Spotted lanternfly

Lepidoptera: fulgoridae
(Lycorma delicatula)


Spotted lanternfly is a true bug that belongs to the order Hemiptera. The first instar nymph is black in colour with white spots and approximately ¼ inches long. The second and third instar nymphs look like the first instar but are larger in size. Fourth instar nymphs are red with black strips and white spots and up to ¾ inches long. Adult spotted lanternflies are about 1 inch long. The adults’ forewings are pinkish-tan with black spots and the hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band.

Life Cycle

Spotted lanternfly has three life stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Females lay one or two egg masses,each containing 30-60 eggs laid in orderly rows on any outdoor surfaces from tree trunks to rusty metals. She secretes a thick creamy-white fluid over the eggs. The fluid becomes pinkish-gray when it dries and, in a few weeks, the covering turns a darker tan and starts to crack, resembling dried mud that is extremely camouflaged. Eggs overwinter, and the first instar nymph emerges in spring. The nymph stage consists of four development instars. Nymphs prefer tender plant s and climb trees to reach new growth. Nymphs are wingless but adults have wings and can fly short distances. Both nymphs and adults of spotted lanternflies can use their powerful hind legs to jump impressive distances. This pest has one generation per year.


Nymphs and adults of spotted lanternflies have piercing-sucking mouthparts that allow them to feed plant sap. This invasive pest has many hosts including the tree of heaven, grapes, apple, stone fruit, maple, etc. The adult lanternfly can puncture trees and drill into the bark and suck tree sap. Trees with extensive lanternfly attacks appear oozing sap from holes in the tree. Moreover, spotted lanternflies excrete a sticky substance called honeydew which attracts scavenger insects such as ants and bees. Also, honeydew may encourage sooty mold which is a fungus disease growing on the plant. Sooty mold covers plant leaves, resulting in less photosynthesis and loss of vigour of plants.



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