Scientific name: Lycorma deliculata
French name: Le fulgore tacheté
Common name(s): Spotted lanternfly
Regulatory Status: Spotted lanternflies were added to the List of Pests Regulated by Canada (under the Plant Protection Act) in 2018, with policy directives for importing plants and importing or moving firewood.
The spotted lanternfly is an insect species that is native to China (Francese et al. 2020). Spotted lanternflies feed on “phloem”, a sugary tissue that plants and trees need to feed and grow. Spotted lanternflies are adaptable to a wide range of host plants including apple, grape, black walnut, butternut, maple, willow, oriental bittersweet, sawtooth oak, chinaberry, hops, and their favourite host, the tree of heaven (Urban 2019, Murman et al. 2020).
Introduction and spread:
Spotted lanternfly were likely introduced to North America via egg masses laid on stone imports from Asia (Urban 2019). The first North American detection was in Pennsylvania, USA, in 2014 (Barringer and Ciafré 2020).
Spotted lanternflies can naturally spread short distances by flight. They can also disperse longer distances by being accidentally transported by humans. Human-aided movement can occur with any life stage of spotted lanternfly but is particularly likely for egg masses (Urban 2019). This is because egg masses are difficult to spot and can be deposited on a range of substrates including stone, wood, live plants, and inorganic materials like plastic and rubber.
Potential industrial vectors (i.e., means of movement) for spotted lanternflies include shipping pallets, containers, cargo, trains, commercial trucks, and imports of stone and wood.
Potential domestic vectors for spotted lanternflies include firewood, vehicles (cars, trailers, ATVs), hiking or outdoor gear, and pets (Cook et al. 2021).
Since introduction to Pennsylvania in 2014, spotted lanternflies have spread to many other eastern states in the USA (Cornell CALS 2022). They have not yet been detected in Canada, however dead spotted lanternfly have been found on commercial trucks coming from the States. There is continued risk of their introduction to Canada from either the United States or Asia.
- Feeding spotted lanternflies create weeping wounds on trees and can cause dieback or death of host plants (Barringer and Ciafré 2020, Cook et al. 2021).
- Spotted lanternflies threaten high-valued grape, tree fruit, and forest industries (Francese et al. 2020). They may also threaten industries for maple syrup and Christmas trees (Harper et al. 2019, Urban 2019).
- Potential impacts include reduced growth, lower yields, and poorer quality of fruit (Barringer and Ciafré 2020, Cook et al. 2021).
- In Pennsylvania, spotted lanternflies have inflicted millions of dollars of damage on the agriculture and forestry industries, and it is estimated that they could cost the economy as much as $324 million per year if they are not contained (Harper et al. 2019)
- Their sugary excrement (“honeydew”) accumulates below host trees. Honeydew develops black mold that reduces photosynthesis and growth of understory plants and attracts wasps and bees (Urban 2019, Barringer and Ciafré 2020, Cook et al. 2021).
- Spotted lanternfly damage will exacerbate impacts of other ecosystem stressors like climate change and land use change (Barringer and Ciafré 2020).
Everyone can help prevent introduction of spotted lanternflies to Canada by doing the following:
- Check before you go.
- Check your vehicle. Spotted lanternflies can spread by hitchhiking or laying eggs on cars, trailers, campers, or ATVs. Inspect your vehicle for all life stages of spotted lanternflies. Remove any plants, insects, and even mud – egg masses can look like mud splatters! Pay particular attention to your vehicle’s underside and wheel wells. Use water or compressed air to remove mud or plants from your tires or fenders. Sweep out your trailer and camper.
- Check your outdoor items and gear. Spotted lanternflies are found in agricultural, residential, industrial, and forested areas. So, it’s important to inspect and clean ALL your outdoor items and recreational gear, including grills, lawn furniture, yard games, tents, hiking boots and backpacks.
- Don’t move firewood. Spotted lanternflies feed and lay eggs on many tree species. Buy firewood close to where you will burn it, so you avoid transporting unwanted hitchhikers. Leave unused firewood on site.
