Spotted Lanternfly Identification & Prevention

What You Need To Know About Spotted Lanternflies In Philadelphia, PA

lantern flies on a tree

The spotted lanternfly is an important agricultural pest. They are an invasive planthopper introduced from Asia into Pennsylvania in 2014. Since their introduction, they have spread throughout the Eastern United States, feeding on and damaging many crops. Learn about spotted lanternflies in the Philadelphia area with the help of this pest guide and how we can help you control and eliminate these damaging pests.

Frequently Asked Questions About Spotted Lanternflies

What are spotted laternflies?

Spotted lantern flies are planthoppers. Planthoppers are insects that have piercing mouthparts they use to feed on a plant. While spotted lanternflies and other planthoppers have wings, their primary mode of transportation is jumping or gliding.

Female spotted lanternflies lay their eggs from September thru mid-November. The eggs hatch in early spring, and young nymphs are often mistaken for ticks. Nymphs are small and black with white markings on their body and legs. As the nymphs age, they keep their white spots but turn red.

Adult spotted lanternflies are unique-looking insects that can help to identify an infestation easily. Below are some of the most notable physical features of a spotted lanternfly.

  • Black bodies
  • Pinkish gray wings with black spots
  • Black wing tips with gray veins
  • Red underside of wings
  • Abdomens that are yellow with black stripes

Another way to identify a spotted lanternfly infestation is to notice its egg masses. Females lay their egg masses on flat surfaces like trees. They cover the egg masses with a gray-brown, almost clay-like substance.

Are spotted lanternflies dangerous?

Spotted lanternflies are not directly dangerous to people; they do not bite or sting. However, these insects are agricultural pests that damage economically important crops.

When spotted lanternflies feed on crops and trees, they stress the plants. Stressed plants are more susceptible to death because of poor weather, insect activity, and disease.

Adults feed on a plant's sap. The spotted lantern fly's waste product is honeydew – a sugary waste product. When honeydew coats trees and plants, it promotes the growth of a black sooty mold which can prevent the sun from reaching the plants.

Preventing and controlling these pests is important because spotted lanternflies produce large populations and leave behind devastating paths of damage.

Why do I have a spotted lanternfly problem?

If you have trees or plants that spotted lanternflies use as a food source on your property, you can experience a problem with these pests. Spotted lanternflies can make their way to your property from a neighboring property, or you can accidentally introduce them to your property. These insects regularly hitchhike on potted plants, firewood, boxes, and vehicles. Even just a couple of spotted lanternflies finding a way to your property can cause a large infestation and significant damage to your property.

Where will I find spotted lanternflies?

Spotted lanternflies in Philadelphia are found wherever there are host trees they can use as a food source. Nymphs will feed on any leafy or herbaceous parts of a tree. They often prefer new growth near the tops of trees. New adults feed throughout a tree, and as they age, feed more towards the trunks or branches of trees. Most at risk of being invaded by these plant-feeding pests are grapevines, maple, black walnut, and fruit-bearing trees.

How do I get rid of spotted lanternflies?

To get rid of spotted lanternflies, you need to partner with a knowledgeable and local pest professional. Harpoon Pest Solutions is well-versed in spotted lanternfly control and will work with you to remove these plant-damaging pests from your property.

Our spotted lanternfly control service includes treating the root systems of trees and bushes. If we discover egg masses on your property, we will immediately knock them down and treat the trees. Our treatment ensures that spotted lanternflies cannot successfully feed. Please call us today to learn more about our seasonal (monthly) spotted lanternfly control service!

How can I prevent spotted lanternflies in the future?

Use the following spotted lanternfly prevention tips to avoid issues with these agricultural pests on your Philadelphia property.

  • Regularly inspect your property for spotted lanternfly egg masses on trees, rocks, and outdoor furniture.
  • If you spot spotted lanternfly egg masses on your property, crush them or scrape them into a bag filled with rubbing alcohol. 
  • Kill any adults you find on your property.
  • If possible, remove host trees and plants from your property.

If you ever spot what you even think is a spotted lanternfly on your property, immediately reach out to us for help.

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