The Life Cycle of Spotted Lanternfly

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The Life Cycle of Spotted Lanternfly

The Life Cycle of Spotted Lanternfly

With the Spotted Lanternfly being found in Lancaster, one of the most important things for controlling them will be identifying them. This is especially important since the nymph stages (Instar stages) look so different than the adult stage. In fact, even the different nymph stages can look radically different from each other.

Consider for a moment the Spotted Lanternfly. Do you know what they look like? Chances are that you have seen pictures, but the chances are that you have only seen pictures of the adults. Some may think that this is the most crucial stage to control them and it certainly is the easiest stage to identify them in. But it is just as important or perhaps even more crucial to control them in the other stages of their life cycle. Particularly, it is most important to control them in the egg stage. Regardless, it is important that you know the life cycle of Spotted Lanternfly to control them.

Here is the life cycle of  Spotted Lanternfly:

    1. The Egg Stage (October-June)

      This stage is perhaps one of the most important to control the Spotted Lanternflies. The reasons for this is that it is much easier to kill and control the eggs than to kill the 50 odd insects that hatch from it. And this is in addition to the fact that each female is believed to lay at least 2 of these egg cases. Eggs should be scrapped with an old credit card and placed in alcohol to kill.

    2. The Nymph (Instar) Stages (May-September)

      The second main stage for the Spotted Lanternfly is the nymph or instar stage. This is the stage that goes from the when the eggs hatch until they become an adult. Within this stage, there are 4 sub-stages. During this stage, the instars are known to move up and down the tree. For this reason, during this stage, it is best to control the Spotted Lanternfly by use of banding.

      1. The First Instar Stage (May-June)

        This is the stage that comes right after they hatch. They will feed on the various plants that they tend to prefer, like the tree of heaven, willow, and maple depending on what is available. During this stage, they are black with white spots.

      2. The Second Instar Stage (June-July)

        Same as first, only larger. During this stage, they are black with white spots.

      3. The Third Instar Stage (June-July)

        Same as first and second instar stages, only larger. During this stage, they are black with white spots.

      4. The Fourth Instar Stage (July-September)

        Unlike the other 3 instar stages, during this stage, the instar does not only increase in size but also changes in color. The instars develop red patches over the black with white spots. From this, they soon grow into adults.

    3. The Adult Stages (July-December)

      The final and the most readily recognizable and also the most destructive stage is the adult stage. During this stage, they are best controlled by whatever means possible. Whether it is mechanical means (swatting them) or through the use of sprays.

      1. Adult (July-December)

        This is the stage in the life cycle of the Spotted Lanternfly where the Spotted Lanternfly does the most damage. As we said, during this stage you will want to control them by any means possible. Another thing is that you will want to control them earlier rather than later. The reason for this is the next sub-stage.

      2. Egg Laying Adult (September-December)

        Under this stage, we have something that we do not have in the others. And this is that it is a substage of the one prior–the adult stage. What is this stage? it is the egg-laying stage. This is the most crucial stage to control before. Killing a female before this stage prevents them from laying eggs. This can save 30-50 Spotted Lanternflies from being born per egg mass and it is thought that each female will lay at least 2 of these egg masses per year.

Have you seen Spotted Lanternfly? What life stages have you seen? Comment below.

Sources and further reading:

https://forestinvasives.ca/Meet-the-Species/Insects/Spotted-Lanternfly

https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly

https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/slffs.pdf

https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/spotted-lanternfly 

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/2014/alert_spotted_lanternfly.pdf

https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/ENTO/ento-268/ENTO-268.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK0VMVOMzDM

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