The spotted lanternfly is a plant pest from Asia that has invaded North America. It damages at least 70 plant species including pipfruit, stonefruit, kiwifruit, and grapes.
Why the spotted lanternfly is a risk
In its native range of Asia, the spotted lanternfly damages a number of economically significant crops. These crops are also important to New Zealand.
The lanternfly invaded North America in 2014, where its numbers have grown rapidly. The adults and nymphs feed on sap, damaging the plant, and excrete honeydew. Honeydew promotes the growth of black mould that can limit plant growth.
Lanternfly eggs pose an extra biosecurity risk because their waxy coat makes them hard to see and treat with insecticide.
Global distribution of spotted lanternfly
How it could get here
The spotted lanternfly lays its eggs in clusters on smooth vertical surfaces and covers them with a protective layer of wax. These smooth surfaces can include vehicles and machinery, shipping containers, and garden furniture.
Spotted lanternfly eggs could "hitchhike" on these and other commodities imported into New Zealand. The egg masses are difficult to see and hard to treat with insecticide.
When is it a problem?
In the Northern Hemisphere, the spotted lanternfly lays its eggs between August and November. The eggs do not develop over winter. They hatch in May. Our challenge is to identify the containers and cargo that spotted lanternfly could have laid their eggs on.
How to identify the spotted lanternfly
Look for the eggs and adult flies in vineyards, orchards, or your garden.
Right: Adult male spotted lanternfly in flight. Image: Public domain US Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
Found a spotted lanternfly or its eggs?
If you think you've found this pest or its eggs:
- photograph it
- collect a sample (if you can)
- call 0800 80 99 66
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For urgent problems, call 0800 00 83 33 (NZ only)