Stopping the latest invasive bug

by Jeff Helsdon | March 14, 2023
spotted lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly, native to southeastern Asia, made its first appearance in North America in 2014 in Pennsylvania. It has not yet been confirmed in Canada, but more than 100 insects were found in Buffalo, New York, in the fall of 2022.

These bugs can only fly short distances, but can be inadvertently transported by humans when we move anything it lays eggs on, such as firewood. The insect feeds on trees, causing sap leaks, which attracts other insects or mould that can eventually kill the tree. Once established, it can decimate forests, grape vines, and apple trees.

The spotted lanternfly is easily identified by its wings. The rear wings are red with black spots near the front and have white and black bands at the back. The front wings are light brown/grey with black spots at the front and dark bands near the back. The insect’s abdomen is yellow with horizontal black stripes. Its nymphs are black and white in the early stages and black, white, and red as they mature. Mature insects are about an inch long.

Egg masses are about an inch long, brownish-grey and waxy when new. In fall and winter, they, look older and scaly.

The tree of heaven (also an invasive species) is the spotted lanternfly’s preferred host to lay eggs on. Ontario Parks is leading an effort to identify these trees in Ontario. For more info visit:

If you find the spotted lanternfly at any stage, remove and report it. Place eggs or nymphs in a sealed plastic bag with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer and dispose of them. Report it to the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711 or here:

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