Why you should care
Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) is a serious invasive pest with a healthy appetite for our plants and it can be a significant nuisance, affecting the quality of life and enjoyment of the outdoors.
The spotted lanternfly uses its piercing-sucking mouthpart to feed on sap from over 70 different plant species. It has a strong preference for economically important plants including grapevines, maple trees, black walnut, birch, willow, and other trees. The feeding damage significantly stresses the plants which can lead to decreased health and potentially death.
Where is SLF Found?
Spotted lanternfly was first discovered in Berks County, Pennsylvania in September of 2014. It is thought to have arrived on a stone shipment around 2012. It has since spread to 26 counties in Pennsylvania and is under a quarantine in that state.
Since then, spotted lanternfly infestations have also been found in several states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia and Ohio (view a map).
In August 2021, three adult spotted lanternflies were intercepted in a tractor trailer originating from a state with documented infestations of the invasive pest. The three pests were killed. There is no indication the pest is established in Vermont. Massachusetts has had a number of similar interceptions of individual live and dead insects. Additionally, egg masses have been found on trees in Maine. The trees also originated in Pennsylvania. These events are a reminder that it is important to be on the lookout for this invasive insect to prevent it becoming established in Vermont.
All phases of this insect are strong hitchhikers and can easily be moved long distances through human assisted movement on vehicles and other items. The adults also will lay eggs on any surface and is a primary way that the pest is spread to new location so keep your eyes out for irregular masses that look like dried mud.
Where should I make a report?
If any indication of SLF is found, residents should take a photo and note the location of the insect. If possible, collect the specimen. Report any potential sightings of the pest using our VTinvasives online reporting form. Residents should look for large, gray insects, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings, or inch-long, rectangular yellowish-brown egg masses covered with a gray waxy coating. Egg masses may be found on any flat surface. See slideshow of images below.
Learn more about SLF
Photo credits: Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org