SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Department of Agriculture is warning that an invasive pest, the spotted lanternfly, has been detected in the state and says residents should notify authorities if they see one.

The agency said it was alerted to the presence of the bug on September 16th and collected specimens from the site.

The spotted lanternfly is native to eastern Asia and was first found in the U.S. in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2014. Since then, it has spread across the eastern and southeastern parts of the country, making its way into the Midwest.

The pest has been detected in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, and feeds on the invasive tree of heaven, maple trees, and grapes, as well as a variety of other plants.

Anyone who sees one is asked to send photos to lanternfly@illinois.edu.

  • Report sightings – If you see SLF or suspect it, report it to lanternfly@illinois.edu. A fact sheet, including photos, is available through the University of Illinois Extension.
  • Remove and destroy pests – crush nymphs and adults, scrape egg masses into a container with hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol to kill them. Remember to take photos first, and report this!
  • Check your vehicles, boat, camper, outdoor articles, etc. – Before leaving an area, do a quick inspection for any life stages. Destroy any eggs or insects found.
  • Keep your eyes open and spread the word (not the pest) – We need the public’s help to look for and report this pest, and to also strengthen the outreach about it. It will likely impact everyone in Illinois one way or another, so the more awareness we have the better.