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Spotted Lanternfly What to Look For
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Spotted Lanternfly - What to Look For

The life cycle of spotted lanternfly, beginning from egg to adult. There is one generation per year in Pennsylvania. Adults die in the winter, and the eggs overwinter and hatch in the spring.

Mid-May through September


Sometime in mid-May, spotted lanternfly nymphs will hatch from the egg masses that were laid on tree bark, stones, and other objects near trees where adults congregated last fall.

Nymphs will complete four immature stages. The first stage (image #3 above) is black with white spots and wingless. As it grows, the Spotted Lanternfly will start to develop red patches (image #4 above) in addition to the white spots. Nymphs spread from the initial site by crawling and feeding on woody and non-woody plants.

July through December

From July – December the bugs gather in masses in trees, on hard surfaces such as houses and, although they don’t bite, are attracted to and land on people who are in their midst.  PDA has found that this pest will feed on 70 different species of plants, shrubs and trees.  As it attacks vineyards, vegetable and fruit crops, soybeans and other agronomic crops the SLF literally rain “honey dew,” a sticky excretion that promotes the growth of sooty mold that is found everywhere it lands. These surfaces turn black as the mold colonies grow.

PDA and Penn State Extension have issued guidance on insecticides containing the most effective ingredients to control adults. Click here to download the list.


September through December

In the fall, adults lay egg masses on nearly any flat surface, which can include outdoor furniture, equipment, stone and block, as well as the outsides and undersides of vehicles. Egg masses will hatch in the spring. Each egg mass contains 35-50 young Spotted Lanternflies. If you see eggs on trees or other smooth outdoor surfaces, scrape them off, double bag them and throw them in the garbage, or place the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them.

  • If you see eggs: Scrape them off the tree or smooth surface, double bag them, and throw them in the garbage or place the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them
  • If you collect a specimen: Turn the adult specimen or egg mass in to the department’s Entomology Lab for verification. First, place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container.
  • If you take a photo: Submit photo of adults or egg masses to
  • If you report a site: Call the Bad Bug hotline at 1-866-253-7189 with details of the siting and your contact information.

·         If you live outside the quarantined zone and find a specimen, first place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container. Then, submit the specimen to your county Penn State Extension office or to the department’s entomology lab for verification. Do not move live specimens. There are many places in the quarantine area that do not have active populations of Spotted Lanternfly, so do not help them to establish a new home base. Be sure to look before you leave.


October through June

Look for egg masses on trees and other items throughout your property.  Egg masses have been found on various species including ornamentals.  While the spotted lanternfly (SLF) prefers the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) for part of its life cycle, the bug is not particular in where is chooses to lay eggs. Egg masses look like a smear of mud with a waxy covering.  Eventually masses will dry and crack. A female can produce up to 200 eggs, and there can be 30 – 50 eggs in each mass.

Egg masses may be in protected areas such as under loose bark or protected areas with gaps. Many egg masses located on the south side of a tree/object and underneath branches.


At this time there are no know products to kill egg masses other than scraping. When you scrape be sure to scrape downward into a vile containing a small amount of alcohol or hand sanitizer to be sure to kill the eggs.

Trucks, trailers, equipment, pots, bags of soil/mulch, pavers, stone - actually any products kept outside are prime real estate for egg masses especially if parked under tree lines where the adults were feeding. 




For additional photos visit PDA's Spotted Lanternfly webpage.




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