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Garpiel Group

Spotted Lanternfly

By March 27, 2024No Comments

Spotted lanternfly is a non-native invasive species which has recently been confirmed in our state.  These insects pose a risk to several different tree species, as they are not very picky about what they feed on.  With that being said, though, Ailanthus (tree of heaven) is one of their preferred hosts.  Both the nymph and adult stages are responsible for feeding damage and they feed similar to how aphids feed, using their piercing/sucking mouthparts to penetrate the bark and feed on the tree which, in turn, stresses the tree.  Because of this, heavy infestations can lead to tree death if left untreated.

Unhatched spotted lanternfly egg mass on a tree

The nymph stage begins when eggs hatch in spring.  The nymphs go through four growth stages (known as instars) before becoming adults.  The nymphs’ first three instars are black in color with white spots, while the fourth instar is red in color with smaller black and white spots.  Once they mature into adults (typically mid-summer), they become large, winged insects, with a length of 1” and a wingspan of 2”.  The adults are very colorful, with markings of yellow on their abdomen and bright red or pink on their hindwings.

Spotted lanternfly has been confirmed in Oakland County, but it has been known to move rapidly to new locations, which is why control can be difficult.  Their rapid movement can be directly related to how they indiscriminately lay their eggs.  Their eggs have been identified on several different items, including camp chairs and train cars.  Because of this, it is easy for their eggs to be laid in one location and hatch in a completely different location. If spotted, egg masses should be scraped off whenever possible.

The good news is that treatments are available to help control the Spotted lanternfly population.  We have several treatment options available to target the nymph and adult stages. Please be on the lookout for this invasive pest, and please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns regarding your trees or shrubs and how they may be impacted

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