Spotted Lanternflies

The spotted lanternfly was originally brought to the United States from Asia in 2014. It was first spotted in New York in 2020, and has since spread across all five boroughs of New York City.

Spotted Lanternfly (Adult)

Lycorma delicatula

Spotted lanternflies are an invasive species of treehoppers that have spread across the eastern United States.

These pests primarily feed on the sap of Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven), but they also pose a major agricultural threat to vineyards and other cultivated plants and trees.

They’re mainly a nuisance in urban environments, congregating in large numbers on sidewalks and around buildings. It’s recommended to kill them on sight.

Spotted Lanternfly

Size: 3/4″ – 1″ long (19 – 25 mm); about the length of a quarter

Color: Black, red, and brownish-gray

Shape: Oval-shaped body with small, bulb-like antennae, 6 legs, and 2 pairs of large wings

Identifying Features

Legs: 6 legs; long and black

Antennae: Small, orange, and bulbous antennae

Body: Small, black head and an oval-shaped abdomen that’s yellow with thick black stripes on the top and bottom

Wings: 2 pairs of large, butterfly-like wings; forewings are brownish-gray and semi-translucent with many black spots and tiny brick-and-mortar-like rectangular markings on the tip; hindwings are half vivid red with black spots and half white with a solid black tip

Spotted Lanternfly (Nymph)

Lycorma delicatula

In the spring, newly hatched spotted lanternfly nymphs emerge from mud-covered egg masses that the adults laid in the fall.

They go through 4 instar stages, changing color from mostly black to mostly red.

Spotted lanternfly nymphs are strong jumpers and are often seen crowding around tree trunks in large numbers as they feed.

Spotted Lanternfly Nymphs

Size: 1/4″ – 3/4″ long (6 – 19 mm) depending on the instar stage

Color: Black with white spots; 4th instar nymphs are red

Shape: Pear-shaped body with a wide abdomen, a long snout, and 6 legs

Identifying Features

Legs: 6 legs; long, black, and covered in white spots

Antennae: Small, black, and bulbous antennae

Head: Small head with round eyes on each side and an elongated snout

Body: Wide, oval-shaped abdomen; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd instar nymphs are black and covered in white spots, while 4th instar nymphs develop large red patches in addition to the white spots