Meet the Bug – Spotted Lanternfly. See it? Report it!

First discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014, spotted lanternfly has become a major pest in that state and spread to several surrounding states.

>> First discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014, the spotted lanternfly has become a major pest in that state, and spread to several surrounding states. It feeds on a wide range of fruit, ornamental and woody trees, with tree of heaven being one of the preferred hosts. Learn how to spot it and report it.

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>> Spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, is an invasive species from Eastern Asia. It is actually a pest of multiple different industries: forestry; agriculture; and urban. And so this is a pest we do not want to see here in the Pacific Northwest. Spotted lanternfly was first detected in Pennsylvania back in 2014. Since then, it’s actually spread throughout the East Coast and has been detected in multiple states there. And, unfortunately, it is now established in those states. Spotted lanternfly has been detected over in California as well as in Oregon. Good news, though — both of the cases that they were detected were actually dead samples upon arrival. So it’s not a question of is it coming to the West Coast, but when is it coming? So this is something that, in Washington State, we are very concerned about. And we’re — with due diligence, we are trying to look continuously for this pest. Spotted lanternfly is actually a generalist. What that means — it actually has multiple host plants that it will feed upon. In fact, actually, scientists have discovered that there’s over 172 host plants that this pest will feed upon. Here in Washington State, we’re very concerned about this, especially when we have all of our specialty crops. In fact, one of the best ways to spread this pest around is actually the tree of heaven. And this is one of the most concerning components for our industry is that the tree of heaven is a Class C weed, meaning it is everywhere here in Washington State. So it would be very easy for this pest, if it was to come into our state, to establish. This is why WSDA and WSU are very active, and in this case proactive, in dealing with this pest.

>> Not only is the invasive weed, tree of heaven, a preferred host for spotted lanternfly, hops and grapes are also preferred hosts and are threatened by the introduction of this pest.

>> The introduction of potted lanternfly will be really serious for a number of our commodities we grow in Washington State. Most notably, hops and wine grapes. To put it in perspective, we grow 40% of the world’s hops here in Washington State, and in wine grapes we’re second only to California in production. And what’s important about these crops is their value-added factor, with hops being a key ingredient in the end product beer, and wine grapes being the key ingredient in, obviously, bottles of wine.

>> Spotted lanternfly is a univoltine species, meaning it actually only has one generation per season. So what typically happens in this generation? Well, they actually overwinter as an egg mass and this — this is basically between thirty to fifty eggs per egg mass. Those eggs hatch in early April as first instars. Then they go through a second instar phase, a third and a fourth instar phase. In August to September, they are actually — morph into an adult. And through this process, they mate and produce eggs, and the whole process starts all over again the following year.

>> There are several websites where you can go for more information on spotted lanternfly. Both the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the Washington Invasive Species Council are excellent resources for identification, but also places where you can report a possible sighting. Search, Penn State SLF, and USDA APHIS SLF for national resources that include updates, distribution maps, and management.

>> Residents of Washington can safeguard and protect their state from invasive species. A lot of the time, residents have their eyes and ears on the ground and are first detectors. For different reasons, we can help report invasive species and protect our agriculture, environment, as well as our economy. One of the priority pests we want to be on the lookout for is spotted lanternfly. The first step in protecting Washington is understanding what this pest looks like. Spotted lanternfly has different life stages, and at different times of the year it’s going to look like its various stage. So in the late summer, it’s going to be its adult which has those pretty colored wings unless it’s folded back like it typically would be on a tree. Following that, we’re going to actually look for egg masses throughout the lifecycle into the fall. When looking for egg masses, it’s important to know what surfaces they can lie on. Unfortunately, spotted lanternfly take the advantage of different substrates, and it will lay on any surface that’s particularly hard. So this could be something like a railcar or a vehicle with a hard surface. The other particular place they like to go is lots of times on tree bark, a concrete block pad, even a rusty sign surface. As long as that surface is hard, you could potentially find a spotted lanternfly egg mass. If you suspect to see spotted lanternfly, please report it. See, snap it, send it. You may see a spotted lanternfly in its different nymph stages, as an adult, or even an egg mass. When reporting, note the location, take a picture, and then send that over to Washington Invasive Species Council. There are several ways to send in that report. You can go online to their website — — or you can even use their automated app. Thank you for taking the time to protect Washington from this invasive species and keep spotted lanternfly out.

>> If you suspect you see spotted lanternfly in any of its life stages, report it online at the Washington Invasive Species Council or by using their WA Invasives app. You also have the option to email the WSDA Pest Program. Learn more about tree of heaven, an invasive weed and preferred host of spotted lanternfly.

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