See a Spotted Lanternfly? Here's what to do about it in the midstate

Written by Geoff Morrow/The York Daily Record | May 18, 2018 6:01 AM

Photo by Courtesty Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

(Undated) -- Lanternflies, be gone.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Penn State University, are asking for your help in identifying and destroying the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive insect that has been discovered in Berks County. It has been been found in Lancaster, Schuylkill and 10 other counties.

The planthopper, native to India, China and Vietnam, was first identified in Pennsylvania in 2014.

Officials said it can adversely affect various industries, including grapes, apples, hops and logging. There's a potential $18 billion impact on our state's business, trade and economy, said York County state Representative Keith Gillespie, R-Hellam Township.


The Spotted Lanternfly is a colorful flying insect that is approximately 1.5 inches wide at rest.

According to the department of agriculture, its forewings are gray with black spots, the wing tips are reticulated black blocks outlined in grey, the hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band, the legs and head are black, and the abdomen is yellow with broad black bands. Younger versions are black with white spots, developing red patches as they grow.

Where and how will I find one?

Trees such as the willow or a tree of heaven will develop weeping wounds, the department says. The wounds will leave grayish or black trails along the trunk, and the sap will attract other insects.

Adults lay eggs in the late fall on host trees and nearby smooth surfaces like stones, outdoor furniture, vehicles and structures. Egg masses have a gray mud-like covering, which appear dry and cracked over time.

What should I do if I find a lanternfly?

According to Gillespie, if you find an insect you suspect is a Spotted Lanternfly, contact the local Penn State Extension office at 717-840-7408 to have it properly identified.

If you spot eggs, scrape them off, double-bag them and throw them away. Alcohol or hand sanitizer will also kill them.

You can and should also report findings to the department of agriculture. Photographs can be submitted to, or you can call the Automated Invasive Species Report Line at 1-866-253-7189 and leave a detailed message with contact information.

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record

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