Adult lanternfly-Getty Images

The adult spotted lanternfly is quite beautiful. Photo: Getty Images.

Spotted lanternfly wings closed

An adult spotted lanternfly with its wings closed.

Lanternfly nymphs-Penn Dept Agri

Spotted lanternfly nymphs in an instar (phase between molting) that’s very close to when the insect becomes an adult. Photo: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. 

Lanternfly egg mass-New Jersey Dept Agri

Spotted lanternfly egg mass on tree trunk. Photo: New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

By Joseph Mooney
A recent headline sure got our attention: “Kansas student’s state fair entry triggers federal investigation.”
The entry in question was a spotted lanternfly. The investigation happened because the spotted lanternfly is a destructive invasive insect that’s been found in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and other East Coast states as well as Indiana and Ohio. The Kansas student found the insect 1,100 miles from where it was originally sited in Berk’s County, Pennsylvania in 2014.
Invasive insects continue to pose a significant environmental threat in the United States. Some of them are here already, like the emerald ash borer. And some, like the lanternfly, are on the horizon but have not yet been spotted in Michigan—at least no living examples. To find some of those incipient threats, Matthaei-Nichols is currently participating as an early-detection site for traps specially baited to capture Asian longhorn beetle and other invasive insects not yet found in Michigan.
The little spotted lanternfly pictured here might look cute, but the insect is a serious threat to our grape, orchard, and logging industries. Spotted lanternfly is a sap-eating insect that feeds on a wide range of fruit, ornamental, and woody trees. Check out these photos of lanternfly adults, egg masses, and immature nymphs so you know what to look for. The general consensus is to kill any adult lanternfly you see and report it the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN).
As of October 2020, spotted lanternfly adults have been found in Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Connecticut, Ohio and New York. Michigan has so far not seen any established population of lanternfly. Find out more information and where to report if you see spotted lantern fly in Michigan:,5664,7-324-68002_71241-476236–,00.html
You can download the reporting app for your phone (search for MISIN) or use the MISIN form on the Michigan government site to report.
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