Spotted Lanternfly 101

Recorded February 25, 2021

Download the agenda (PDF)

Q&A Session

Compiled by Nancy Cusumano, Northeastern IPM Center

Many of the papers are on the Scientific Publications page of

Q. Are people using cut-stump treatments to keep tree of heaven from resprouting?

A. Some people are, but even with herbicide applications resprouting can still occur. Basal bark applications during the growing season is a better option when possible.

A. This is a video of control strategies

Q. What is the classification between a detection and an infestation?

A. A detection represents a find of individual spotted lanternflies (sometimes more than one and most often dead) not a breeding population. It is spelled out in the key at this map.

Q. Is there a publication regarding the vineyard damage study?

A. Potential Economic Impact of the Spotted Lanternfly on Agriculture and Forestry in Pennsylvania. Center for Rural Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, Pa.

Q. Is there anything else that looks similar to the eggs to mistake it with?

A. Lichen, gypsy moth eggs, praying mantis eggs.

Q. You mentioned SLF found in California. Where specifically in California and where else has it been found in airplanes and other transport?

A. Only on airplanes coming from the infested areas. CDFA conducted a survey in 2020 and did not find any outside an airplane.

Q. Are there pesticides that are not neonics that can work? We can’t use neonics in the National Park Service for the most part.

A. Kate, see the table at the bottom of this webpage, it may prove helpful in answering your question:

Our data from large scale trials last summer at 90–100% egg hatch found that foliar sprays of dinotefuran were at least 90% effective against SLF nymphs for at least 2 weeks, but had undetectable effects on trap captures over several weeks of parasitic wasps, ground arthropods, and pollinators

Q. Are there effective ways to kill egg masses with sprays like golden oil or something else?

A. Impact of insecticides and oils in preventing hatch from spotted lanternfly egg masses. Otis Laboratory Accomplishments 2019. p. 31. See also (Golden Oil). And the Penn State extension link in response to the neonics question above lists other chemical treatments for egg masses.

Q. I wonder if Julie Urban has a paper published that details the efficacy of SLF egg mass treatments including chlorpyrifos?

A. This paper should answer your question.

Q. Does Golden Pest Oil Spray have a positive effect on treating Spotted lantern fly in any or all stages?

A. This is the paper that should answer this for you

Q. I may have misunderstood because I arrived late: Did you say that even the vineyards that are heavily sprayed are seeing damage and yield loss?

A. Yes, because although good control of SLF can be achieved in the vineyard they can keep coming in from the surrounding landscape.

Q. Does Ailanthus feeding make them unpalatable to birds and other predators?

A. Yes, see paper here for citation: “Defense sequestration associated with narrowing of diet and ontogenetic change to aposematic colours in the spotted lanternfly” by Song et al. in 2018 Scientific Reports

Q. How much of a factor is wild grape? Is that a known host?

A. We have seen them feeding on wild grape in Pennsylvania. They are a known host, see p.10 here:

They are a known host for nymphs.

Q. Is there a way to get access to the mason, et al.2020 SLF killed on red maple paper?

A. Fidelity and timing of spotted lanternfly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) attack patterns on ornamental trees in the suburban landscape.

Q. Are there any other insects that prey on Spotted Lantern Fly that can be grown and released?

A. There are some lacewings that seem to prey on eggs and that is something Kelli Hoover at Penn State is starting to look at. USDA is working on parasitoids from China. A long way from obtaining the environmental safety data necessary before an authorization to release can be obtained.

Q. Is there any visual component to SLF aggregation? I.e, Do they see big groups of SLF on a tree and preferentially clump together on one tree or plant?

A. Answered live.

Q. Have you done any research on border monitoring for this pest?

A. Heather Leach has in grapes, answered live

Q. Any new information on your work with endosymbionts?

A. Answered live

Q. I did a TDY for USDA in PN and noticed multiple vertical slits on Tree of Heaven oozing fluids. No SLF were there. Can these slits be a sign of feeding compared to SLF using their Tubes for feeding?

