Spotted Lanternfly

4 images of the spotted lanternfly in different stages
Top left corner: 1st stage of Spotted Lanternfly life cycle
Top right corner: As the Lanternfly matures, it becomes red with black and white patches
Bottom row: Adult Spotted Lanternfly


What is the Spotted Lanternfly and where did it come from?

The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) (SLF), a member of the planthopper family, is an invasive insect that was first discovered in the United States (eastern Pennsylvania) in 2014. SLF are native to Southeast Asia and feed on a wide range of plants and trees. SLF are spreading throughout much of the Mid Atlantic area including northcentral Virginia and have the potential to become a major threat to the region’s agriculture and forestry industries.

How do I identify a Spotted Lanternfly?

SLF live through the winter as eggs. Eggs are laid in masses on trees, under bark, on cars/RVs/trailers, on outdoor grills, and on many other surfaces. Newly laid egg masses have a gray mud-like covering which can take on a dry cracked appearance over time. Old egg masses appear as rows of 30-50 brownish seed-like deposits in 4-7 columns on the trunk, roughly an inch long. In late April and early May, young nymphs hatch. They are wingless and are black with bright white spots. As the nymphs mature they become bright red with distinct patches of black and white spots. Adults appear in July. The adult is a winged, flying leaf-hopper about 1 to 1 and ¼ inch long with grey wings with black spots. When the SLF opens its wings, you’ll see a bright red underwing with black wingtips. They are poor flyers but strong jumpers.

Do Spotted Lanternflies kill trees and plants?

SLF are relatively new to North America, and there is much that we don’t know. As of now, we have no knowledge that SLF kill trees and plants. However, SLF can weaken trees and plants. In Korea, SLF have had a major destructive impact on grapes and grape products such as wine. SLF have also reduced yields on important fruit-bearing trees (i.e. peaches). Because of the potential damage SLF could do to agricultural and forestry resources, they are considered an economic threat to our state and the region.

Are Spotted Lanternflies dangerous to children and pets?

SLF are not known to bite, sting, or attack people, pets, or livestock. It is not known if SLF are poisonous when ingested by humans or animals.

Can I prevent Spotted Lanternflies from getting on my property?

The best thing any property owner can do is to stay informed about SLF. Learn how to identify egg casings as well as all the life stages and monitor your property for signs of infestation. Remove or treat any Ailanthus trees (also called Tree of Heaven and considered a key tree host for SLF). In winter, scrape egg casings into a bag and dispose of them in the trash. Lastly, encourage natural predators by avoiding spraying pesticides. Information on treatment options can be found at

What is the park doing about Spotted Lanternflies?

  • Monitoring Ailanthus trees and other higher risk areas (i.e.. campgrounds) for SLF.
  • Working with federal and state partners to share early detection information.

What can you do to slow the spread of SLF?

  • Please don’t bring outside firewood into the park. Use only in-park sources, dead and down wood, or USDA pest-free certified firewood.
  • If you are traveling from an SLF quarantine area, inspect your vehicle, camper or trailer for attached egg masses before you leave for the park.
  • If you find any SLF, remove and dispose of them by following the advice in the links below.

Where can I get more information?

Check out the following websites for additional information and management efforts:

What Citizens Can Do (Includes an inspection checklist)

USDA Spotted Lanternfly Link:

Virginia Tech Spotted Lanternfly Resources:

Extension Link for Reporting Spotted Lanternfly Sightings:

VDACS Spotted Lanternfly Information:

Shenandoah National Park

Last updated: April 22, 2021