The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced today that a single dead specimen of the invasive pest known as spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) was discovered at a private residence in Boston, Massachusetts. As a result, MDAR urges residents to check for signs of this pest in potted plants received this holiday season. MDAR also asks residents to report any potential sightings of this pest on MDAR’s online reporting form by taking photographs and collecting a specimen if possible.
What is spotted lanternfly?
Spotted lanternfly is an invasive sap-feeding insect from Asia. It was first found in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania. The main host plant of this pest is tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima). However, spotted lanternfly attacks a variety of trees, shrubs and vines.
How did spotted lanternfly come to Massachusetts?
The insect appears to have been transported in a shipment of poinsettia plants from Pennsylvania. There is no evidence that this pest has become established in Massachusetts. Spotted lanternfly dies off when a hard frost hits. However, additional surveys will confirm no other lanternfly are present.
What should I look for?
Residents should look for large, gray insects, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings.
“Early detection plays an important role in the protection of the economic and ecological resources of our state from invasive species,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “We ask all residents who have received potted plants this past December to help us protect Massachusetts’ environment and agricultural industries by checking for and reporting signs of spotted lanternfly.”
If you’re unsure of what to look for, a qualified arborist can help you identify this invasive pest and build a plan to treat for it.