Spotted Lanternfly Management

Willistown Township Parks & Recreation
Stewardship Alert: Stop this Bad Bug!

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LOCAL SLF Tracking & Reporting Program

Willistown Parks & Recreation is collaborating with West Chester University’s Spotted Lanternfly Citizen Science Data Collection Project created by grad student Gabrielle Long. Please visit the story map to see where the Spotted Lanternfly has been reported and its progression through our area.

If you’d like to make a report from your smartphone, the Spotted Lanternfly Data Collection App allows you to submit a photo and report your sighting and the action you’ve taken or you can get to the app by scanning the QR code below. Please help us track the movement of this bad bug through our Township! There are free QR reader apps available for download. Please help us track the movement of this bad bug through our Township and spread the word to your friends and neighbors!

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SLF Treatment in Township Parks, Preserves, & Trails

Spotted Lanternfly treatment is occurring on township-owned parks and preserves by an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist

As of fall 2019, the flies have only convened on Tree of Heaven, their favored host, in our Township parkland. Bark drenches to 5’ +/- high have and will occur as needed this fall. Each treatment dries within 15 to 30 minutes. These are not broadcast sprays. Small treatment signs will be placed at the base of each tree treated.
These trees have been treated as trap trees in this spring with insecticide systemically through soil injection, and are identified by small treatment signs at the time of treatment. The trees drink up the insecticide and Lanternflies that feed on them are killed for approximately 10 months going forward.  

Management Information and Insecticide Safety Data Sheets 
Spotted Lanternfly Management Guide

Manufacturer Safety Data Sheet Fall Treatment - the fall treatment is not a broadcast spray but a controlled bark drench on the buttress roots up to about 5’ on the tree. The treatment dries in 15 to 30 minutes.

Manufacturer Safety Data Sheet Spring Treatment

The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive insect that has been documented to feed on over 70 species of trees and plants, posing a serious threat to the fruit, hardwood, nursery, and tourism industries of Pennsylvania and to residential yards and quality of life. No property is exempt from the threat of this pest. It is very important to find out about this insect and learn what you can do to stem their spread and control their damage. The Department of Agriculture asks all PA residents to report sightings and take specific actions. 

lanternfly sized

What to do & When:

The Spotted Lanternfly has arrived in and around Willistown! The following article, Spotted Lanternfly—What To-Do!, and links will fill you in on what you need to know about this #BadBug. This pest is coming soon to all yards, big and small, and has been confirmed in our cherished parks and preserves including Okehocking Preserve. In order to control this invasive insect, homeowners must be vigilant throughout the year. The easiest way to know what to do when is to follow this Penn State Extension Pest Management Calendar below. Please feel free to share the Spring Willistown Parks & Rec Stewardship Bulletin with friends and neighbors.

Spotted Lanternfly Management Calendar

1.  Always read pesticide labels and follow the directions.
2.  Before you move outdoor items from the quarantine area, check for Spotted Lanternfly egg masses, nymphs, and adults and destroy them. Use the Pennsylvania Department of  Agriculture SLF Quarantine Area Checklist when you have to move items from inside the       quarantine to outside to comply with the Quarantine Order.
3. Tree-of-heaven trees will resprout vigorously from their roots after cutting, even if stumps are treated with an herbicide. To control tree-of-heaven trees, treat using foliar, basal bark, or hack-and-squirt herbicide applications from July through September. If tree-of-heaven stems need to be removed, wait 30 days after treatment to cut the trees down. Repeat herbicide applications may be necessary. Note: Killing all tree-of-heaven trees may result in Lanternflies moving to surrounding plants increasing pest damage on them.
4. About 15 percent of tree-of-heaven trees should be left alive to serve as trap trees to attract Spotted Lanternflies. Leave only male, non-seed-bearing trees if possible to limit seed production.

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Message from Willistown Parks & Recreation Director, Mary N. Hundt:
Spotted Lanternfly—What To-Do!

There’s a lot of to-do about the Spotted Lanternfly as it begins to show itself in Willistown, and the attention is well deserved! Area residents are busy posting pictures and questions on local Facebook community pages and other social media. It is critical to educate yourself about what you can do to stem the Lanternfly’s spread and control the damage in our community and beyond.  

