How to Comply with the Spotted Lanternfly Regulations

Posted: June 2, 2017

Lycorma delicatula, commonly known as the spotted lanternfly (SLF), is a new invasive insect in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Spotted lanternfly 4th instar nymphs. Photo: E. Swackhamer, Penn State

Spotted lanternfly 4th instar nymphs. Photo: E. Swackhamer, Penn State

This insect has potential to be a pest of grapes, stone fruit, ornamentals and timber trees. To try to limit the spread of SLF, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has established a quarantine order in municipalities where SLF is known to exist. All residents and businesses must comply with the regulations. The PDA has authority to levy fines against anyone who willfully violates the quarantine order. Here are some tips to help you avoid spreading SLF and be in compliance.

1. Know which municipalities are included in the quarantine order. This will continue to change as new discoveries are made. As you move into and out of the quarantine, you must make sure that you are not transporting any living life stages of the SLF to new areas which are not yet included in the quarantine. If you believe you have discovered SLF in a municipality outside of the current quarantined area, report it to the PDA.

The most recent quarantine map can always be found in the publications section of the PDA web site.

2. Know what SLF looks like in every stage of development throughout the year.

slf nymphs

Young nymphs (1st, 2nd and 3rd instars, left) are black with white spots can be present from May until October. Older nymphs (4th instar, right) are black and red with white spots and can be present from June until October. Photos: E. Swackhamer, Penn State

slf adults

Adult SLF (shown at rest on left) can be present from July until late December. Photo: E. Swackhamer, Penn State (Right) Adult SLF showing the red underwings when disturbed. Photo: N. Bosold, Penn State (retired)

slf egg masses

Viable SLF egg masses (left) can be on trees, rocks, or any other solid object and can be present from September through May. The empty remains of eggs that have hatched out (right) can be found at any time of the year. Photos: E. Swackhamer, Penn State

Additional pictures

3. Avoid parking or storing things under trees in infested areas. The female SLF often lays eggs on solid objects that are under the trees she is feeding on. Change your habits to park in open fields, away from tree lines, or in a closed garage if possible. Don’t store firewood, tools, hardscaping supplies, equipment, or any other solid object under infested trees.

4. Inspect all items that you need to move from within the quarantined area to areas outside the quarantined area. Remove and destroy any SLF that you find before you move the items. Check all vehicles and equipment including around windshield wipers, grilles, wheel wells, truck beds, and trailers. Inspect plant material, woody debris, hardscaping supplies, tools, and all solid objects. Remove SLF manually or use a pressure washer. Destroy mobile stages of SLF mechanically by swatting them. Destroy eggs by smashing them or scraping them into a container of alcohol.

5. Businesses should consider entering into a compliance agreement with the PDA. A compliance agreement states that you know how to follow the rules of the quarantine order and agree to do all you can to ensure that the items you transport are not carrying SLF. The PDA is maintaining a list of companies who have set up compliance agreements, (listed under Publications) and people are checking this list to find companies who are in compliance. You will also receive documentation to share with your customers to show that you have a compliance agreement with the PDA. Contact your regional PDA office for more information.

6. If you sell plants, you should have them inspected by the PDA and receive a phytosanitary certificate. Horticultural businesses that produce and/or sell plants should have either a Nursery/Greenhouse License or a Nursery Dealer’s License. When you have one of these licenses, the PDA plant inspectors will check your plants and if they are found to be free of pests, you will receive a phytosanitary certificate as proof of this inspection.

7. If you sell and/or produce mulch: make sure mulch produced from woody plant debris does not harbor SLF. Mulch must be produced using specific practices.

8. If you need to move items from within the quarantine zone that are not related to a business you must also inspect them, remove and destroy any living life stages of the SLF. There is a checklist for residents to use which is a legal document to show that you are in compliance. Print the checklist, fill it out, sign it and take it with you when you move the item(s).

It is important to note that the SLF regulations do not apply to grass clippings or autumn leaf collection. We believe that the SLF does not lay eggs on these light objects, and they may be moved from the quarantine area if necessary, as long as the truck and/or trailer you are hauling them with has been checked.

The regulations of the spotted lanternfly quarantine order are in place to prevent the insect from being spread by people moving it around. This pest is not just a concern to agricultural and horticultural professionals, it is a community concern. We need everyone to be aware of best practices to avoid spreading it and use these practices in their daily activities.

The official Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture quarantine order

Contact Information

Emelie Swackhamer
    • Extension Educator, Green Industry
Phone: 610-489-4315