The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is warning consumers to check houseplants purchased this winter for a new pest called Spotted Lanternfly. Evidently, a single dead pest was found in a home near Boston and reported to officials. Experts believe the pest may have arrived on a shipment of poinsettia plants that arrived from Pennsylvania. Spotted lanternfly has been a scourge in that state since 2014, where it has caused damage to crops such as apples, grapes, hops, stone fruits and walnut trees.
Other hosts reported for this insect include: American beech (Fagus grandifolia), American linden (Tilia americana), American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), big-toothed aspen (Populus grandidentata), black birch (Betula lenta), black cherry (Prunus serotina), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), black walnut (Juglans nigra), dogwood (Cornus spp.), Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonicus), maple (Acer spp.), oak (Quercus spp.), paper birch (Betula papyrifera), pignut hickory (Carya glabra), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis), slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), white ash (Fraxinus americana), and willow (Salix spp.).
Native to Asia, the spotted lanternfly is a large, gray insect roughly 1 inch long. It sports black dots on the upper wings and red lower wings. Insects are roughly 1.5 inches wide and have a bulbous lower body similar to a bee’s in color. The University of Pennsylvania has published an excellent homeowner fact sheet available here:
If you find Spotted Lanternfly, contact Massachusetts state officials using this link: https://massnrc.org/pests/report.aspx