What are they?

The Spotted Lanternfly is also known as Lanternmoth, but it is neither a fly nor a moth. It is an invasive insect, a planthopper native to China, India, and Vietnam, that spread to Korea where it is a major pest. It feeds on over 70 species of trees and plants and is a significant threat to Pennsylvania’s agricultural, ornamental landscape, tree-fruit, and hardwood industries that generate nearly $18 billion annually...and your backyard. Early detection and control are vital! 

What do they look like now?

The nymphs start out black with white dots in early spring and turn red with white dots and black stripes. You will see them through September. The adults have black bodies with gray roof shaped wings when closed, camouflaging them well. You’ll see bright red on their hind wings when they are open. They are visible from July through the first week of freezing temperatures in December. 

What do they do?

They are sap-suckers looking for plants to feed on. They do not bite or sting and will not harm your pets, house, patio furniture, etc.

What do I do?

Guidelines from the experts in Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) management at Penn State Extension (PSE):

Home Remedies

Although many people want to take a more "natural" approach to manage this pest, PSE strongly recommends you avoid home remedies because they have not been tested against SLF, do not come with precise directions, may not be effective, can violate federal law, and may cause harm to humans, pets, and plants.

Professional Help

If you feel you are unable to manage this pest or other nuisances, PSE has resources for identification and pest control options. Find "Choosing a Qualified Pest Management or Lawn Care Company" on their website.

Tree of Heaven 

The SLF’s favored food source is this invasive plant that originated in China. PSE has Tree of Heaven identification guidelines on their website. It is extremely important to know how to manage this tree! Just cutting it down will bring it back ten-fold, and eradicating it means that the SLF will find another plant to feed on in your yard. You may want to turn some of your trees into trap trees next year by feeding the tree insecticide and allowing the flies to feast on the tree and die. See the management matrix below for some detail on management.

SLF Quarantine Area

The SLF Quarantine Area currently includes  Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill Counties. Residents are to follow the PA Department of Agriculture’s Compliance Checklist, and businesses, agencies, and organizations who move vehicles, products, or other conveyances within or out of the Quarantine Area are required to have a permit.

Check Before You Travel

Be sure to check your vehicle for the insects and any materials you are transporting for hitchhiking Lanternflies before you leave the SLF Quarantine Area described above, and follow the Compliance Checklist.

Report Sightings and Action Taken 

Report sightings to the Extension online or call the hotline (1-888-422-3359) with your address, name, phone number, and what action you took, if any. You can sign up for management alerts and information via email. 

Let your neighbors and friends know that you found them in your yard and tell them about the Penn State Extension. If they are from outside of the Quarantine Area, have them check their cars for any unwanted passengers.

Please Help our Parks & Preserves!

Please report sightings in Willistowns parks and preserves to me and include your phone number, the location on the property of the sighting, and action taken, if any, or call me at 610-647-5300 x224. Thank you!

Thank you in advance for doing your part and working to control this #BadBug!

As always, please feel free to contact me.

Willistown Parks & Recreation Director

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From the Experts at Penn State Extension & the PA Department of Agriculture

The Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (White), an invasive planthopper, has been discovered in numerous Pennsylvania counties, including Chester and Delaware Counties. These counties are under Plant Pest Quarantine because of the lanternfly. It is native to China, India, and Vietnam, and was introduced to Korea where it has become a major pest.  It is now threatening the northeastern United States, especially southeastern Pennsylvania. This insect has the potential to greatly impact the grape, hops, plant nursery, and logging industries in PA. Early detection is vital for the protection of Pennsylvania businesses and agriculture.  Important identification, quarantine, and management information can be found in this Stewardship Bulletin. Please call the Penn State Extension Spotted Lanternfly hotline 1-888-422-3359 with questions and to report your sightings.

You can find the most up to date information about the Spotted Lanternfly through the Penn State Extension here.


The Spotted Lanternfly adult is approximately 1” long and 1/2” wide at rest. The forewing is grey with black spots and the wings tips are reticulated black blocks outlined in grey. The hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band. The legs and head are black; the abdomen is yellow with broad black bands. Immature stages are black with white spots and develop red patches as they grow.

