The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that causes damage when they feed, sucking sap from stems and leaves. This can weaken the plant and eventually contribute to the plant's death.
Spotted lanternfly lay their eggs in the fall, and the first instar nymphs hatch starting in April. The newly hatched nymphs are black with white spots, and starting in July the oldest nymphs will have patches of red. Shortly after, they will begin to assume their adult forms, which have wide colorful wings.
Spotted lanternfly poses a significant threat to the U.S. economy and environment. To stop its spread, the Maryland Department of Agriculture and other neighboring states have issued quarantines for counties where the presence of this pest have been confirmed – Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, and Washington counties as well as Baltimore City. Businesses operating in the quarantine zone must have permits to move equipment and goods within and out of the zone.
If you see something that looks like a spotted lanternfly, take a picture and send it to DontBug.MD@maryland.gov or call 410-841-5920. Eradicating invasive species is a costly and challenging task, but stopping them from spreading and keeping tabs on where they are makes that job easier. If you can, try to catch the bug. There is a simple and effective way to catch the spotted lanternfly, as the Integrative Ecology Lab at Temple University explains in the video below. It is called the empty water bottle method.
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