Spotted Lanternfly Advisory

Last updated September 28, 2022


Lanternfly PosterThe spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect native to China, was first discovered in the United States in Berks County, PA in 2014.  Since that time, the lanternfly has spread rapidly and is currently found in 14 states and throughout much of the PATC’s territory. For current distribution of this insect, visit this link.

The lanternfly’s piercing/sucking mouthparts allows it to feed on the sugar-rich sap of its host. As it feeds this invasive insect also secretes a sugary substance known as honeydew which can accumulate on the plant and promote a sooty mold growth further damaging the host. The results can seriously damage the host and, combined with other stresses, lead to the plant’s death. Although one of the lanternfly’s primary hosts is the invasive Tree of Heaven, it has been known to feed on over 100 different trees and vines, including a range of fruit, ornamental, and native tree and vine species. In Pennsylvania alone, it is estimated that the lanternfly can potentially cause some $324 million in economic losses to the state’s agricultural and forestry industries.

The lanternfly is NOT a great flier. Classified as a planthopper (and when you try to swash them you can see why), the lanternfly often relies on hitching rides with unsuspecting “guests”. Vehicles and equipment left at trailheads are fertile spots for the lanternfly to lay their eggs, which upon a quick glance look like splotches of mud. In addition, adult lanternflies have been observed clinging to vehicles traveling over 60 mph down interstates.

As good stewards to our lands, it is important that we do not contribute to the spread of this serious and destructive  invasive. With the lanternfly’s rapidly spreading range it is safe to say that one could find it along any of the trails maintained by the PATC. Make it a habit to check your equipment and vehicles for lanternflies and their egg masses before leaving from your hike. Remove any suspected egg masses and smash or squash those adults.

For more information about the spotted lanternfly in specific PATC states and lists of counties under lanternfly quarantine, please visit the following:
West Virginia