In the midwest, invasive species are rarely a concern like they might be states farther south. But as of September of 2023, we have a new neighbor who is both colorful and destructive: the spotted lanternfly. These accidental imports from China and Vietnam will soon be everyday sights, everywhere from Plainfield to the Quad Cities, from Naperville to O’Fallon.
You’ll see them clustered in groups on oaks and apple trees, grapes and maples; pretty much anything thick and woody. They drink sap directly from the vein, leaving behind wounds in bark and a sticky sweet substance called honeydew. This honeydew attracts ants and sooty mold, neither of which will make your garden more beautiful.
Birds are tricked by their brightly colored wings into thinking they’re poisonous, so they reproduce without natural predators to keep them under control.
They live only about a year, from egg to adult, and each female will lay between 30 and 120 eggs in her lifetime.
These bugs are harmless to humans and animals. They don’t bite or sting, they won’t cause irritation, and they aren’t poisonous. The USDA and the Illinois Department of Agriculture both advise to kill lanternflies on sight.
Like many insects, the lanternfly goes through distinct life stages, each with its own look. The Illinois Department of Agriculture has created an awesome guide to recognizing our new invasive neighbor regardless of its current stage. You can find it HERE .
If you see a lanternfly on your property contact the University of Illinois at [email protected]. If you can manage to get photos to send, that would help them a lot.
At Tee Time Lawn Care, we have the skilled technicians and knowledge you need to treat spotted lanternflies, mites, scale and any other bugs that might be bugging you.