Spotted Lanternfly

Loudoun County officials are enlisting homeowners, gardeners, horticultural retailers, agricultural producers and others in a campaign to thwart the spread of the invasive spotted lanternfly.

Spotted Lanternfly Life Cycle

Egg Masses (December-May)

Egg Masses


  • Size: About 1.5" long
  • The egg masses are laid on tree trunks and other surfaces.
  • Egg masses typically include 30 to 50 jellybean-shaped eggs in neat rows covered by a waxy substance that looks like mud.
  • During winter, destroy the egg masses.

Young Nymph (May-August)

Young Nymphs


  • Size: 4mm up to 3/8" long
  • Early, immature stages of the spotted lanternfly are wingless and black with white spots.

Mature Nymph (July-August)

Mature Nymph


  • Size: 7/8" long or 12mm
  • Mature nymphs develop red patches.

Adult (July-December)

Adult

Adult Wings Spread

Adult Wings Spread


  • Size: about 1" long
  • At rest, the adult resembles a colorful moth and shows light-brown, grayish wings with black spots held "tent-like" over its body. 
  • When the wings are open, yellow and red patches are exposed. 
  • Adults are approximately 1" long and ½" wide.

About the Insect

  • Invasive species, native to China
  • Plant hopper and excellent jumper 
  • Poor flyer
  • Very effective hitchhiker on vehicles
  • Attacks grapes, pines, stone fruits, hardwoods and 70 other plants
  • Does not sting or bite humans or pets
  • Has been detected in nearby Winchester, VA
  • Feeds on the invasive Tree of Heaven
  • Secretes a smelly substance, honeydew, when feeding on a plant. Honeydew is then colonized by fungi, which gives it a black appearance, and coats the plant and ground below.  

How You Can Help

Early detection is vital to managing the spotted lanternfly. 

  1. Educate Yourself: Learn to identify the life stages and the invasive Tree of Heaven (PDF).
  2. Inspect Your Surroundings: Look for spotted lanternfly egg masses and insects by checking tree trunks, wheel wells, under and around vehicles, lawn furniture, fences, storage sheds, rocks, metal surfaces (especially if they are rusty) and other smooth surfaces.
  3. Take pictures and/or capture in a container the spotted lanternflies and their egg masses. During winter, destroy the egg masses.
  4. Report sightings as soon as possible through this online form.

Training

Loudoun County is offering free training and information sessions to help increase awareness of the threat of the spotted lanternfly. The educational sessions offered by the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Loudoun County are designed to equip homeowners associations, farmers and other individuals and organizations in the county with the information they need to help prevent the spread of the invasive insect.

To request a training session or for more information about the spotted lanternfly, contact horticulturalist Beth Flores-Sastre of the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Loudoun County by phone at 703-737-8978 or by email.  

Resources

Watch an Educational Video

The video below is from Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension.