What is it?
They may look pretty, but the spotted lanternfly can do a lot of damage. The invasive Spotted Lanternfly is native to China and was first detected in Pennsylvania in September 2014. Spotted lanternfly feed on a wide range of fruit, ornamental and woody trees, and love trees-of-heaven. If allowed to spread in the United States, this pest could seriously impact the country’s grape, orchard, and logging industries.
Are Spotted Lanternflies (SLFs) in Manassas?
Manassas and Prince William County are in a Quarantined area designated by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to slow their spread. That means we all have to be careful about checking vehicles, products, and other articles that we move in and out of our city. VDACS has also established a permit system for businesses to control the spread.
What Can I Do to Beat the Bug?
The spotted lanternfly (SLF) does not fly long distances, but it is a hitchhiker. From September to April SLF seek outdoor surfaces and lay mud-like egg masses on tree bark, outdoor gear (such as lawnmowers, bikes, and grills), methods of transport, and more. Spotted lanternfly egg masses are about an inch long and resemble a smear of mud:
- If you find any, scrape egg masses into a plastic zippered bag filled with hand sanitizer, then zip the bag shut and dispose of it properly.
- Inspect your trees and plants for signs of this pest, particularly at dusk and at night when the insects tend to gather in large groups on the trunks or stems of plants.
- Inspect trees (in particular, tree of heaven), bricks, stone, and other smooth surfaces for egg masses.
In May and June, early nymph stages of SLF are black with white spots.
In late June through early July the SLF nymph has red in addition to black with white spots.
They are easy to spot as adults:
You can see them from mid-July through a hard frost in late fall.