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What Does Spotted Lanternfly Look Like?

Spotted Lanternfly is a master of disguise.  During its lifecycle, SLF goes through several identities.  To recognize them, you just need to know the time of year and what to look for.

Nymph Stage: May to July

Spotted Lanternfly Nymphs
Spotted Lanternfly Nymphs: First Instar (left), Both Instars together on a branch (middle), Second Instar (right)

In spring, young nymphs emerge from their eggs.  At the beginning, they will be small black bugs with white spots.  As the nymphs  grow, you’ll see red markings on their bodies.  This stage is the best time to catch crawling nymphs with sticky bands. For more information, see our post on: “How to Get Rid of Spotted Lanternfly in the Nymph Stages.”

Adult Stage: July-November

Adult Spotted Lanternfly Swarm
Adult Spotted Lanternfly: At rest (left), Wings spread (middle), Many in a swarm on a tree.

As adults, Spotted Lanternfly take on an entirely new appearance.  They’ve shed their skin and formed wings.  These wings are their true tell-tale.

Wings Open: With wings spread, you’ll see bright red markings on a background of black, white and beige patterns.

Wings Closed: When adults are at rest or feeding on tree saps, their bright markings are hidden.  Instead, you’ll see duller shades of grey with black spots.

Chemical controls are most effective at this stage.  Learn more about Spotted Lanternfly Control

Egg Mass Stage: September-November

Spotted Lanternfly Adult egg masse
Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses: Adult Female with extended belly about to lay eggs (left), Egg mass with some rows of eggs exposed (middle), Egg mass high up on the underside of an Arborvitae branch.

Females lay rows of eggs on tree trunks or any flat surface.  She camouflages the eggs in secretion that looks like dirt or clay.  Check trees, understory plants and even under and sides of walls, cars, outdoor grills and lawn furniture.  When you find eggs, destroy them!  Check out our video on how to scrape egg masses.

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