Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, is an invasive plant hopper native to China, Vietnam, and India. It was also unintentionally introduced to Japan and Korea. The spotted lanternfly was confirmed in Pennsylvania in September, 2014. The adult stage of this insect prefers the host tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima, for feeding and egg-laying, but larval instars and adults are known to feed on around 70+other species of tree in PA as well as agricultural crops. It will lay eggs on any smooth barked tree or other objects such as: stone, brick, lawn furniture, and cars.

Treatment Strategy

  • Scraping off egg masses from trunk or other surfaces, double bagging and throwing away, or soaking in alcohol or hand sanitizer.
  • Applying sticky bands.
  • Trap tree method (Remove and treat with herbicide female trees, treat remaining male trees with Transtect).
  • All sightings should be reported to your State Department of Agriculture.
  • Inspect all items that are stored under trees. Spotted lanternfly will lay eggs on most surfaces under trees that are being fed on.

Soil Injection/Drench or Systemic Lower Bark Spray Using Transtect

Trunk Injection Using Transtect Infusible

Foliar Spray Using Up-Star Gold

Trunk/Main Limb Cover Spray Using Bifen XTS

Signs of Damage

  • Trees will exhibit weeping wounds that leave a dark gray trail along the trunk
  • Excreted honeydew will coat items underneath the tree and attract wasps and ants
  • Sooty mold growing on honeydew secretions at base of tree
  • Egg masses seen covered in greyish brown mud-like casing on smooth vertical surfaces, or tree trunk
  • Insect gathers in large groups which can sometimes be spotted migrating up and down the host plant at dawn/dusk
  • Flagging in canopy, leaf curl, and wilting
  • Bacterial Flux


Photo: Edge Of The Woods Native Plant Nursery

Trees At Risk

Tree of Heaven appears to be the preferred tree for adults, but has been reported to attack more than 70 species+ species of tree in PA such as grapes, apples (not preferred host), stone fruits (not a preferred host), and some agricultural crops. In areas of high population they can also migrate and feed on Willow, Maple(red and silver), Poplar, Pine, Plum, Linden, Sycamore,
Black gum, Oak, Hickory, Slippery elm, Dogwood, Cherry, Peach, Birch, Tulip poplar, Beech, Walnut, and Ash.

Preferred hosts include:

  • Tree of heaven
  • Black walnut
  • Sumac
  • Birch
  • Red maple
  • Silver maple
  • Willow


  • Insect overwinters in egg masses laid on smooth vertical surfaces.
  • First instar emerges around mid-May (240-1174 GDD, Quince/Saucer Magnolia bloom).
  • Nymphs leave initial site to find suitable food source, feeding indiscriminately on woody/non-woody plants. Roses are a preferred host for the first instar.
  • 2nd and 3rdinstars are present June-July. 615-1586 GDD 2ndinstar, 1020-1837 GDD 3rdinstar.
  • 4th instar present July-Sept (1329-2208 GDD) and move to woody plants.
  • Molt into winged adult as early as mid-July and are present through December (1696-3232 GDD)
    • Adult females have four distinct stages; Early 1, Early 2,Mid, and Late (egg laying)
  • Adults mate and lay eggs starting in late September through late November/ early December.

Photo: PA Dept. of Agriculture -

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