- Destroy it! Scrape off and destroy egg masses by crushing them in rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, or soapy water. Destroy nymphs and adults by crushing them. Keep any samples in a sealable container to provide to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for confirmation.
- Observe and Report. Visit inspection.canada.ca/pests to find out how to report your sighting to your local CFIA office. Visit www. reportcanadainvasives.ca to learn more about other ways that you can report your sighting.
If a spotted lanternfly invasion occurs, other management actions include insecticide application, trunk traps, removal of preferred host trees, and use of detection dogs to find egg masses (Francese et al. 2020, Nixon et al. 2020, Cook et al. 2021, Essler et al. 2021).
Barringer L. & Ciafré C.M. 2020. Worldwide feeding host plants of spotted lanternfly, with significant additions from North America. Environmental Entomology 49(5): 999-1011. https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvaa093
Cook, R. T., Ward, S. F., Liebhold, A. M., & Fei, S. (2021). Spatial dynamics of spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, invasion of the Northeastern United States. NeoBiota, 70, 23–42. https://doi.org/10.3897/neobiota.70.67950
Cornell CALS (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences). 2022. Introduction, native range, and current US range. Webpage available at: https://nysipm.cornell.edu/environment/invasive-species-exotic-pests/spotted-lanternfly/spotted-lanternfly-ipm/introduction-native-range-and-current-range-us/
Essler, J. L., Kane, S. A., Collins, A., Ryder, K., DeAngelo, A., Kaynaroglu, P., & Otto, C. M. (2021). Egg masses as training aids for spotted lanternfly Lycorma delicatula detection dogs. PLOS ONE, 16(5), e0250945. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0250945
Francese, J. A., Cooperband, M. F., Murman, K. M., Cannon, S. L., Booth, E. G., Devine, S. M., & Wallace, M. S. (2020). Developing traps for the spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae). Environmental Entomology, 49(2), 269–276. https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvz166
Harper, J.K., Stone, W., Kelsey, T.W., Kime, L.F. 2019. Potential economic impact of the spotted lanternfly on agriculture and forestry in Pennsylvania. Available at: https://www.rural.palegislature.us/publications/research-reports.cfm
Nixon, L. J., Leach, H., Barnes, C., Urban, J., Kirkpatrick, D. M., Ludwick, D. C., … Leskey, T. C. (2020). Development of behaviorally based monitoring and biosurveillance tools for the invasive spotted lanternfly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae). Environmental Entomology, 49(5), 1117–1126. https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvaa084
Murman, K., Setliff, G. P., Pugh, C. V., Toolan, M. J., Canlas, I., Cannon, S., … Cooperband, M. F. (2020). Distribution, survival, and development of spotted lanternfly on host plants found in North America. Environmental Entomology, 49(6), 1270–1281. https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvaa126
Urban, J.M. 2019. Perspective: Shedding light on spotted lanternfly impacts in the USA. Management Science 76(1). https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.5619
Scientific name: Lymantria dispar dispar
French name: La spongieuse nord-américaine
Common name(s)*: Spongy moth, LDD moth
*This insect was formerly known as the ‘European Gypsy Moth’, however this name is no longer used because it is derogatory. Spongy moth is the new common name for the species.
Regulatory Status: Spongy moths are on the List of Pests Regulated by Canada (under the Plant Protection Act), with ten policy directives associated with its listing.
Spongy moths are insects native to Europe. They feed on the leaves of a wide range of host trees, including oak, willow, birch, and maple (Jahant-Miller 2020, Keena and Richards 2020, Haq et al. 2021)
Introduction and spread:
Spongy moths were introduced to North America 1869 as part of a failed silk-worm breeding experiment (Gooderham et al. 2021).
Spongy moth larvae can naturally disperse short distances on windblown silk threads (Jahant-Miller 2020, Gooderham et al. 2021). Adult males can fly short distances, however adult females cannot. Spongy moths can spread further distances by being accidentally transported by humans. Any life stages may be spread by humans, however it is particularly easy to accidentally transport the eggs, which can be laid on many different surfaces (e.g., wood, plants, stone, inorganic materials).
