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Spotted Lanternfly

  • Spotted Lanternfly Adult with Larvea
    Spotted Lanternfly adult (L) and fourth instar nymph (R). Photo: USDA APHIS.
  • Spotted Lanternfly Adult
    Spotted Lanternfly adult. Photo: Lawrence Barringer, PA Dept. of Agriculture, bugwood.org
  • Spotted Lanternfly Nymph
    Spotted Lanternfly nymph. Photo: Lawrence Barringer, PA Dept. of Agriculture, bugwood.org
  • Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses
    Spotted Lanternfly egg masses. Photo: Emelie Swackhamer, Penn State University, bugwood.org
Overview

Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive plant hopper insect that was introduced into the United States in 2014. Native to China, this pest is associated with the invasive Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) but can also cause significant damage to grape, apple, stone fruits, and walnut. Although not currently found in Rhode Island, this pest has established populations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia with individual finds in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Spotted Lanternfly is predicted to spread further north and east, putting Rhode Island at high risk.

Description

Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) is plant hopper, a type of “true bug” that uses a stylet (or beak) to pierce plant tissue for feeding. In addition to the spotted patterning, the adult SLF’s unique colors feature scarlet underwings, yellow markings on its abdomen, and tan semi-transparent forewings. Adults about an inch in length and can be found late July into November. The nymph stage appears in June and July and feature strikingly bright red and black bodies with white spotting. Early stage nymphs lack the red color and appear completely black.

Distribution

As of October 2020, the closest known location of Spotted Lanternfly to Rhode Island is in Connecticut. The closest and most current finding of SLF is in Greenwich, CT, where officials recently announced the detection of a population of the pest. Single insect findings have occurred in other locations of Connecticut, including in West Haven in 2020, Southbury in 2019, and Farmington in 2018. Neighboring Massachusetts has also recently had two findings of dead SLF adults in Norwood and Milford. Although they can fly distances on their own, they are excellent hitch hikers and mainly spread through human movement. Their inconspicuous egg masses can be laid on pallets, vehicles, and other goods. It’s important to inspect shipping and adhere to travel restrictions when moving through a quarantined area.

So far, Rhode Island has not had any finds of Spotted Lanternfly.

The RI DEM Division of Agriculture’s CAPS Program is currently conducting a statewide survey for the pest. The survey locations have included local vineyards and areas with a large population of Tree of Heaven.

In addition to its spotted patterning, the adult SLF’s unique colors feature scarlet underwings, yellow markings on the abdomen, and tan semi-transparent forewings. Adult lanternflies are about an inch long and are active from August until the first hard freeze, which typically occurs from late October into November.

If you suspect you found a spotted lanternfly

Early detection is key to avoid a spotted lanternfly introduction in Rhode Island. Help us prevent spotted lanternfly by learning how to identify the egg, nymph, and adult life stages of this pest. If you suspect you found a spotted lanternfly take a photo and try to collect a specimen. Then, contact the URI Biocontrol Lab or report this find to DEM's Pest Alert Form.

Report Sighting
Battle of the Bug  
Downloadable Materials For Businesses

Although SLF can fly distances on its own, these pests are excellent hitch hikers and mainly spread through human movement. Their inconspicuous egg masses can be laid on pallets, vehicles and other goods, so it is important to inspect shipping materials and adhere to travel restrictions when moving through areas that are under quarantine for SLF. The following tips can help stop the spread of SLF:

  • Inspect firewood, vehicles, outdoor furniture, and camping gear for egg masses, nymphs, and adults.
  • If you visit states with SLF, check all your gear and equipment before leaving and scrape off any egg masses.
 

SLF was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has quickly spread through surrounding states. In Pennsylvania, where the pest has been spreading for over six years, there has been significant yield loss in vineyards and the insect has become a public nuisance.

Here’s how businesses can help. Visit the USDA's website for free outreach materials to alert your team about the spotted lanternfly and how they can help stop it.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 
Invasive Pest Factsheet
Distribution Map

Spotted Lanternfly Reported Distribution Map 3/13/20; Credit: NY Integrated Pest Management Program

Want to help?

  • Report Sightings: Learn how to identify spotted lanternfly and report suspected sightings
  • Check For Signs: Inspect your firewood, vehicles, outdoor furniture, and camping gear for egg masses, nymphs, and adults
  • Inspect Items Being Moved: If you visit states with spotted lanternfly, check all your gear and equipment before leaving and scrape off any egg masses
 

Stop. Scrape. Smash.

Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey
Cynthia Kwolek
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street
Providence, RI 02908-5767
Phone: (401) 949-1770