Contributed by Amanda Quadrel, The John J. Willaman & Martha Haas Valentine Endowed Plant Protection Intern at Morris Arboretum

The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula ) is an invasive pest native to China, India, Vietnam, and Korea that was first discovered in Berks County, PA, but has since spread other Pennsylvania counties, including Chester, Bucks, Lehigh, Northampton, and Montgomery counties. This pest is a serious threat to many different plants, such as fruit crops like apples, grapes, and stone fruits, and various hardwood species. Spotted lanternflies damage trees by sucking sap out of the stem and leaves, which can cause the tree to develop weeping wounds. During fall, adults move to other trees such as Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), willow (Salix spp.), and other species, where they will aggregate in large groups and begin laying egg masses on the trunks and branches of trees.

            The spotted lanternfly is very distinctive in appearance. Adults are usually about one inch long with the wings folded tent-like over the body. The wings are grayish with black spots that become more reticulate and stripe-like towards the wing margin. The hind wings are black, white and red. The body is yellow with black bands, and the legs and head are black. Nymphs are usually black with white spots, but they develop red patches as they age.

            If you suspect you see a spotted lanternfly, you can take a picture and send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or send a dead specimen in ethanol to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Entomology lab for confirmation. If you think you spot egg masses, scrape them off, double bag them and toss them out, or place them in ethanol or hand sanitizer to kill them. Make sure to report any egg mass scraping to the PA Department of Agriculture. Also, be cautious when traveling or transporting materials to areas where spotted lanternfly has not yet been found. They can lay their egg masses on most any smooth surface, so be sure to inspect vehicles and materials before moving, and try to avoid parking under trees when possible. For more information on spotted lanternfly or to report a sighting, you can visit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture website.