The Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (White), is a plant hopper that is native to China, India and Vietnam and has become a major pest in eastern PA and in 8 counties in western NJ. It has been spotted in Ewing landscapes. They like over 70 different plant species, including fruit trees, ornamental trees, woody trees, vegetables, herbs and vines, as well as agricultural crops like grapes and hops.
The pest strongly prefers another invasive, the “Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima, also from Asia.” It is an excellent hitchhiker, so if you travel to and from areas where it has been currently found, you should search your vehicle, your clothing and your car load thoroughly, to help prevent its spread.
The Spotted Lanternfly is rather beautifully colored in its life stages. The adult is approximately 1 inch long and a half inch wide at rest. The forewing is grey with black spots and the wings tips are reticulated black blocks outlined in gray. The hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band. The legs and head are black; the abdomen is yellow with broad black bands. Immature stages are black with white spots and develop red patches as they grow. Before it’s a beautiful fly, it’s a nymph. In the early stages it’s black later it turns red in July-September and eventually it looks like the fly and can be seen July – December.
How to help stop the spread of this invasive species
Remove them: If you see egg masses, scrape them off, double bag them and throw them away. You can also place the eggs into alcohol, bleach, or hand sanitizer to kill them.
Collect a specimen: Specimens of any life stage can be turned in to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s lab for verification.
Take a picture: A photograph of any life stage (including egg masses) can be submitted to SLFemail@example.com.
Report a siting: If you can’t take a specimen or photograph, call the New Jersey Spotted Lanternfly Hotline at 1-833-223-2840 (BADBUG0) and leave a message detailing your sighting and contact information.
Considering that the SLF is so common in this area now, is there still any reason to report each siting?
Since the state DOA still requests reporting on its webpage (https://www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/spottedlanternfly.html) I would recommend following that protocol.