Penn State study says spotted lanternflies don’t damage trees, forests

By Ryan Deto
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
September 14, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

Spotted lanternflies have overtaken much of Pennsylvania and are expanding their reach, but a new study reports that the invasive insects are doing less damage to trees than previously believed. Research from Penn State recently published in the journal Environmental Entomology shows spotted lanternflies have no long-term effects on forests or ornamental trees. Short-term research initially said that lanternflies, which feed on several tree species, can reduce the growth of maple saplings, but the new study shows that trees recover and grow in subsequent years. Spotted lanternflies are native to China and were first discovered in the United States in Pennsylvania’s Berks County in 2014. They have since expanded across Pennsylvania and beyond, and Southwestern Pennsylvania has seen swarms of the insects since 2019.

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