Home News Invasive Lanternfly Spotted in Columbus Area, New Areas Added to Regulated Area

Invasive Lanternfly Spotted in Columbus Area, New Areas Added to Regulated Area

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) technicians are working with state and local partners; businesses and residents to stop the spread of the spotted lanternfly* a destructive insect that feeds on a wide range of fruit, ornamental, and hardwood trees, including grapes, apples, walnut, and oak; a serious threat to the United States' agriculture and natural resources, such as in Reading, Pennsylvania, on August 30, 2018. The pest damages plants as it sucks sap from branches, stems, and tree trunks. The repeated feedings leave the tree bark with dark scars. Spotted lanternfly also excretes a sticky fluid, which promotes mold growth and further weakens plants and puts our agriculture and forests at risk. Native to Asia, the spotted lanternfly has no natural enemies in North America. it's free to multiply and ravage orchards, vineyards, and wooded areas. The invasive insect was first detected in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014, and has now spread to several states, by people who accidentally move infested material or items containing egg masses. Most states are at risk of the pest. USDA and our state and local partners are working hard to stop the spread of this invasive pest. Look for signs of spotted lanternfly. Inspect your trees and plants for young spotted lanternfly, adults, and egg masses. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung. *Adult spotted lanternflies are approximately 1 inch long and one-half inch wide, and they have large and visually striking wings. Their forewings are light brown with black spots at the front and a speckled band at the rear. Their hind wings are scarlet with black spots at the front and white and black bars at the rear. Their abdomen is yellow with black bars. Nymphs in their early stages of development appear black with white spots and turn to a red phase before becoming adults. Egg masses are yellowish-brown in color, covered with a gray, w

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.