Spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, is an invasive planthopper native to Asia. It was first detected in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. Although this insect has not yet been found in North Carolina, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has started a widespread campaign to educate citizens about this impending invasive pest.
It is hoped that early detection and reporting can help reduce the spread of the lanternfly. This insect has a broad host range and poses a major threat to the North Carolina grape and orchard industries.
The lanternfly has one generation per year and is able to overwinter in the egg stage. Egg masses look like blobs of silly putty. Females lay eggs on smooth surfaces, including metal. Spotted lanternflies are excellent hitchhikers because egg masses can be transported on train cars, lawn equipment and shipping containers. Other indications of a spotted lanternfly infestation are large areas of sooty mold growing on honeydew excreted by this insect. Although the host range is broad, spotted lanternfly does favor another invasive species, tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), which is commonly seen in disturbed sites and along roadsides. Tree-of-heaven is recognized by its large, pinnately compound leaves and prominent clusters of samaras (winged seeds).
Visit the N.C. State Extension’s spotted lantern fly resource page for more information: gardening.ces.ncsu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-resource-page.