The Spotted Lanternfly Arrives in Massachusetts
The MA Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced on September 28, 2021 that a small, established, and breeding population of the invasive spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) was detected in Worcester County, MA in the city of Fitchburg. This finding was confirmed by state officials.
For further details regarding what is currently known about the population in Fitchburg, MA and MDAR’s response, visit MDAR's press release.
What Should You Do?
Residents and professionals living and working across the Commonwealth should learn the life stages of the spotted lanternfly and be able to identify their eggs, immatures, and adults. At this time, it is particularly valuable to learn how to ID spotted lanternfly adults and egg masses. If any life stages of this insect are found in Massachusetts, report them immediately here.
In particular, if you know of tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)* growing nearby, check that preferred host for adults and egg masses and report anything suspicious to the aforementioned website. That said, spotted lanternfly adults and egg masses (and immatures when active) may be found just about anywhere.
At this time, the only established (breeding) population of spotted lanternfly in Massachusetts is in a small area of Fitchburg, MA. Therefore, there is no reason to be preemptively treating for this insect in other areas of Massachusetts at this time. If you suspect you have found spotted lanternfly in additional locations, please report it immediately to MDAR at the link provided above. If you are living and working in the Fitchburg area, please be vigilant and continue to report anything suspicious.
What is at Risk?
The spotted lanternfly feeds on over 103 different species of plants, including agriculturally significant crops (apple, peach, grape, etc.) and trees and shrubs that are important in our managed landscapes and natural areas. Due to various factors, spotted lanternflies are also a significant public nuisance once they become established.
For More Information:
- From UMass Extension
- From the MA Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR)
* The tree of heaven is a rapidly growing deciduous tree native to China and Taiwan that has become a widespread invasive species across North America. Learn how to identify this invasive tree at https://extension.psu.edu/tree-of-heaven.