Spotted Lanternfly Stewardship Bulletin

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

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The Spotted Lanternfly has arrived in and around Willistown! Many thanks go to the 90 people who attended the stewardship meeting in November. Following are links to that presentation and other important documents for homeowners. This pest is coming soon to all yards, big and small, and has been confirmed in our cherished parks and preserves including Okehocking Preserve. Now through mid-April is a critical time to look for egg masses, scrape and properly dispose of them, and to identify any Tree of Heaven on your properties. There are hand sanitizer dispensers, scrape cards, and bags going up in our parks and preserves. Please see the presentation for more information on egg mass identification and removal or scroll down for more info.
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

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. 

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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 masses
Lanternfly Egg mass
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.

tree of heaven leaf
tree of heaven bigstock

Cantaloupe-type bark in older tree

Tree of Heaven Bark 1

Heart-shaped or v-shaped leaf scar

tree of heaven youth

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