Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Friday, October 19, 2018

DEC and DAM Announce Live Adult Spotted Lanternfly Confirmed in Suffolk County

State Agencies Encourage the Public to Inspect Outdoor Materials for Insects and Egg Masses and Report Findings

The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets (DAM) today confirmed that a single live and several dead adult spotted lanternfly (SLF) were found at a tree nursery in Deer Park, Suffolk County, in a shipment originating from within the Pennsylvania SLF quarantine. DEC and DAM immediately began extensive surveys throughout the area and found no established populations or additional insects. Pennsylvania has been notified of the incident.

"DEC is working proactively with our partners at the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to do everything we can to keep spotted lanternfly out of New York State and to prevent infestations," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "In addition to our ongoing education, outreach, and survey efforts across the state, we are closely tracking spotted lanternfly, a destructive invasive pest that has the potential to severely impact our state's agricultural and tourism industries. The public has been invaluable as a partner in finding out where this bug is and we encourage New Yorkers to continue to report any suspected findings and to follow all protocols coming into the state from other areas affected by spotted lanternfly."

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Given the widespread devastation this invasive pest can have on our agricultural crops, we appreciate all efforts to identify and report the spotted lanternfly in New York State. So far, most of the findings have been because of the public's engagement and watchful eye and we encourage continued vigilance. It is critical that we prevent this pest from establishing itself in our state."

SLF, an invasive insect from Asia, is a destructive pest that feeds on the sap of more than 70 plant species including tree-of-heaven, maples, apple trees, grapevine, and hops. In infested areas, feeding by sometimes thousands of SLF can stress plants, making them vulnerable to disease and attacks from other insects. SLF excrete large amounts of sticky "honeydew," which attracts sooty molds that interfere with plant photosynthesis, negatively affecting the growth and fruit yield of plants. The accumulation of honeydew under infestations, along with the swarms of insects it attracts, can also significantly hinder outdoor activities.

SLF infestations were first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014, and have since been found in New Jersey, Delaware, and Virginia. Given the proximity of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey infestations, there is a high risk of SLF becoming established in New York. In September, both Albany and Yates counties confirmed reports of a single live adult SLF. Dead insects have also been found in Delaware, Broome, and Monroe counties. DEC and DAM have conducted extensive follow-up surveys in these areas and found no additional insects.

While these insects can jump and fly short distances, these pests spread primarily through human activity. SLF lay their eggs, starting in the fall, on surfaces including vehicles, stone, rusty metal, outdoor furniture, and campers, and can hitch rides to new areas when these objects are moved. Egg masses are one-inch-long and are often smooth and brownish-gray with a shiny, waxy coating when first laid. Over time, egg masses become brown and scaly.

To slow the spread of SLF, DAM issued a quarantine that restricts the movement of goods brought into New York from quarantined areas in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The quarantine requires regulated articles, such as packing materials, landscaping and construction equipment, and nursery stock to have certificates of inspection issued from the impacted states. Inspections are being conducted across New York by DAM and its partners to check for SLF and compliance with the regulations. Visit DAM's website for more information and for a list of regulated articles.

Assistance from the public is crucial in limiting the movement of SLF and protecting New York's resources. DEC and DAM are urging the public to inspect outdoor items such as vehicles, outdoor furniture and camping equipment for egg masses or insects, and report any sightings by sending photos to spottedlanternfly@dec.ny.gov. Anyone that visits locations within the Pennsylvania, Delaware or New Jersey quarantines should look for and remove insects and egg masses from their vehicles, equipment and luggage before leaving those areas.

For more information on spotted lanternfly, visit DEC's website.

  • Contact for this Page
  • Press Office - Lori Severino
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1016
    518-402-8000
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions