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The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is making news headlines

The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula), an invasive insect, was in the news about two weeks ago because of its first sighting on Staten Island, New York.

The SLF is established in Pennsylvania and has been reported in Delaware, New Jersey, and Virginia. At-risk States of SLF invasion, such as Maryland and New York, have been on the lookout for the pest. Some counties in these states have implemented strict quarantine measures to limit the spread of SLF.

Figure 1. An adult spotted lanternfly. Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org.

The adult SLF has light brown forewings dotted with black spots (Figures 1 and 2). The color combination makes it easy for the SLF to hide on branches of host plants.

The sighting of SLF anywhere would be concerning because we are in a season that sees the SLF becoming more active in causing damage to crops.

The SLF injures a wide range of plant species, and it may impact trees that are less common in Florida, and so we are not sure if its establishment in Florida is possible.

Some examples of host trees include tree of heaven (the key host), almonds, apples, hops, maple trees, poplar trees, sycamore trees, willow trees, and several others.

Figure 2. An adult spotted lanternfly. Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org.

The SLF can hitch-hike on infested materials and can spread to new places quickly. Luckily, this invasive insect has not been reported in Florida, and we are not sure if it can establish in Florida.

Check out the University of Florida Featured Creatures publication and the following additional sources for more information about the SLF and what you can do to help reduce the spread.

  1. Spotted lanternfly in the news
  2. Spotted lanternfly blog
  3. USDA’s information about the spotted lanternfly

Picture of the immature spotted lanternfly in the featured image is credited Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org.