Montgomery County is now part of a spotted lanternfly quarantine zone. What does that mean and what must we do? Learn more on this page.
Native to China, lanternflies first appeared on the eastern U.S. coast in 2014 in Pennsylvania, and were first reported in Maryland in 2018. Lanternflies damage host plants in two ways:
- Adults deposit eggs on a host plant and when the nymphs emerge, they insert their sucking beaks into leaves and stems and feed on the tissue, robbing the plant of valuable nutrients.
- During feeding they produce large quantities of waste, called “honeydew” because of its rich sugar content. The honeydew serves as a base for growth of a sooty mold that impairs photosynthesis and disfigures fruit and leaves.
Spotted lanternfly nymphs undergo four stages of maturing toward adulthood, according to the state agriculture department. During the first three, the creature is black with white spots. But during the fourth and final stage before adulthood, the half-inch-long lanternfly nymph becomes bright red, covered in black stripes and white spots. They appear in this stage from July to September. Adult spotted lanternflies, meanwhile, can be seen from July until December.
What to Do
- Report lanternfly sightings here, or contact the Maryland Department of Agriculture at (410) 841-5920 or email [email protected].
- Take these steps to reduce the spread of the invasive sap-feeding plant pests:
- Check your vehicle: Before leaving a parking lot or work site, inspect vehicles for spotted lanternfly egg or insects. Check doors, sides, bumpers, wheel wells, grills and roofs. If found, destroy any eggs or insects you find.
- Inspect items being moved: Check check backpacks, bicycles, trash cans, lumber, shipping containers, propane tanks, pallets and other items being stored outdoors before they are moved offsite. Inspect incoming goods for egg masses and insects.
- Park with windows closed: The spotted lanternfly and its nymphs can enter vehicles unsuspectedly. When parked, make sure to keep windows closed. If possible, try to park 15 feet away from trees if in a quarantine zone.
- Remove and destroy pests: Crush nymphs and adult insects. Scrape egg masses into a plastic bag and place them in the trash. But don’t kill any look-alikes!
- Remove host trees: Spotted lanternflies prefer the ailanthus tree, also known as “Tree of Heaven.” Try to remove trees from the business property to avoid attracting spotted lanternfly.