Be on the lookout for invasive spotted lanternfly

Be on the lookout for invasive spotted lanternfly

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is reminding Michigan nurseries and greenhouses to be on the lookout for the invasive spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula).

On August 10, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the detection of spotted lanternfly  in Pontiac in Oakland County. MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division (PPPM) surveyed the initial area to determine the extent of the infestation. Surveying revealed the spotted lanternfly population is mostly contained to a small, wooded lot owned by Oakland County. After surveying was complete, Oakland County began pesticide applications of the affected area and PPPM will continue to monitor the site.

Early detection of invasive, non-native species gives PPPM more options for response and containment, which is vital to protect Michigan against the spread of invasive diseases or species like spotted lanternfly.  Know what to look for and watch for any signs of spotted lanternfly on your nursery stock.

Know the pest

Spotted lanternfly egg masses are about one inch long and look like old chewing gum, with a gray, waxy, putty-like coating. Hatched eggs appear as brownish, seed-like deposits. Immature spotted lanternfly looks like a small red or black bug covered in white spots. Adult spotted lanternfly is about one inch long, with folded wings that are grey to brown with small black spots and brightly colored hind wings.

Host plants

Although spotted lanternfly prefers to feed on tree of heaven, it also feeds on a wide variety of plants including grapes and trees such as black walnut, river birch, willow, sumac, and red maple.

Symptoms of infestation

When feeding, spotted lanternfly produces a sticky liquid, called honeydew, that can collect on the ground or surrounding vegetation. This results in the growth of sooty mold, which can discolor and kill plants. 

Immature life stages of spotted lanternfly can be found feeding on variety of host plants beginning in spring with insects maturing to the more familiar looking adults in July and early August. Adult Spotted lanternfly will be active until killed by the first hard frost.

Confirmed populations

Confirmed observations of spotted lanternfly have also been recorded in Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Be extra vigilant when receiving nursery stock from these locations.  The map below displays counties known to be infested with spotted lanternfly.

Map of spotted lanternfly


What you can do

Inspect nursery stock and goods originating from infested areas for signs and symptoms of spotted lanternfly. Information on spotted lanternfly identification is included with this communication. 

Spotted lanternfly strongly prefers tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima. Tree of heaven is an invasive tree that grows well in poor soil and disturbed sites, and the tree often can be found growing along fence lines, rights of way, around holding yards or other similar areas. Take a moment to look around your property for tree of heaven and, if present, inspect it for signs of spotted lanternfly. Information on tree of heaven identification is included in the communication.  

If you believe you have found spotted lanternfly, use the Eyes in the Field online system to submit reports. Photos are necessary to verify a report and to aid in identification.  For additional information on identifying or reporting spotted lanternfly, visit You can also learn more at USDA’s Spotted Lanternfly website found at USDA APHIS | Spotted Lanternfly.