Origin: The Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (SLF), an invasive planthopper. It’s native to China, India, Vietnam, and introduced to Korea where it has become a major pest. It was first detected in North America in Pennsylvania in 2014. This insect attacks many hosts including grapes, apples, stone fruits, and tree of heaven and has the potential to impact the grape, fruit tree, landscape, and logging industries. Early detection is vital for the protection of Ohio businesses and agriculture.
Identification: The Spotted Lanternfly adult is approximately 1” long and 1/2” wide at rest. When extended the wingspan is approximately 2”. The forewing is grey with black spots and the wings tips are reticulated black blocks outlined in grey. 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 (1/8” – 3/8”) and develop red patches as they grow (1/2”).
Hosts: In the fall, adults congregate on tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), willows (Salix spp.), and other trees, in groups. Egg masses will be laid on any flat surface including medium to large trees, on trunk, branches, and limb bases. After hatching in the following spring, nymphs will search out a wide variety of host plants, from herbaceous plants, to trees, shrubs and vines. It is estimated that the host range has topped over 70 different kind of plants. As the insect reaches the adult stage, its preference appears to be tree of heaven and is often the most monitored plant, along with commercially grown grapevines.
Signs and Symptoms: Trees, such as tree of heaven and willow, will develop weeping wounds. These wounds will leave a greyish or black trail along the trunk. This sap will attract other insects to feed, notably wasps and ants. In late fall adults will lay egg masses on host trees and nearby smooth surfaces like stone, outdoor furniture, vehicles, and structures. 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, roughly an inch long.