The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an insect native to China, India, and Vietnam, and feeds on fruit, ornamental, and woody trees, including 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 Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and northern Virginia.
SLF is not a strong flier and is actually a planthopper. Despite this, SLF can to spread long distances quickly by people who move infested materials or those containing egg masses.
Spotted lanternfly has not yet been confirmed in Ohio, but 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 report the finding to the ODA Plant Pest Control (614-728-6400, email@example.com), your local OSU Extension specialist, or submit your findings using the Great Lakes Early Detection Network. You can also collect a specimen and mail it to ODA using the downloadable Pest Alert form on this page.
Currently there are no Ohio quarantine regulations for the spotted lanternfly, but several other states including Pennsylvania and Virginia have enacted county-level quarantines. A 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 70 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 but should only be used where SLF is abundant.
Report a Suspected Infestation
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You may also contact the ODA Plant Pest Control section directly at firstname.lastname@example.org