The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an insect native to China, India, and Vietnam, and attacks fruit plants, such as grapes and apples, ornamental, and woody trees. A primary host is Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima). Spotted lanternfly (SLF) was first detected in eastern Pennsylvania in September 2014 and was likely brought to the United States by imported woody plants, wood products, and other commodities. They have now established populations in several eastern states, including Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio.
SLF is not a strong flier and is actually a planthopper. Despite this, SLF can spread long distances quickly by people who move infested materials or those containing egg masses.
Spotted lanternfly has been confirmed in Cuyahoga and Jefferson counties in Ohio; residents are advised to be on the alert for this pest and report any possible sightings.
Black sooty mold around the base of plants or oozing sap may indicate the presence of the spotted lanternfly, however other pests can cause these symptoms as well. SLF will lay eggs beginning in October through the beginning of winter. The egg masses of the SLF are small, grey masses protected by a waxy covering. After hatching in late spring, the SLF goes through four nymph stages. During the first three they appear black with white spots, and in the last stage, which typically occurs during mid-summer, they are red with white dots and black stripes. During the late summer and autumn, the SLF is in the adult moth stage. These adults are larger (approximately 1 inch), with black bodies and brightly colored wings.
If you suspect a spotted lanternfly infestation, at any life stage, please take a picture or collect a sample and report the finding to the ODA Plant Pest Control using the Ohio Plant Pest Reporter.
On October 28th, 2021 the Ohio Department of Agriculture announced a quarantine to combat the spread of the spotted lanternfly. SLF is now designated a destructive plant pest under Ohio law, which increases inspections and restricts movement of certain items from infested counties in Ohio and other states into non-infested Ohio counties. SLF can spread long distances quickly by people who move infested materials or those containing egg masses.
Currently SLF is only known to be established in Cuyahoga, Jefferson and Lorain counties. Individuals traveling from an SLF infested area with items including tree branches, nursery stock, firewood, logs, or other outdoor items that pose a high risk of spreading the pest are asked to complete a self-inspection checklist.
Nurseries, arborists, loggers and other commercial activities may need to be covered by a compliance agreement in order to ship certain products out of infested counties. Please call 614-728-6400 for more information about compliance agreements for commercial activities.
A national map of the reported distribution is available through New York State's IPM website.
Damage and Impact
SLF damage is caused by the insect feeding on the trunk and branches of woody plants. The feeding can result in oozing sap, wilting, leaf curling, and dieback. In addition, during feeding the SLF secretes honeydew which can buildup on and underneath the plant, which in turn promotes the growth of black sooty mold.
SLF can feed on more than 100 plant species, and has the potential to greatly impact the viticulture, tree fruit, nursery, and timber industries.
The egg masses may be laid on any hard surface, including trees, rocks, and outdoor furniture. Egg masses can be removed by scrapping with a hard or rigid tool and disposed of into a container of rubbing alcohol.
SLF nymphs will emerge from the egg masses in early May. These nymphs will crawl up and down trees to feed each day and can be controlled by banding the trees with an adhesive trap.
Several insecticides have been shown to be effective against nymph and adult SLF. Please be sure to carefully read and adhere to all pesticide products labeled directions for use. For more detailed information regarding these options visit PSU Extension webpage.
Report Suspected SLF or Tree of Heaven
Please note: a photo of the suspected pest is required to be submitted with this form.