The Spotted Lanternfly is native to Asia and first arrived in the United States in 2014. Despite quarantine efforts in Pennsylvania the Spotted Lanternfly has spread to over 3 states and caused massive amounts of damage to host trees. The Spotted Lanternfly feeds on a range of trees and the result is destructive. They pose a serious threat to Pennsylvania agriculture, making it important for everyone to learn more about these insects.
If you are wondering what exactly the Spotted Lanternfly does to trees, it is important to understand a “host tree”. The Spotted Lanternfly targets a host tree for nourishment and survival. The host tree supports the Spotted Lanternfly during all life stages. The Spotted Lanternfly feeds on a large range of fruit, woody, and ornamental trees. Observations over the past few years have established the tree-of-heaven as being one of its preferred hosts.
According to the PA Department of Agriculture there is no knowledge the SLF kills trees and plants. However, after feeding on these trees, extensive damage does take place. When the Spotted Lanternfly feeds on a host tree it digests sap and releases honeydew that promotes mold and fungi growth. Another issue with the release of honeydew is that this sticky sour mixture of honeydew and sap attract other insects that also feed.
Trees At Risk
The following trees have been identified as host trees for the Spotted Lanternfly.
*List from the United States Department of Agriculture
What Can You Do?
There is still extensive research being conducted on the full effect of this invasive species.The most important thing you can do is to stay informed about the Spotted Lanternfly. Knowing how to identify, manage, and report the Spotted Lanternfly is crucial.