The Spotted Lanternfly is originally from Asia, but started popping up in Pennsylvania in 2014. From there, it invaded Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia. Ohio is not yet on the list, but come spring we could be next.
It’s pretty! Why am I worried?
While it may look like a pretty moth, it is actually an extremely destructive and invasive pest. “The lanternfly feeds primarily on sap and has a preference for the tree of heaven, itself an invasive species, which is now common across the United States” Nakahara reports. They also dine on plants and could be a concern for farmers and anywhere that contamination is possible.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the lanternfly is known to feed on almonds, apples, blueberries, cherries, grapes, peaches, hops, oak, poplar, and walnut.
The lanternfly is able to reproduce quickly and can lay eggs almost anywhere. This includes metropolitan areas too, not just urban. The species became such a bother, that at one point the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture made it illegal for anyone to let the pest to live on their property.
Photo: Emelie Swackhamer, Penn State Extension
So what do we do about it?
The Department of Agriculture asked anyone who spots it to report it. The state of Pennsylvania went a step further and asked anyone who spots one to kill it! (We agree with Pennsylvania). To report it, call 614-728-6400 or email the department at firstname.lastname@example.org.