White (Spotted Lanternfly )
Synonym(s): spot clothing wax cicada, spotted wax cicada
Adult Description: Adult are fairly cryptic as long as their wings are folded. They have light brown forewings dotted with black spots, and the base color darkens along the tips of the wing. The hindwings are brightly colored, red with black spots, with a white band separating the red from the black tips of their hindwings. Females are slightly larger than males, with a body length of 20 to 27 mm vs. 17 to 22 mm (about 0.75-1.1 in.).
Larva Description: All four instars (nymphal growth stages) are mostly black with white spots, but the fourth and final instar also has red patches on the body.
Host Plant: The spotted lanternfly feeds on over 70 known host plants, with 25 identified in Pennsylvania. These include economically important plants, particularly common grape vine (Vitis vinifera), but ranging from apples, other grapes, birch, cherry, lilac, maple, poplar, stone fruits, and the non-native invasive tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), which it appears to prefer. The spotted lanternfly is likely to establish itself where tree-of-heaven is present, as they co-occur in their native regions of Asia.
History: First report of the pest in the U.S. was in 2014 in Pennsylvania.
Biology: The spotted lanternfly has long, tubular piercing-sucking mouthparts that are adapted to feeding from plant stems. It sucks on phloem sap.
Ecological Threat: Nymphs and adults of the spotted lanternfly feed on the sap of a host plant through the phloem of young leaves and stems, potentially causing stunted growth and/or death. In addition, the spotted lanternfly excretes a sugary excrement known as honeydew. Honeydew can build up on leaf surfaces, promoting the growth of fungal sooty mold that blocks sunlight from reaching the insides of the leaf and thus limits photosynthesis.
Resembles: Because of its large size and striking appearance, this species is not likely to be confused with others in the United States. From a distance, the first instar nymph may resemble a tick to the untrained eye, but unlike ticks, they can jump.
Management: North American management efforts focus on early detection to prevent the spread of the spotted lanternfly to new locations. Eggs can be removed by hand by scraping egg masses off trees. Sticky traps can also be made by wrapping paper around the trees and coating them with adhesive. Because the lanternfly moves readily, the most effective insecticides are systemic (absorbed by the tree and affects the insect when they feed) or spraying the tree entirely. Lavender oil and linalool oil may also be helpful as repellents.
Last Updated: 2024-02-13 by Ashley Morgan-Olvera, TISI