Spotted Lanternfly: What to Look For

Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, is a new threat to Pennsylvania and the United States, and experts are still learning how to combat it.
Spotted Lanternfly: What to Look For - Articles
From as early as July until November, the Spotted Lanternfly adults may be present. You’ll find them on the trunks of trees like Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) or trees growing around them. They are also reported on grape vines (Vitis sp.) Photo: Nancy Bosold, Horticulture Educator, Penn State Extension, Berks Co.
 When resting on trees, the adult Spotted Lanternfly holds its wings over the body “tent-like”. The insects are large – 1 inch long and ½ inch wide.Photo: Nancy Bosold, Horticulture Educator, Penn State Extension, Berks Co.
When disturbed, the adult Spotted Lanternfly may lift the top wings to expose black, white and red lower wings. They are easy to spot! The Spotted Lanternfly is also known by the common name Lanternmoth. It is neither a fly nor a moth – but a member of the planthopper family.Photo: Nancy Bosold, Horticulture Educator, Penn State Extension, Berks Co.
Egg cases of the Spotted Lanternfly can be found on tree bark and other nearby smooth surfaces, like rocks, outdoor furniture, vehicles and other structures. They are about 1-1.5 inches long and ½ -3/4 inches wide. They are gray-brown in color. Newly laid egg masses are somewhat shiny – covered in a waxy coating.Photo: Nancy Bosold, Horticulture Educator, Penn State Extension, Berks Co.
Egg cases of the Spotted Lanternfly can be found on tree bark and other nearby smooth surfaces, like rocks, outdoor furniture, vehicles and other structures. They are about 1-1.5 inches long and ½ -3/4 inches wide. They are gray-brown in color. Newly laid egg masses are somewhat shiny – covered in a waxy coating.Photo: Nancy Bosold, Horticulture Educator, Penn State Extension, Berks Co.
Adults feed by puncturing plant tissue with a straw-like mouthpart to suck plant sap. Spotted Lanternfly adult feeding damage can cause sap to run down the bark of trees. The sap attracts other sweet-loving insects like wasps and flies, and supports the growth of sooty mold which creates dark streaks down the trunk.Photo: Nancy Bosold, Horticulture Educator, Penn State Extension, Berks Co.
Photograph by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Photograph by Holly Raguza, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Photograph by Holly Raguza, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Beginning in late April to early May nymphs will hatch from egg masses laid on smooth bark, stone, and other vertical surfaces. Nymphs will complete four immature stages. The first stage (image #3) is black with white spots and wingless. As it grows, the Spotted Lanternfly will start to develop red patches (image #4) in addition to the white spots. Nymphs spread from the initial site by crawling and feeding on woody and non-woody plants.Photo: Nymphal Lycorma delicatula. Taken from Park et al. 2009
A first instar nymph of the spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, from the quarantine area in eastern Berks County, Pennsylvania. Note the mouthparts protruding just behind and beneath the head. Photo credit: Greg Hoover, Department of Entomology, Penn State.