Invasive spotted lanternfly found in Michigan

The fly can be deadly to hardwoods, including black walnut, birch and maple

Adult Spotted Lanternfly
Adult spotted lanternfly (Penn State Extension photo)

MADISON, Wis. -- Forestry, and transport workers in Michigan are being asked to be on alert for spotted lantern flies after several dead specimens of this invasive species were found in the lower peninsula. This insect species can populate forests and other agricultural areas at a rapid pace and is deadly to certain hardwoods, including black walnut, birch and maple.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development alerted businesses and others after the specimens were spotted in southern Michigan in late 2020.

Spotted lantern flies were first found in Pennsylvania and have expanded to nine other states, including Ohio. They are native to several Asian countries including China and Vietnam and were discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014.

“The spotted lanternfly uses its piercing-sucking mouthpart to feed on sap from over 70 different plant species. It has a strong preference for economically important plants including grapevines, maple trees, black walnut, birch, willow, and other trees. The feeding damage significantly stresses the plants which can lead to decreased health and potentially death, “ according to Penn State Extension.

“There is a high risk spotted lanternfly could accidentally be transported into (Michigan),” according to Michigan State University Extension. “While surveyors found no evidence it has become established ….. it does highlight the need to be alert. If and when spotted lanternfly does become established in Michigan, it will likely thrive, given the suitable climate and many... host plants available here. MSU faculty and Extension educators, along with regulatory officials, are preparing to manage this new pest if and when it arrives in Michigan.”

The Michigan agriculture department requested that anyone spotting lanternfly adults, nymphs or egg masses note the time and location, take photos and report them to

Lantern flies have bright red wings and black spots. They are about 1” long. The egg masses look like discarded chewing gum.

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