Growing Green: Spotted lanternfly
The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) has the potential to destroy high-value crops, including grapes, tree fruits and hardwood lumber. Early detection is vital for the protection of Pennsylvania agriculture and businesses.
In an effort to keep the spotted lanternfly from spreading, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has quarantined municipalities in the Lehigh Valley and Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The quarantine order, which has been supported by the affected communities, means that any item that could hold any life stage of the spotted lanternfly may not knowingly be moved outside the quarantined area without inspection and compliance. This includes firewood, vehicles, outdoor household items, and any items stored outside during the fall, as well as building materials and plants or plant parts.
The quarantine includes municipal recycling centers. Intentional movement of any of the life stages of the spotted lanternfly is prohibited.
The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect first discovered in Berks County in September 2014.
Adults can be seen as early as the middle of July and take on a much different appearance than their nymph stages. The spotted lanternfly adult is approximately one-inch long and one-half-inch wide. Adults at rest have a black head and grayish wings with black spots. The tips of the wings are a combination of black rectangular blocks with gray outlines.
When startled or flying, the spotted lanternfly will display hind wings that are red at the base and black at the tip with a white stripe dividing them. The red portion of the wing is also adorned with black spots. The abdomen is bright to pale yellow with bands of black on the top and bottom surfaces. While a poor flyer, the spotted lanternfly is a strong jumper.
Spotted lanternflies have been found in wooded areas and residential landscapes, especially where there are tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) trees. Adults may also be found congregating at the tree base near leaf litter.
Early in the fall, adults congregate mainly on stems of tree-of-heaven and grape, but also on maple, willow and other trees. Weeping wounds will leave a grayish or black trail along the trunk. Feeding damage will attract yellow jackets and hornets, so caution is advised.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture quarantined the following municipalities as of Sept. 13:
Lehigh County: Upper Saucon, Lower Macungie, Upper Macungie, Upper Milford, Lower Milford, Whitehall, and South Whitehall townships, Alburtis, Emmaus and Macungie boroughs and Allentown.
Berks County: Alsace, Amity, Colebrookdale, Douglass, District, Earl, Exeter, Hereford, Longswamp, Maxatawny, Oley, Pike, Rockland, and Washington townships, and Bally, Bechtelsville, Boyertown, Kutztown, Lyons, St. Lawrence and Topton boroughs.
Bucks County: Milford Township and Trumbauersville borough.
Montgomery County: Douglass, Marlborough, New Hanover, Upper Hanover, Upper Frederick, Lower Pottsgrove, and West Pottsgrove townships, and East Greenville, Pennsburg, and Red Hill boroughs.
Chester County: South Coventry Township.
To report sightings and locations of the spotted lanterfly: Badbug@pa.gov, 1-866-253-7189.
Information: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture “Guidelines for Control of the Spotted Lanternfly”:
For a copy of the quarantine order, contact the Lehigh or Northampton County Extension Office.
“Growing Green” is contributed by Lehigh County Extension Office Staff and Master Gardeners. Information: Lehigh County Extension Office, 610-391-9840; Northampton County Extension Office, 610-746-1970.