SLF.

Prior to ordering plants:
If the supplying nursery is in a quarantined area and cannot answer these questions, they may not be completely preventing the movement of SLF.

  • Find out if your supplier is in an area with established SLF. There are maps and lists of quarantined counties available.
  • Ask your supplier if they have a compliance agreement or permit to export nursery stock from the quarantined area.
  • Ask about their SLF scouting and management program. Ask how they train their staff to find and remove egg masses.
  • When possible, delay plant shipments until June to allow SLF eggs to hatch in the quarantine area and not at your nursery.

Prior to delivery of plants:

  • Identify a spotted lanternfly nursery stock inspection area to keep newly arrived plants separate from the rest of your stock.
  • Train your staff to identify life stages and the life cycle of SLF.

Upon delivery of plants:

  • Inspect plants from SLF quarantined areas before they are intermingled with other plants and prior to offering them for sale.

Egg masses overwinter on any smooth surface. Eggs hatch in spring and summer; adults appear by July and are active until winter begins. Spotted lanternfly is adept at spreading through human movement by laying non-descript and difficult to notice egg masses on flat surfaces, including vehicles.

  • Scout for SLF regularly as part of your plant care activities. Early detection is critical.
  • Inspect plants prior to sale for life stages of SLF and symptoms of SLF infestation like presence of black sooty molds, high wasp activity, or sticky spots on bark.


  • Report SLF suspects to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Division of Plant Health.
  • Capture suspect insects.
  • Maintain customer and supplier information.

Work with the ODA to ensure movement of clean, un-infested nursery stock. This may include:

  • Stopping the movement of SLF affected plants
  • Treatments of infested material
  • Compliance agreements that include BMP’s that may include inspection and record-keeping requirements
  • Survey and trapping for the presence of SLF

Current US Range of SLF (map and tables of counties)

Penn State Extension Spotted Lanternfly w/information about permits

UMass host plant information


For more information, contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture
Division of Plant Health - Plant Pest Control Section:
www.agri.ohio.gov ¦ Phone: 614-728-6400 ¦plantpest@agri.ohio.gov