Hong Kong, China, April 1, 2021 /Xinwengao.com/ - The spotted lanternfly has come to the United States, and that’s bad news. This invasive insect native to China, Bangladesh and Vietnam can damage trees, crops and wood decks, threaten the economy, and be an all-around nuisance. Sightings The spotted lanternfly was first seen in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in September 2014. Since then, it’s appeared in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and West Virginia. Scientists believe that it came to America on goods that were imported from Asia. Pennsylvania’s Quarantine One of several states to have a quarantine on the SLF (spotted lanternfly) is Pennsylvania. At least 26 of its counties are under that directive. The state requires agricultural and non-agricultural businesses that transport products that can be infested by the insect to have a permit. Among the items under stricter state control are construction, landscaping and remodeling materials; logs, stumps and tree parts; grapevines; nursery stock; crates, pallets and packaging materials; RVs and mobile homes; tractors and mowers; grills, deck boards; and vehicles not stored indoors. In addition to a watchful eye over items, Pennsylvania does not allow the movement of the SLF in any of its life stages: egg mass, nymph or adult. Plant Species the Spotted Lanternfly Damages Although the spotted lanternfly threatens many plant products, particularly apples, grapes, hops, walnuts and hardwood trees, it’s been seen on at least 103 kinds of plants and trees. Add to the list rose, plum, river birch, willow, sumac, pine, silver maple, red maple and tree-of-heaven, an invasive plant. How the SLF Harms Trees and Plants The SLF damages in several ways. By sucking the sap from branches and stems, it weakens the host. In feeding, it leaves behind honeydew, which is a sticky substance that invites other insects. Honeydew also promotes the growth of sooty mold on plants and trees. Identification of the Pest Adult spotted lanternflies (July to December) are about 1-inch long and 1/2-inch wide. An early nymph (widely seen from late April to July) is about 1/8-inch long, and it is black with white spots. A late nymph (prominent from July to September) is about 1/2-inch long, and it is black and red with white spots. With wings wide open in its adult stage, the insect’s forewings are gray with black spots, and its hind wings are gray with black spots. When someone or something disturbs it, the SLF shows its beautiful bright red underwings. When wings are closed, the insect is mostly gray with black spots. Newly laid egg masses look as if they are covered with a white substance. On more mature egg masses, the substance may turn gray-brown. Very mature egg masses appear as rows of 30 to 50 seed-like structures in vertical columns. Objects On Which the SLF Is Found The spotted lanternfly can’t fly far, but it infests by landing on objects. That’s why residents are urged to examine their vehicles and keep car and truck windows closed when parked. It’s also suggested that people inspect trees, rocks, cement blocks, decks, and other hard surfaces for egg masses. Do the same for landscaping materials, lawnmowers and outdoor equipment that’s being moved from one place to another. Controlling Egg Masses Managing the pest includes scraping and destroying its eggs and killing the more mature insects. When residents find egg masses that have been laid on trees, rocks and blocks of cement in the months from September to June, they should scrape them off. Pour hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol into a freezer bag and scrape the pest into the bag with a plastic card or a putty knife. Dispose of the sealed bag. Residents can also smash egg masses. Managing the Dissemination of Adult Lanternflies Also look underneath cars and in wheel wells. Adult insects are ever-present in the months from July through late December. In searching for them examine trees and plants, especially at dusk and at night when the insects are more likely to be on trunks and stems. As with egg masses, one method of removing mature SLFs is by smashing them. Other methods of control include removing plants and trees that the SLF feeds on, using tree traps to catch newly hatched nymphs and treating trees and plants with EPA-approved insecticides. On its website, the Penn State Extension evaluates some insecticides for both their effectiveness and toxicity to birds, fish and bees. The spotted lanternfly poses threats to crops, agricultural jobs and commercial and residential trees and plants. It can also disrupt the comfortable lifestyles of residents. Vigilance and moving to prevent the spread of this invasive insect are necessary immediately.