Spotted Lanternfly

Loudoun County officials are enlisting homeowners, gardeners, horticultural retailers, agricultural producers and others in a campaign to thwart the spread of the invasive spotted lanternfly.

Help Fight the Spotted Lanternfly: Check Your Holiday Decorating Material for Egg Masses

If you purchase live material for your holiday decorating that was not grown in Loudoun County such as trees, wreaths and garlands, officials ask that you examine the material to look for egg masses of the spotted lanternfly, which can affect agricultural and ornamental plants.

Adult spotted lanternflies die at the onset of winter; however, their egg masses can survive below-zero temperatures. Egg masses typically include 30 to 50 jellybean-shaped eggs in neat rows covered by a waxy substance that looks like mud. The egg masses can accumulate on tree trunks, branches, and other surfaces from the fall to early spring when they hatch.

If you find egg masses, follow the directions under How You Can Help on this webpage.

Graphic of message to inspect live holiday decorative material for the spotted lanternfly

Spotted Lanternfly Life Cycle

Egg Masses (December-May)

Egg Masses


  • Size: About 1.5" long
  • The egg masses are laid on tree trunks and other surfaces.
  • Egg masses typically include 30 to 50 jellybean-shaped eggs in neat rows covered by a waxy substance that looks like mud.
  • During winter, destroy the egg masses.

Young Nymph (May-August)

Young Nymphs


  • Size: 4mm up to 3/8" long
  • Early, immature stages of the spotted lanternfly are wingless and black with white spots.

Mature Nymph (July-August)

Mature Nymph


  • Size: 7/8" long or 12mm
  • Mature nymphs develop red patches.

Adult (July-December)

Adult

Adult Wings Spread

Adult Wings Spread


  • Size: about 1" long
  • At rest, the adult resembles a colorful moth and shows light-brown, grayish wings with black spots held "tent-like" over its body. 
  • When the wings are open, yellow and red patches are exposed. 
  • Adults are approximately 1" long and ½" wide.

About the Insect

  • Invasive species, native to China
  • Plant hopper and excellent jumper 
  • Poor flyer
  • Very effective hitchhiker on vehicles
  • Attacks grapes, pines, stone fruits, hardwoods and 70 other plants
  • Does not sting or bite humans or pets
  • Has been detected in nearby Winchester, VA
  • Feeds on the invasive Tree of Heaven
  • Secretes a smelly substance, honeydew, when feeding on a plant. Honeydew is then colonized by fungi, which gives it a black appearance, and coats the plant and ground below.  

How You Can Help

Early detection is vital to managing the spotted lanternfly. Learn how businesses can help stop the spotted lanternfly.

  1. Educate Yourself: Learn to identify the life stages and the invasive Tree of Heaven (PDF).
  2. Inspect Your Surroundings: Look for spotted lanternfly egg masses and insects by checking tree trunks, wheel wells, under and around vehicles, lawn furniture, fences, storage sheds, rocks, metal surfaces (especially if they are rusty) and other smooth surfaces.
  3. Take pictures and/or capture in a container the spotted lanternflies and their egg masses. During winter, destroy the egg masses.
  4. Report sightings as soon as possible through this online form.

Quarantine for Frederick County and the city of Winchester

On May 28, 2019 the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced the establishment of the Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine for Frederick County and the city of Winchester, effective immediately. The purpose of the quarantine is to slow the spread of the spotted lanternfly to uninfested areas of the Commonwealth. Businesses operating in quarantine zones must have permits to move equipment and goods. 

Training

Loudoun County is offering free virtual training and information sessions to help increase awareness of the threat of the spotted lanternfly. The educational sessions offered by the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Loudoun County are designed to equip homeowners associations, farmers and other individuals and organizations in the county with the information they need to help prevent the spread of the invasive insect.

To request a virtual training session or for more information about the spotted lanternfly, contact horticulturalist Beth Flores-Sastre of the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Loudoun County by phone at 703-737-8978 or by email.  

Resources

Watch an Educational Video

The video below is from Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension.