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Spotted Lanternfly Invades Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posted on Tuesday March 26, 2019
How to identify and dispose of egg masses

Spotted Lanternfly Invades Southeastern Pennsylvania

Joining the ranks of the Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Longhorn Tick and Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is the latest invasive species on the radar of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA). 

Invasive species are plants, animals and other organisms that are not native to an ecosystem where their existence can cause economic or environmental harm. Generally, these organisms have no natural predators in their new environment and are able to multiply rapidly enough to replace the native environment, causing significant damage to crops, property and the health of other organisms, including humans.

 The Spotted Lanternfly is native to China, India and Vietnam, and was recently discovered in Berks County in 2014. Despite the efforts of the PDA, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Pennsylvania State University Extension to contain and eradicate the Spotted Lanternfly before it could spread and cause damage, it has spread to surrounding counties necessitating a quarantine, which includes Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill counties.

 The quarantine regulates or limits the movement of plants, plant-based materials and outdoor household items out of the quarantine area unless certain conditions are met. This quarantine is necessary due to the rapid nature in which the Spotted Lanternfly reproduces and spreads. They are a major threat to Pennsylvania agriculture, including the grape, tree-fruit, hardwood and nursery industries, which are worth nearly $18 billion to the state's economy.

Identifying the Spotted Lanternfly

The adult Spotted Lanternfly is approximately 1” long and 1/2” wide at rest. It has four life stages: egg masses, early nymph, late nymph and adult, as shown in the photos below.


Spotted Lanternfly

Penn State University and Extension, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and PA Department of Agriculture (PDA) joined forces to control and contain the spread of Spotted Lanternfly. The USDA and PDA are actively treating locations where Spotted Lanternfly has been reported. USDA is treating on the outer edges where populations are small and will begin to move inward towards the center of the quarantine. PDA is treating areas where the population numbers are high and is targeting high risk pathways which may contribute to moving the insect to other locations.

 What Can You Do:

While the PDA and Penn State Agricultural Extension are looking for solutions to stop the insect from spreading, residents are the best resource for containing and controlling this devastating pest. Below are some things you can do to help contain and manage this destructive pest:

  • Inspect vehicles or items stored outdoors before transporting them outside the quarantine zone: The most important thing you can do to stop the spread and help eliminate Spotted Lanternfly is to inspect yourself and your vehicles, trailers, or any outdoor items before you move around or out of the quarantine area. This insect will happily hitch a ride to a new location if no one is looking. If possible, don’t park in tree lines and keep windows rolled up when you park your vehicle. Any efforts you make in destroying the Spotted Lanternfly or its egg masses help your property and community.

One of the best times to control the Spotted Lanternfly is before they hatch. In late fall, adults will lay egg masses on host trees and nearby smooth surfaces like stone, outdoor furniture, vehicles, and structures. If you see egg masses, scrape them off, double bag them and throw them away. Newly laid egg masses have a grey mud-like covering which can take on a dry cracked appearance over time. Old egg masses appear as rows of 30-50 brownish seed-like deposits in 4-7 columns on the trunk, roughly an inch long. You can also place the eggs into alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them. Please report all destroyed eggs to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

If you see a Spotted Lanternfly outside the quarantine area, report it to the PDA through the Automated Invasive Species Report Line, 1-888-4BAD-FLY (1888-422-3359) or All reports of the Spotted Lanternfly outside of the quarantine are taken seriously and will be investigated. Reports within the quarantine are registered in a database for USDA and PDA. The database is used to help determine properties for treatment.  Treatment is based on location, risk, and available funds.

Please join the effort to control and prevent the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly. We need everyone to protect their property, community, and the Commonwealth from this invasive insect that has the potential to change our landscape and quality of life.

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