Spotted Lanternfly – Be on the Lookout

The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive bug, not a fly, from Southeast Asia that was first observed in Pennsylvania in 2014.  This pest has sucking mouthparts and is known to feed on the stems, vines, and trunks of many crops grown in Ohio such as grapes, hops, apples, plums, cherries, peaches, and nectarines where it produces sap weeping wounds in the plant.

Sap weeping from spotted lanternfly wounds.

The host range extends to many tree species such as maple and willow, but this bug is especially fond of the Tree of Heaven, which can be found all across the state.  If you aren’t familiar with how to identify this tree, here is a nice factsheet (

Mature stand of Tree of Heaven.

This pest has spread from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, Delaware, New York, and Virginia in the past few years. To be clear, this pest has NOT been found in Ohio yet, but we want growers to remain vigilant while out on their farms and surrounding property. Fortunately, in some respects, this insect is rather large as an adult, about an inch long and brightly colored, which should aid in its detection.

Adult spotted lanternfly.

If you see one of these pests, please take a few pictures and try to collect a specimen in a container, then report it to your local Extension educator or the Ohio Department of Agriculture (614-728-6400 or

At this time of year, late instar nymphs (which resemble black or red stink bugs) or early adults might be seen, especially on the Tree of Heaven.

Spotted lanternfly nymphs; dark nymphs are younger than red nymph.

Many articles have been written about this pest insect which are listed below in case you want more information about hosts, identification, biology, etc.

BYGL article

Penn State University

Penn Dept. of Agriculture

General information

Many thanks, credit, and acknowledgements to those authors whose pictures and websites were used for this article.




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