Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

Illinois residents, brace yourselves for the arrival of an unwelcome visitor: the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula), a menacing non-native insect originating from Asia. With recent sightings in Cook County this September, the invasion is now a reality, bringing potential threats to the local ecosystem.

Joining us to shed light on this matter is Ryan Pankau, a distinguished Horticulture Educator from the University of Illinois Extension.

The Spotted Lanternfly is not to be taken lightly. While it won’t necessarily kill plants, it poses a significant threat to the well-being of over 100 species of landscape plants. Its preferred hosts include the infamous Tree of Heaven, wild grapevines, willow, birch, red maple, and silver maple.

Farmers, vineyard owners, and gardeners, in particular, should be vigilant, as the Spotted Lanternfly can wreak havoc on fruit crops, with grapes being especially vulnerable. Vigilance is crucial, as early detection can play a pivotal role in preventing the spread of this destructive insect.

“We urge all Illinois residents to remain vigilant and report any sightings of the Spotted Lanternfly to their local extension office or via email at,” emphasizes Pankau.

As we brace ourselves for the impact of this invasion, it’s essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of an infestation, especially on Tree of Heaven. Join hands with the community to protect our local greenery and ensure a resilient environment for future generations.

For more information and resources on how to identify and address the Spotted Lanternfly invasion, visit the University of Illinois Extension website or reach out to your local extension office.