The spotted lanternfly is a small insect, and actually, sort of pretty, but the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking the public to stomp, crush, or whatever it takes to kill this invasive pest. 

So, what could be so bad about a little bug that looks rather “sporty” in its nymph stage, with red coloring, white spots, and a black and purplish racing strip down its back? The problem is that when it matures, it becomes a fly known as a “planthopper”.  

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A Sporty Looking Lanternfly Nymph

A spotted lanternfly nymph
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

What Do Mature Spotted Lanternflies Look Like?

When wings are closed, they appear pinkish/greyish. With wings open, they become a mixture of brown and black with a splash of red. Its body is yellow with a wide racing strip down its back.

A Mature Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted Lanternfly
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Spotted Lanternfly
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

What Do Spotted Lanternflies Feed On? 

The MDNR says this pesky invader can damage or kill more than 70 types of crops and plants, including apples, hops, and hardwood trees. From late summer to the first frost, spotted lanternflies are in their adult stage and easiest to identify. 

The spotted lanternfly sucks the sap out of a range of plants and crops and was confirmed to be in the state on August 11, 2022, in Pontiac in Oakland County. When faced with the discovery, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell stated at the time, 

Although not unexpected, this is certainly tough news to share due to its potential for it to negatively impact Michigan’s grape industry. 

Help Monitor The Spread

Besides stomping the fly into oblivion, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development would like photos and the location of any lanternfly egg masses which you may come across while hiking in the woods this fall. All information can be relayed to the Michigan Invasive Species webpage, or by calling 1-800-292-3939. 

Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses

Lanternfly egg masses
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

View A Video To Learn More About This Pest 

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