The spotted lanternfly (SLF) is a sap-feeding planthopper, native to China, India and Vietnam, that was discovered in the United States in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2014. No established populations of spotted lanternfly have been identified in Michigan as of December 2020. We know, however, that there is a high risk spotted lanternfly could accidentally be transported into the state. Dead spotted lanternfly adults were found in two areas of southern Michigan in fall 2020. While surveyors found no evidence it had become established in either location, it does highlight the need to be alert. If and when spotted lanternfly does become established in Michigan, it will likely thrive, given the suitable climate and many of host plants available here. MSU faculty and Extension educators, along with regulatory officials, are preparing to manage this new pest if and when it arrives in Michigan.
The showy insect could affect Michigan fruit and nursery production, along with many species of trees in landscapes and forests. It prefers to feed and develop on Tree-of-heaven, an invasive tree that has little economic value. Scientists in Pennsylvania, however, have reported that spotted lanternfly can also feed and develop on several other species of plants.
Adults are strong fliers and can disperse a considerable distance. Eggs laid on plants or other materials can be transported into new areas. As of October 2020, spotted lanternfly adults have been found in Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Connecticut, Ohio and New York.
Early detection of spotted lanternfly will be important for managing this pest. If you suspect you have seen or captured one of these insects, please report it. Send a captured insect or email a good quality photograph to MSU's Pest and Plant Diagnostics lab.
Here are resources for learning more about this pest.
- Spotted lanternfly page on the State of Michigan's Invasive Species website. Includes current status in Michigan.
- Spotted lanternfly fact sheet from MSU Extension - Spotted lanternfly: A colorful cause for concern (Updated Nov. 12, 2020). Same information in printable PDF.
- Penn State University spotted lanternfly photos
- Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture website
- Penn State “The state of spotted lanternfly” webinar (Sept 13, 2018)
- USDA APHIS Spotted Lanternfly web page
Banner image courtesy of Lawrence Barringer; Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture; Bugwood.org
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