The spotted lanternfly (SLF) is a sap-feeding planthopper, native to China, India and Vietnam, that was discovered in the United States in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2014. As of May 2020, this invasive pest has not yet been detected in Michigan but it will likely be successful once it arrives, given the climate and abundant host plants and its ease of movement. As a result, spotted lanternfly has been placed on the State’s pest watch list.
The showy insect could affect Michigan fruit and nursery production, along with many species of trees in landscapes and forests. It prefers to feed and develop on Tree-of-heaven, an invasive tree that has little economic value. Scientists in Pennsylvania, however, have reported that spotted lanternfly can also feed and develop on several other species of plants.
Adults are strong fliers and can disperse a considerable distance. Eggs laid on plants or other materials can be transported into new areas. As of May 2020, spotted lanternfly adults have been found in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.
Early detection of spotted lanternfly will be important for managing this pest. If you suspect you have seen or captured one of these insects, please report it. Send a captured insect or email a good quality photograph to MSU's Pest and Plant Diagnostics lab.
Here are resources for learning more about this pest.
- Spotted lanternfly page on the State of Michigan's Invasive Species website
- Spotted lanternfly fact sheet from MSU Extension - Spotted lanternfly: A colorful cause for concern (published May 7, 2019). Same information in printable PDF.
- Penn State University spotted lanternfly photos
- Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture website
- Penn State “The state of spotted lanternfly” webinar (Sept 13, 2018)
- USDA APHIS Spotted Lanternfly web page
Banner image courtesy of Lawrence Barringer; Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture; Bugwood.org
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