Distribution and Spread

For the most updated version of the Spotted Lanternfly Distribution Map, visit Cornell’s New York State Pest Management.

Spotted lanternfly is native to China, India, and Vietnam. Since the first detection in Berks Co., PA in 2014, populations have spread to several surrounding counties in Pennsylvania, as well as Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, New York, Connecticut, Ohio, and Indiana and Massachusetts.  Additionally, interceptions have occurred in New Hampshire, Maine, and Oregon where a single spotted lanternfly was sighted, but no infestation was found. In July of 2021, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station released this press release detailing newly discovered infestations in Fairfield and Westport, Connecticut. Then, on August 6th, 2021, RIDEM announced that a single SLF adult was reported in Warwick, RI, marking the first SLF detection in the state. In August of 2022, yet another SLF adult was reported in Smithfield, RI. Shortly after, the USDA announced that clusters of SLF were found along Route 7 in Smithfield, confirming Rhode Island’s first SLF population. In collaboration with the RIDEM, the URI biocontrol lab continues to monitor Smithfield and surrounding areas for signs of SLF. 

Nymphs and adults can disperse naturally by jumping with their strong hind legs, and adults can also fly short distances. However, the spread of spotted lanternflies is greatly facilitated by human activity. All three life stages may “hitch-hike” to new areas in vehicles or on infested equipment, materials, or commodities. To see the SLF spread forecast, visit the Temple University SLF Dashboard.

Consequently, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey have imposed internal state quarantines, while New York has imposed an external quarantine to restrict the movement of infested materials. For more information on how residents, businesses, and visitors in infested areas can comply with quarantine regulations, see the Penn State Extension publication and PA Department of Agriculture checklist.

SLF Host Range

Nymphs and adults have been reported to feed on 70+ host plant species. Spotted lanternflies are planthoppers in the family Fulgoridae, which have piercing-sucking mouthparts that are used to feed on the phloem of their hosts. Their broad host range includes grapevines, fruit trees, ornamentals, hardwoods and more. However, current research and field observations have demonstrated a preference for certain hosts, such as tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), grapevines, black walnut, hops, and maples. For a full list of known hosts, see the SLF North American Plant Usage list.

Host plant preferences may vary based on spotted lanternfly life stage, time of year, availability of hosts in the landscape, and health of trees. Understanding seasonal host phenology of the spotted lanternfly will aid in effective management of this pest.

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