The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma Delicatula, is a new invasive insect (planthopper) that is threatening the $18 billion agriculture industry of southeastern Pennsylvania. The insect was first identified in Berks County in 2014. Native to southeast Asia, SLF have become become so dangerous to the land that the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine for the following counties:

SLF survive by sucking the sap out of the trunks, branches, twigs, and leaves of fruit trees. Although they do not destroy the fruit itself, the openings on the trees left from the bites provide a platform for mold and fungi to grow. Eventually the mold and fungi cover the tree's surfaces and stunt the tree's growth. Aside from their ability to destroy precious plants, they have also become a nuisance for residents.

Credit: PA Department of Agriculture

SLF are not known to cause harm to humans or animals. They do not bite or sting. It is still unknown if the insect is poisonous if/once ingested.

SLF have 6 stages of development: egg, first instar (nymph), second instar (nymph), third instar (nymph), fourth instar (nymph), adults, and egg laying. Adult SLF are typically 1'' long and can be identified by their vibrant red wings with black and white spots. It is good to note that when SLF wings are closed they are gray and black; the red and white is revealed when the insect's wings are open.

Credit: Bugwood

During the late fall, SLF lay eggs in masses on almost all outdoor surfaces. The eggs survive throughout the winter and hatch mid-spring.

Graphic: PennState Extension
Graphic: PennState Extension


Homeowners should take it upon themselves to be properly informed about SLF. If you suspect SLF activity, collect a sample and report it to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture or call 1-888-4BAD-FLY.

Residents can choose to remove or treat Ailanthus trees on their property which are known attractants for SLF. SLF do have natural predators, spiders and praying mantises, but they are not enough to control the invasive insect's population.

It is recommended for homeowners to scrap egg masses in the fall and winter. In the spring, infested trees should be banded with sticky tape to trap nymphs attempting to feed.

Credit: PA Department of Agriculture

For both nymphs and adults, insecticides can and should be used to eliminate homeowners immediate population (front yard/backyard). If you determine that professional help is needed, make sure to choose a company that meets the legal and educational requirements to service your home. This includes:

- Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator Certification or Registered Technician Card
- Business License

There are two types of chemical pest control that can kill SLF. Contact insecticides kill SLF when the insect comes into direct contact with the chemical (direct spray or when insect walks across residue). Systemic insecticides are absorbed by the plants and kill SLF when the insect feeds off of the plant.

Graphic: Penn State Extension


FlyFoe Collegeville (PA) & FlyFoe Wayne (PA) are currently certified Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicators and have valid business licenses. Along with mosquitoes and ticks, FlyFoe has created an integrated pest management (IPM) program to help residents control and eliminate SLF. FlyFoe uses EPA certified insecticides which are proven to kill SLF. This contact insecticide should be sprayed professionally in order to work effectively.


FlyFoe is currently accepting new clients for SLF for the fall of 2018 to help the community rid the invasive species.

Call 1-888-4-FLYFOE or visit flyfoe.com to book your service today.