Why You Should Know About Spotted Lanternfly
Spotted lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma deliculata, is an invasive plant hopper native to Asia. As a sap sucking insect, SLF feeds by inserting their mouthparts into plant tissues. SLF are known to feed on over 70 different plant species including many crops and hardwood trees. Their feeding habits coupled with their excretions can weaken and damage plants and foster the growth of damaging mold. SLF appears to have its life history tied to Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven), an invasive tree common along roadways and disturbed areas. Throughout the year, SLF can change hosts depending on food availability.
SLF was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014. It has since spread to a number of neighboring states and was detected in New Jersey in 2018. While the total impact of SLF is still uncertain, the variety of species it feeds on, and its swarming behavior make it a very serious pest economically, environmentally, and for people’s quality of life.
The Morris County Park Commission Response Plan
The Morris County Park Commission has developed a targeted approach to detect and slow the spread of SLF. This approach can be broken down into two main components:
SLF Detection and Control:
The MCPC is implementing a SLF trapping program in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Protection and Quarantine Program. Traps are being utilized both to detect the presence of SLF and to control their numbers. Fifteen traps across 7 park properties are being monitored through this program as of 2020.
Ailanthus Identification and Control:
As a major host of SLF and an invasive species itself, whenever possible the MCPC will attempt to remove stands of ailanthus from the parks. Ailanthus trees will be treated based on size and location. Seedlings will be treated with a herbicide foliar spray while larger individuals will be treated with hack-and-squirt herbicide applications. All treatments will be tracked with the eventual goal of slowing the spread of SLF and removing one of its critical host species.
Ailanthus ID Resources:
What Park Patrons Can Do
Park users can help slow the spread of SLF by staying vigilant when in the parks.
- If you observe SLF in any Morris County Park Commission facility, please take a picture and email the picture along with a description of the location to the Natural Resources department at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please report the locations of any large stands of ailanthus trees in the parks to the Natural Resources department at: SLF@morrisparks.net
- If you are confident in your identification, please catch and kill any SLFs you encounter.
What Homeowners Can Do
- Report all sightings to email@example.com or 1-833-223-2840
- Remove ailanthus trees from your property
- Collect and kill any SLFs when found
- Install traps on your property
Spotted Lanternfly Biology Resources
Rutgers Apicultural Experiment Station:
Penn State Extension: