Monday, August 30, 2021

Be on the lookout for the Spotted Lanternfly in NYC

We've been aware of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly for a while, but had our first encounter with it this last weekend in Manhattan.
The Spotted Lanternfly came to the US in 2014 and has been spreading across the northeast. It was first seen in Staten Island in 2020 and now the New York State Department of Agriculture has issued an alert for it, and is requesting that any observation be documented, reported and the insect destroyed.
On Saturday, we came across 34 specimens on Front Street, between Pine and Wall Streets in lower Manhattan. All of them (20 alive, 14 dead) were on the pavement. This was an unexpected find as that block is mostly tall buildings and concrete. There's a small park area along Wall Street, but we didn't find any of the insects there, in the plants or on the trees.
The Spotted Lanternfly is beautiful, but unfortunately, extremely destructive. It feeds on sap which destroys plants and trees. The adults are easily identifiable, being about an inch long, 3/4 inch wide, with beige wings and black spots and legs. Their top wings open to reveal a bright red, white and black set of wings. They also have two red dots on their face, but these are not eyes - the eyes are black and sit above the red dots.
We also observed the Spotted Lanternfly on Governors Island the same day, so they are in the area.
What to do if you find one?
  • Take a photo (dead or alive)
  • Destroy the insect (we don't like to kill things, but this has to be done)
  • Report it - you can do this a number of ways:
  • Send an email to 
    • [at]  and/or
    • spottedlanternfly [at]
Visit the DEC's dedicated page for more information on the Spotted Lanternfly and what you can do to help stop the spread.

Something to note is the Spotted Lanternfly feeds on the Tree of Heaven, a tree we've seen cultivated in various places such as yards and cemeteries. It's an attractive ornamental tree with large leaves and bright yellowish-orange seed pods. If you know of one, it's worth keeping an eye out for the adult insects gathering to feed on sap, or the egg cases attached to the bark of the tree.


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