Spotted Lanternfly Advisory!

Spotted Lanternfly Advisory!

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive planthopper insect in the U.S., first found in Berks County, PA in 2014. It is native to certain parts of Southeast Asia.

The spotted lanternfly is thought to have arrived as egg masses on a stone shipment in 2012. That first infestation was found in a wooded area of Ailanthus altissima, or Tree of Heaven. Since that first sighting, Pennsylvania has gone to great lengths to contain and quarantine the know areas of its location. As with many invasive pests, the quarantine has only slowed its migration across the state. Recently mass numbers of spotted lanternfly have been reported in the city of Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. 

What does this mean for our landscapes and properties in the South hills? A landscape that include maple trees, black walnut, birch, willow, Alanthus (tree of heaven), and other susceptible plants should begin to consider a treatment plan.

Dormant oil applied in the fall and early spring to the bark of the trees will control egg masses before hatching. Each egg mass can contain up to 50 lanternflies.  Contact sprays can dramatically reduce the adult population while providing a residual for a up to four weeks following the visit. Multiple visits are recommended through out the adult stages of the lanternfly’s life cycle.  SLF feeding damage significantly stresses the plants which can lead to decreased health and potentially death if left untreated.  As of right now there very few natural predators that can provide any control or population reduction for the spotted lanternfly.

Some common insect predators such as spiders and praying mantises have been found to attack spotted lanternfly. Recently, birds have also been found preying on spotted lanternfly. 

Spotted Lantern Fly Advisory- PredatorsMore research is currently being carried out, but these predators alone are unlikely to reduce or eliminate spotted lanternfly from an area.

Until natural predator populations increase, and researchers make advancements in controlling this highly invasive pest, the most effective measure in protecting your landscape is a treatment program specifically designed for the spotted lanternfly. Our program will begin control in the fall and late winter/early spring by targeting the egg mass stage. In late spring and early summer active lanternfly spray will control the teen and adult stages of this pest to reduce feeding damage to your trees as well as honeydew secretion that causes sooty mold on and around your landscape. 

Please contact us with any questions regarding this pest or if you would like a consultation. 


Frequently asked questions 

Do they fly?

While the adults can fly, they generally prefer to hop/jump and glide exposing their hindwings.

Do they bite or sting?

The Spotted Lanternfly is not harmful to humans or pets. They do not sting or bite, but they can be very destructive to many crops, trees, and plants. They can also make a mess in your yard by excreting a sticky substance that causes the growth of black sooty mold.

Why are there so many spotted lanternflies in my house? 

In the late summer and fall, you may see adult spotted lanternfly on the side of your building, telephone poles, or other structures. This is most likely driven by spotted lanternfly being attracted to tall objects either to have a meal or use as a launching post. Additionally, they may be attracted to the heat of a building. 

Will winter kill them?

Adults do not survive the winter, the same does not hold true for their egg masses, which are hardy enough to withstand brutal weather conditions. Those eggs hatch in late spring, revealing nymphs with black and white spots. As they enter their “teens,” most of the insect’s black markings will turn red.

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