Egg Mass Description: September through April

  • Laid on the bark of trees or other smooth surfaces such as rocks, outdoor furniture, vehicles and other surfaces from September through end of December.
  • About 1 inch long and a half to three-quarters of an inch wide.
  • Gray/brown, mud-like covering. Newly laid eggs can be shiny and look like they have a waxy coating that can become dry and cracked over time. Older egg masses may lose their covering and appear as four to seven columns of seed-like eggs, 30–50 eggs in total. 
  • If you see egg masses, scrape them off into a bag with hand sanitizer to kill them and then throw them away. You can start collecting the egg masses in September when the females start laying them. Best time to collect before the cold is the fall, but you can continue to scrape them off in the winter and very early spring through March. Be aware that they start hatching as early as April!   
  • Take a look at the Penn State Extension video showing how to scrape an egg mass here.
  • Please report egg masses to Penn State Extension. 
Lanternfly Egg mass
Lanternfly Egg masses
SLF Egg Mass Sept - May

Nymph Description: May through September

SLF Late Nymphs April - Oct
SLF Early Nymphs April - Oct

Adult Description: July through Hard Frost

  • At rest – grayish wings with black spots, and the tips are black and gray
  • When flying or startled, the insect will display vibrant red hind wings
  • Adults are around 1 inch long and a half inch wide with wings folded
  • Adults can jump several feet when startled or approached
  • Please report adults to Penn State Extension. 
SLF Adult Wings Closed July - Nov
SLF Adult Wings Open July - Nov

Remove Tree-of-Heaven, the Lanternfly's Favored Host Plant

Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) also known as ailanthus, Chinese sumac, and stinking sumac is a rapidly growing, deciduous tree native to a region extending from China south to Australia. Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive pest, is particularly attracted to Tree-of-heaven. This species is easily confused with some of our native species that have compound leaves and numerous leaflets, such as staghorn sumac, black walnut, and hickory. 

The leaf edges of these native trees all have teeth, called serrations, while those of tree-of-heaven are smooth. Due to its extensive root system and resprouting ability, Tree-of-Heaven is difficult to control. Treatment timing and following up the second year are critical to success. Mechanical methods, such as cutting or mowing, are ineffective, as the tree responds by producing large numbers of stump sprouts and root suckers.  

Please go to the Penn State Extension's Tree-of-Heaven page for more information and very important control methods.

Download the Penn State Extension's Invasive Weeds Factsheet on Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

View the Penn State Extension's Tree of Heaven identification video here.

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tree of heaven leaf

Heart-shaped or v-shaped leaf scar

tree of heaven youth

Cantaloupe-type bark in older tree

Tree of Heaven Bark 1

What to do:

  1. Attend our informational meeting on Thursday, November 15 at 7PM at the General Wayne Elementary School Auditorium, and tell your friends and neighbors about it. View the invitation again here.
  2. Call the Penn State hotline at 1-888-4BAD-FLY (1-888-422-3359) with questions on Spotted Lanternfly management or to report a sighting. You may also report Spotted Lanternflies through the Penn State Extension.
  3. If you find a Spotted Lanternfly or its egg masses in a Willistown Township park or preserve, please follow the guidelines here first and then notify Mary Hundt of the life cycle stage and location and the action you have taken via email or at 610-647-5300 x224. Thank you!
  4. Go to Spotted Lanternfly Management for Homeowners to find out what you can do during all seasons to help control the Lanternfly on your property. Find out about tree banding, egg scraping, host tree management and more. Penn State reports to Willistown that cold winters don't kill off the egg casings, it only kills the adults after two or three hard frosts. Be advised that what effects the insect's population and damage is whether you treat your property throughout the year. Data has shown that managing your own property is worth it, even if your neighbor does nothing.
  5. Find out if you have Tree-of-Heaven on your property. If you do find it, find out what to do at the Penn State Extension before taking action.
  6. Tell your friends and neighbors about the Spotted Lanternfly!

Willistown is in a Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Area 
Important Guidelines for Businesses and Residents

Penn State Extension SLF Life Cycle