Potential industrial vectors (i.e., means of movement) for spongy moths include shipping pallets, containers, cargo, trains, commercial trucks, and imports of stone and wood.
Potential domestic vectors for spongy moths include firewood, vehicles (cars, trailers, ATVs), hiking or outdoor gear, and pets.
Since their initial establishment in Boston, USA, they have spread into and established in other northeastern states and eastern Canada. There are established populations in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island (CFIA 2022). Spongy moths have also been detected in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, however these introductions have been eradicated.
- Feeding spongy moths defoliate (i.e., remove the leaves from) their host trees (Gooderham et al. 2021). Severe defoliation makes trees susceptible to attack from other insects and diseases (CFIA 2021). Repeated defoliation may kill a tree.
- In 2021, spongy moths defoliated 1.8 million hectares of trees in Ontario – that’s equivalent to more than 3 million football fields!
- Damage from spongy moths lowers the economic value of trees (Jahant-Miller 2020).
- Physical contact with spongy moths may cause minor health concerns, including dermatitis, eye irritation, and respiratory complaints (Gooderham et al. 2021, Haq et al. 2021)
- Spongy moth control is costly (Jahant-Miller 2020, CFIA 2021).
- Spongy moth control has negative impacts on other species, including native butterflies and moths (CFIA 2021).
Everyone can help prevent the spread of spongy moths by doing the following:
- Check before you go:
- Check your vehicle. Spongy moths can spread by hitchhiking or laying eggs on cars, trailers, campers, or ATVs. Carefully inspect your vehicle for spongy moth eggs, caterpillars, or moths. Sweep out your trailer and camper. Remove any plants, insects, or mud.
- Check your outdoor items and gear. Spongy moths are found in rural and urban areas. So, it’s important to inspect all your outdoor items, including grills, patio furniture, yard games, and camping gear.
- Don’t move firewood. Spongy moths feed or lay eggs on more than 300 plant and tree species. Buy firewood close to where you will use it, so you avoid transporting unwanted hitchhikers. Leave unused firewood on site.
- Destroy it! Scrape off and destroy egg masses or caterpillars by placing them in hot, soapy water and leaving them to soak for at least 2 days before disposing of them in the garbage.
- Observe and Report.
- Keep an eye out for spongy moths, especially in western Canada or Newfoundland. Visit reportcanadainvasives.ca to learn how to report invasive species in your province or territory.
CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency). 2022. Lymantria dispar dispar (LDD) moth. Web page available at: https://inspection.canada.ca/plant-health/invasive-species/insects/ldd-moth-and-agm/ldd-moth/eng/1329836269430/1329836504450
CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency). 2021. Lymantria dispar dispar (LDD moth) – Fact sheet. 2021. Web page available at: https://inspection.canada.ca/plant-health/invasive-species/insects/ldd-moth-and-agm/fact-sheet/eng/1330355335187/1335975909100
Gooderham, M., Haq, M., Beecker, J., & O’Toole, A. (2021). Lymantria dispar dispar (Gypsy) Moth Dermatitis. Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, 25(5), 555–556. https://doi.org/10.1177/12034754211032206
Haq, M., O’Toole, A., Beecker, J., & Gooderham, M. J. (2021). Return of Lymantria dispar dispar (gypsy moth): A case report. SAGE Open Medical Case Reports, 9, 2050313X2110579. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050313×211057926
Jahant-Miller, C.J. 2020. Environmental drivers of morphological and physiological adaptation in an invasive defoliator, Lymantria dispar. Doctoral thesis, State University of New York.
Keena, M. A., & Richards, J. Y. (2020). Comparison of survival and development of gypsy moth Lymantria dispar L. (Lepidoptera: Erebidae) populations from different geographic areas on North American conifers. Insects, 11(4), 260. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11040260
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