The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has confirmed several new spotted lanternfly (SLF) infestations across the state, including Columbus and Toledo.
In 2021, ODA designated the spotted lanternfly as a destructive plant pest and established regulations aimed at reducing the risk of spread. As a result of new detections, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Mahoning, and Muskingum counties will be added to the spotted lanternfly regulated area. In regulated areas, spotted lanternfly infestations have been confirmed and inspections are increased.
The spotted lanternfly was first detected in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in 2014. It was likely brought to the U.S. by imported goods. The first confirmation in Ohio was in Mingo Junction in 2020. The spotted lanternfly is an insect native to Asia that is a pest of grapes, hops, and apples, along with many other species of plants. This pest is a great concern to the grape and wine industry, which contributes more than $6 billion dollars in economic activity to the state yearly. An invasive tree known as tree of heaven is the primary host for spotted lanternfly.
The public plays an important role in detecting this insect. In late summer and into fall, spotted lanternflies are in their adult stage. They are approximately one inch, with black bodies and colorful red and grey wings with black markings. They will lay eggs (small, grey masses covered by a waxy covering) beginning in October.
If you think you see spotted lanternflies or damage caused by them, please report it to ODA by filling out the Ohio Plant Pest Reporter. A clear photo is required for submissions.