WHAT IS THE SPOTTED LANTERN FLY (SLF)?
Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), lycorma delicatula, is an invasive planthopper native to China, India, and Vietnam; it is also established in South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. It was ﬁrst discovered in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in Berks County in 2014 and has spread to other counties in PA, as well as the states of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New York, Connecticut, and Ohio.
This insect has the potential to greatly impact agricultural crops and hardwood trees. SLF feeds on the plant sap of many different plants including grapevines, maples, black walnut, and other important plants in NJ. While it does not harm humans or animals, it can reduce the quality of life for people living in heavily infested areas.
SLF is a serious invasive pest with a healthy appetite for our plants and it can be a signiﬁcant nuisance, affecting the quality of life and enjoyment of the outdoors. The spotted lanternfly uses its piercing-sucking mouthpart to feed on sap from over 70 different plant species. It has a strong preference for economically important plants and the feeding damage signiﬁcantly stresses the plants which can lead to decreased health and potentially death.
As SLF feeds, the insect excretes honeydew (a sugary substance) which can attract bees, wasps, and other insects. The honeydew also builds up and promotes the growth for sooty mold (fungi), which can cover the plant, forest understories, patio furniture, cars, and anything else found below SLF feeding.
ABOUT THE SLF
Life Stages – The Spotted Lanternfly’s physical appearance transforms throughout its life stages as it matures to adulthood. The pictures below illustrate the metamorphosis of each of the major life stages of the spotted lanternfly.
1. Nymphs (There are four nymphal instars.)
The first three instars are black with white spots. They grow from a few millimeters to approx. ¼ inch and have no wings. They are strong jumpers to avoid capture or predators. They typically appear in this stage beginning in May through July. The fourth instars are approx. ½ inch in size and bright red, covered in black stripes and white spots. They are strong jumpers and will jump to avoid danger. They appear in this stage from July through September.
2. Adults The forewing is gray with black spots of varying sizes and the wing tips have black spots outlined in gray. Adults can be seen starting in July until December. Hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band. The legs and head are black, and the abdomen is yellow with black bands. Adult spotted lanternfly with wings open. While the adults can fly, they generally prefer to hop/jump and glide exposing their hindwings. Additionally, the hindwings are exposed when they are frightened or treated with an insecticide.
3. Egg Masses Adult egg laying starts in September through December. Egg masses can be seen from September to June. While the adult Spotted Lanternfly does not survive the winter, the egg masses do. Egg masses contain 30-50 eggs. Females can lay up to two eggs masses. An egg mass is approximately 1 inch in size. Eggs are often laid on flat surfaces including tree bark, rocks, lawn furniture, firewood, boats, RV’s, pallets, or anything left outdoors, which can be transported to new locations. Research has shown that 80 to 90 percent of egg masses on trees are found 10 feet and above from the ground. Freshly laid egg masses have a light gray mud-like covering the eggs. Older egg masses change in color to a light tan resembling cracked mud. Hatched egg masses lose the mud-like covering exposing individual eggs that look similar to seeds.
Signs of a Spotted Lanternfly Infestation
Aside from their unique look, there are some commons signs that may indicate you have a spotted lanternfly infestation. These signs include:
· Oozing or weeping plants with a fermented odor.
· Sooty mold on infested trees or plants.
· The buildup of the sticky fluid, honeydew, underneath affected plants.
If you’re noticing these signs, or you are seeing spotted lanternflies, contact us immediately to try and tackle the SLF before it is too late.
Treatments That Protect Your Trees
Depending on how the SLF has affected your trees, typically, treatments are applied every 4-5 weeks (they will help protect your landscape against spotted lanternflies all year round). Our solutions will not harm your trees but will prevent these nuisance pests from infesting and damaging them. Typically, this service is offered late spring through fall when trees are actively growing. Our spotted lanternfly service works by treating your trees, which kills the lanternflies when they try to feed on them, dramatically reducing the population of lanternflies on your property. We provide recurring applications for lasting results that are environmentally responsible and do not impact pollinators.
**Please report signs of the Spotted Lantern Fly to JBS Tree Experts at (732) 966-2273. This will allow us to keep the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection updated on this vastly spreading planthopper.