Is the spotted lanternfly harmful to humans?

The Spotted Lanternfly does not pose a threat to people. Although they cannot sting or bite, they can be extremely harmful to many types of plants, trees, and crops. By excreting a gooey fluid that promotes the formation of black sooty mold, they can also ruin your yard. Although the mold is harmful to humans, it can damage attractive plants and trees. This form of mold can also be brought on by other insect species, thus it’s critical to accurately pinpoint its origins because different pests require different types of preventative measures.

A stone shipment in 2012 is thought to have carried a Chinese invasive insect called the spotted lanternfly from China to the United States. Two years after the first infestation was found in Pennsylvania, the lanternfly has since spread to 11 additional states, eating its way through forests, vineyards, and fruit orchards.

Because there are no local predators to control their population, lanternflies cause as much harm as the sponge moth, emerald ash borer, and other foreign species.


The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) is a sort of “true bug” that feeds by piercing plant tissue with a stylet (or beak). The adult SLF’s distinctive colors include spotted patterning, red underwings, yellow markings on the abdomen, and tan semi-transparent forewings. Adults are roughly an inch long and are active from late July to late November. The nymph stage manifests in June and July, with startlingly vivid red and black bodies that are speckled with white. Nymphs in their early stages lack the red pigment and are entirely black in color.

If you suspect you found a spotted lanternfly

To safeguard the plants and woods of Rhode Island, early detection is essential. Learn how to distinguish between the egg, nymph, and adult life stages of the spotted lanternfly to aid in its prevention. Take a picture and make an effort to gather a specimen if you believe you have discovered a spotted lanternfly. Then,  submit a pest alert form to RI DEM with this discovery.

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