NEW YORK (WWTI) — New York officials have issued an alert for a destructive bug.

The New York State Department of Agriculture is asking for the public’s assistance in combatting the Spotted Lanternfly, which is an invasive bug from Asia. The Spotted Lanternfly is considered destructive as it feeds on over 70 plant species, including tree-of-heaven and plants critical to New York’s agricultural economy such as grapevine, apple trees and hops.

According to the Department, the Spotted Lanternfly was first found in New York State on Staten Island in August 2020. The pest has now been identified in all through New York City boroughs, and AGM confirmed that it has received increased reports of the pest throughout the summer. The pest has also been detected in areas in upstate, including Ithaca, New York.

Spotted Lanternfly spread primarily through human activity. The pest lay their eggs on any number of surfaces, which can include vehicles, stone, rusty metal, outdoor furniture and firewood.

To combat the spread, AGM asks residents outside of New York City to report any new sightings. Due to the increased reports in NYC, city residents are asked to forgo reporting sightings at this time and destroy Spotted Lanternfly adults. Additionally later this fall, the public is asked to scrape off and destroy SLF egg masses.

“The Department has been working diligently to mitigate the impacts of this destructive pest, which can weaken plants and have a devastating impact on agriculture,” State Agricultural Commissioner Richard A. Ball said in a press release. “Despite intensive survey and the implementation of targeted management plans, AGM has continued to find SLF around the New York City area.  We are once again asking for residents’ help, this time with spotted lanternfly treatment options, particularly in this area.  Outside of NYC, we’re asking for the public to continue to be vigilant and report any sightings to help slow the spread of this invasive.”

Adult Spotted Lanternfly are active from July to December. They are described to be one inch long and a half an inch wide at rest with eye-catching wings. Adults will begin laying their eggs in September.

Signs of a SLF infestation may include:

  • Sap oozing or weeping from open wounds on tree trunks, which appear wet and give off fermented odors.
  • One-inch-long egg masses that are brownish-gray, waxy and mud-like when new. Old egg masses are brown and scaly.
  • Massive honeydew build-up under plants, sometimes with black sooty mold developing.

The public is also asked to thoroughly inspect vehicles, luggage, gear and all outdoor items for egg masses and adult Spotted Lanternflies before leaving the New York City region.

Residents can also contact Cornell University’s Integrated Pest Management Program, or a certified pesticide applicator for treatment options. More information on the Spotted Lanternfly can be found on the New York State Department of Agriculture website.