The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an invasive pest with an appetite for plants and crops including ornamentals and vines. It has the potential to do significant damage in our community’s yards and parks but also affects crops including our beloved NJ vineyards that bring us local wines. The pest, first discovered in Pennsylvania uses its piercing-sucking mouthpart to feed on sap from over 70 different plant species including grapevines, maple trees, black walnut, birch, willow, and other trees. The feeding damage stresses plants and trees which can lead to decreased health and even death.
The Spotted Lanternfly was first detected in New Jersey in 2018 and has descended upon our area in droves this summer. Residents and farmers throughout the region are working to maintain their gardens and crops and should remain vigilant in killing the flies when an infestation occurs.
It is important to understand the lifecycle of these flies and how to manage them on one's property. For instance, lanternflies will start laying eggs in the fall, but they are hard to spot and look like mud (see photo below).
Homeowners can manage the flies on their properties by scraping and destroying eggs, placing bands or traps on trees, removing the insect’s favorite hosts such as the Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), and using registered insecticides for control when appropriate.
Here are a few helpful links with detailed information, videos, and other resources regarding the Spotted Lanternfly: