Spotted Lantern FLY | Report IF You SEE THEM!

While spotted lanternflies will feast on a variety of plant species, they have a special fondness for Ailanthus, or tree-of-heaven.IMAGE: E. SWACKHAMERAmy DukeSeptember 10, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — With Labor Day come and gone, many people are starting to dread the thought of cold temperatures and snowy days to come.

Yet, for some folks living in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania, Old Man Winter cannot come soon enough so they can have a reprieve, albeit a brief one, from the spotted lanternfly, the invasive pest that has marred their spring and summer outings.

“The spotted lanternfly has become a regular fixture in their yards, on the front page of their newspapers, in their social media feeds and, sometimes, even in their dreams,” said Heather Leach, Penn State’s spotted lanternfly extension associate, who has fielded calls from hundreds of frazzled homeowners in the current 13-county quarantine zone. “They just cannot get a break.”

The pest, which feeds on the sap of fruit trees, grapevines, hops, hardwoods and ornamentals, strikes a double whammy — not only does it harm host plants but it also can render outdoor areas unusable by leaving behind a sugary excrement called honeydew, which attracts other insects and promotes the growth of sooty mold. The only consolation is that the insects do not bite or sting, nor do they cause structural damage.

Despite not being a native species (they are native to central Asia), the climate in Pennsylvania is suitable for the spotted lanternfly, and it has established a life cycle that completes one generation each year. It all begins now, in late summer, when adults mate and lay eggs — gray-colored, flat clusters that resemble mud — on a variety of surfaces.

spotted lanternfly on tree

While those adults do not survive the winter, the same does not hold true for their egg masses, which are hardy enough to withstand brutal weather conditions. Those eggs hatch in late spring, revealing nymphs with black and white spots. As they enter their “teens,” most of the insect’s black markings will turn red.

By mid-summer, the insects will be adults, measuring about an inch in length and sporting artfully patterned wings of red, black, white and tan, accented by dots. Throughout the transformation, one thing remains constant — their voracious appetite, and that has homeowners scrambling to find ways to control the clusters that have taken up residence on their properties.

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Philadelphia Quarantine Station

The Quarantine Station phone numbers below are for public health partners only.

If you have general questions about COVID-19, please visit CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 website. If you are unable to find what you are looking for, please direct your inquiry to CDC-INFO by calling 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) or submitting your inquiry online. All media inquiries should be directed to 404-639-3286 or



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) operates a quarantine station in Philadelphia. The station’s jurisdiction includes all ports in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Quarantine Station Activities

  • Respond to reports of illness or death on airplanes and maritime vessels (cruise and cargo), at international ports of entry in jurisdiction.
  • Partner with local and state health departments and federal agencies in preparedness activities on quarantine and isolation at ports of entry, such as the North American Pandemic Influenza Plan.
  • Partner with local and state health departments on emergency response, migrant health, and other public health issues.
  • Conduct tabletop exercises with local partners to ensure port and community preparedness for infectious diseases that could result in a pandemic.
  • Review medical records of immigrants who will reside permanently in the United States. Notify state and local health departments and refer any migrants with specific medical conditions.
  • Assist federal agriculture officers in screening international cargo and hand-carried items for potential vectors of human infectious disease.
  • Train airport and maritime partners about illness reporting and response.

Annual Ports of Entry Statistics

Major Airport Arrivals

Number of international passengers
  • Philadelphia International Airport: 2 million
  • Pittsburgh International Airport: 77,000

Major River Port Arrivals

  • 27,000 international cruise and cargo ship passengers and crew

Contact Information

(215) 365-6401 24-hour access

On call: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
This phone number is for public health partner use only.

Office Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET

Philadelphia International Airport

Terminal A West, 3rd Floor
International Arrivals, c/o CBP
Philadelphia, PA 19153

Fax: (215) 365-5419