Spotted Lanternfly Update: Be on the Lookout for Egg Masses

spotted lanternfly adult and eggs

Adult Spotted Lanternfly and egg masses. Photo: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is a new invasive pest in the mid-Atlantic region. The first Spotted Lanternfly in Maryland was confirmed in Cecil County in October 2018. (See the Maryland Department of Agriculture press release.)

honeydew and sooty mold

Honeydew and sooty mold from Spotted Lanternfly feeding. Photo: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

This insect is known to feed on 70 species of plants including forest and agricultural crops such as grapes, hops, apples, peaches, figs, oaks, maples, black walnuts, and tree of heaven. Spotted Lanternflies feed on plant sap and secrete a sticky substance called honeydew. Black sooty mold grows on the honeydew and blocks sunlight from reaching leaves, impairing photosynthesis. Plants may become weakened and more susceptible to secondary invaders such as ambrosia beetles. The long-term effect on the health of trees and vines is unknown at this time.

spotted lanternfly eggs

Spotted Lanternfly egg masses are covered with a gray waxy substance. Uncovered individual eggs can be seen in rows at the bottom right. Photo: Richard Gardner, Bugwood.org

Spotted Lanternflies progress through a series of life stages: eggs, nymphs, and adults. At this time of year (October-late April) they are in the egg stage. The egg masses may be seen on tree trunks as well as inanimate objects such as outdoor furniture, decks, stones, metal, and tires. The egg masses are typically about 1-1.5 inches long and covered with a gray or yellowish-brown, waxy coating. Each egg mass may contain 30 to 50 eggs that will hatch from late April to early May.

spotted lanternfly eggs on a bench

Spotted Lanternfly eggs on the underside of a bench. Photo: Emelie Swackhamer, Penn State University, Bugwood.org

If you think you see an egg mass like this, snap a picture of it, collect it, put it in a plastic bag, freeze it, and report it to the Maryland Department of Agriculture at DontBug.MD@maryland.gov.

Additional Resources

By Christa K. Carignan, Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturist, Coordinator, University of Maryland Extension Home & Garden Information Center

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