A. My understanding is that there are other factors and insects that could be contributing to those symptoms. I have a new postdoc who has expertise in sap feeding insects and using microscopy to characterize their patterns of penetration into plant and tree tissue. So, we are trying to do that exactly.

Q. Can you please comment on observations concerning oaks as hosts for nymphs and/or adults. Many of our vineyards are surrounded by or have lots of oaks nearby.

A. From the Barringer et al paper in Environmental Entomology, sawtooth oak is the only species as known host for adults. Other species are listed as hosts, but either stage is not known or is for eggs and nymphs. Those species are: Oriental white oak, Chestnut oak, and Northern red oak. Worldwide feeding host plants of spotted lanternfly, with significant additions from North America. Environmental Entomology, 49(5), 2020, 1–13

Q. Can the spotted lantern fly be chemically sterilized like Mexican fruit fly?

A. One of the problems is that with how challenging it is to rear SLF in captivity since they are phloem feeders and that they are only one generation per year, the mass rearing needed to try that kind of sterilization approach is not yet practical, unfortunately. Also SLF breed multiple times so sterilized males are not an option. Sterile males could suppress insects were females mate multiple times, so long as sperm is competitive, but there is no practical way to rear and sterilize enough SLF

Q. Do egg masses generally concentrate on the lower trunk of the tree host?

A. No most are high up in the canopy

Q. Does the yellow on the abdomen indicate a gravid female or not necessarily?

A. Not necessarily. Males also fatten up and show their yellow. Females stay fat and yellow even after they lay their first clutch. I am doing dissections to try to figure out how to tell 1st vs. subsequent clutches. But that said, I am also measuring the amount of expanded yellow to see exactly how well it predicts how gravid they are or likely to be mated.

Q. Have you noticed a decrease in yield in the fruit tree orchards when SLF feed there?

A. There has been no recorded yield loss in orchards. Heather Leach has some preliminary data looking at potted apple in experiments in which SLF was caged on the tree to see what impacts there were. She will share that next week during the SLF summit sessions. If I remember correctly, there was no impact on yield, but there was a slight trend suggesting there might be slightly higher fruit abortion after SLF feeding. She plans to replicate this year. And she and I have a grant proposal in with Tracy Leskey at the USDA ARS Appalachian Fruit research center to look more closely at impacts of SLF feeding on tree fruit.

Q. Is there any evidence that by focusing efforts on killing reachable egg masses we are selecting for bugs who tend to deposit their egg masses in places we can’t easily reach? Or is the population so large and dispersed right now that mechanical egg mass removal isn’t a significant survival factor? Or does egg mass laying behavior not appear to be genetic?

A. We have some limited evidence that SLF tends to lay eggs where other egg masses have been laid. Also I have seen that with multiple other fulgorid species in the tropics. So to me that would be the genetic component.

While they don’t necessarily lay where they engage in late season feeding, they lay near where they are, which is where they are spending their time feeding. So there is more variation based on degree of habitat fragmentation that I think is involved. That is, against an edge of a larger wooded area, there is understory growth on the edge and that keeps egg masses low. Against a windbreak of trees that are out in the open, they will lay all the way up.

SLF dashboard:

Q. Can other states access the data layers of SLF pathways from IECOLAB for their state? Didn’t know if the data had been uploaded for all the states?

A. Sarah, you can reach out to me directly, but we are currently working on generalizing our workflow for other states to use (it takes a bit of time to get one of the locations apps up online).

Q. How do other states get or use the data in their states?

A. For our models and use of the dashboard you can reach out to me directly and I can work with you to set up an account.

Q. Were eggs or adults found on those pathways?

A. They have all been adults, which is good news! Moving egg masses is likely a bigger threat, but so far, we haven’t seen them being transported by airplanes or coastwise vessels. At this point, it seems like a few adults hopping on and dying in transport.

