Spotted Lanternfly 

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Be on the lookout! An established population of spotted lanternflies was detected in Carrol Co. Virginia, just north of Surry County, NC Spotted lanternflies (SLF) are a new invasive species, first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014. Since then, they have spread to 11 states and have been detected in numerous others, including here in Currituck County. These invasive insects pose a serious threat to vineyards and orchards and produce honeydew, which leads to black sooty mold that coats anything under the bugs (image below). So what do they look like?

Adult and immature SLF are bright and conspicuous. Immatures (nymphs) are black with white spots (image below) until they’re about to become adults, then they change color to bright red with black legs and white spots. As adults, the bugs are about an inch long, with red markings that are hard to miss under their wings. So if they’re so easy to spot, how are they spreading? Their eggs! SLF eggs are tan and are laid primarily on trees. They camouflage well on wood products and are transported on firewood, lumber, and pallets. They can even be laid on cars and other vehicles and cross county and state lines.

life stages of spotted lanternfly

SLF are commonly found feeding on Tree of Heaven, another invasive species. If you think you’ve found a SLF, contact the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Currituck County Center at 252-232-2261, or stop by 120 Community Way in Barco N.C. and we’ll take a look. Prevention is key to stopping the spread of this insect. If detected early, quarantine and eradication measures can help prevent establishment. For additional information contact Adam Formella at (252) 232-2261 or by email at