Q. Is the 2050 map available to look at later?

A. I can upload them all to our server for access. I was waiting for the reviews to come back before I did so but am happy to do so early and we can upload the GIF and other images as well.

Q. Dr. Gaydos has similar analysis been done on the Japan beetle (Popillia japonica)? just curious about this because of maybe similar pathway in air cargo and passenger? or its presence at Air Force bases that APHIS do pest detection and inspections.

A. I’m not as familiar with Japanese beetle, but this is a very good point and I’ll look around to see if a similar analysis has been done. You’re right that the pathway is very similar and programs already exist to check cargo for Japanese beetles. APHIS is exploring how we can pair with these existing programs to get more eyes on the ground looking for SLF.

Q. Do predictions of occurrence near airports relate directly to airline transportation or travelers driving from infested areas and parking at airports?

A. Answered live.

Q. Japanese beetle has been around for a few decades now but more in rapid response but there may be some historical data collected or available.

A. Answered live.

Q. Just to confirm I heard correctly, those SLF adults that have hitched rides on vessels or planes have not arrived at their destination alive or they were near dead. Is that right? Therefore, outreach at airports would be a lower priority than travel stations on thruways or billboard marketing, etc.

A. Yes that is correct. Expect for an incident in California no live SLF have made it off an airplane. I would be more concerned about rental vehicles coming from infested airports and then parked in non-infested ones. I would be willing to bet the Ithaca population arrived on a student’s car that was parked at that apartment complex.

In California we found 2 live SLF in cargo planes that were alive. They were not moribund. We did not test them for flight ability, but they were able to move around and move their wings. We will continue to inspect cargo planes along with our Japanese Beetle inspections.

Q. Has the USDA ever thought about dogs for a early detection process?

A. Yes, Pennsylvania currently has a detector trained and in the field working. Her name is Lucky. She has been trained on egg mass. As does NY/NJ:

Q. What was the political genesis of the NY Invasive Species Council and the PRISMs? How do we all get that kind of attention?

A. Answered live.

Q. What type of challenges have you encountered in treating egg masses? insecticide or scrape?

A. Answered live.

Q. What percent of citizen reports turn out to be valid—how do you sift through the various reports?

A. For NC we set up a reporting email to send pictures of suspected SLF ( and that rules out most reports. We haven’t had an abundance of SLF reports. We have, however had 3 individual incidents reported of dead adults that facilitated investigations and one false alarm caused by a homeowner submitting a picture they found online of what they thought they had seen on their wild grape.

Q. Do you have recommendations for engaging educators and students in SLF outreach?

A. In PA we promoted a calendar contest for a couple of years which promoted students to provide a drawing of a fact about SLF. We divided it into multiple age groups. It was well received by teachers and students.

Q. How many staff members do PA and VA allocate to quarantine regulation/inspections?

A. In VA, we have 5 wage staff for SLF and 1 full time SLF coordinator. Then we have our Plant Protection Inspector and Regional Supervisor (nursery inspectors) who all perform these types of inspections.

Q. Where are the roadside inspections done?

A. Rest stops and truck inspection areas.

Q. How is the SLF Dog Detection Survey working and will that be more Utilized for other States besides PA?

A. Answered live.

Q. Is there any evidence that ties control of Ailanthus to slowing the spread of SLF?

A. Answered live.

Q. Not a question, but I have an idea for one additional article you may want to consider watching. In South Dakota, we have at least two businesses that recycle and refurbish electrical transformers. They collect transformers from power companies all over the US. These transformers probably sit in the back of the company’s storage area until picked up. We have captured gypsy moths at one recycler in the past. They have agreed to hot wash shipments brought in.

A. Answered live

Q. Is biological control, such as using parasitoids, being researched, like that being used for EAB?

A. Dryinid nymphal parasites and Anastatus wasp egg parasitoids are being researched.

Q. Can anyone comment on their experiences with working with the railroads on surveying at rail yards and along rail corridors?

A. Answered live.

Q. How long does it take for SLF to die without a food source?

A. Answered live.