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Invasive Spotted Lanternfly found at Dover Downs during race weekend

Delaware Department of Agriculture

An invasive pest that came over from China and Vietnam to Pennsylvania in 2014 landed in upstate Delaware last year. Now, the Spotted Lanternfly has now hitchhiked to Kent County.


A dead spotted lanternfly was found at Dover Downs during the recent race weekend.

The insect looks a bit like a moth and it does destructive work on trees according to the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA).

How did it get to the state capital?

“The insect, because it’s a plant-hopper is a very strong jumper and will get into cars, it will travel on things like tile, stone, anything it can really set itself upon, whether it’s an adult or an egg mass,” said Stacey Hofmann, chief of community relations for the state Ag Department.


She says the person who found the spotted lanternfly reported it immediately to the Ag Department. An environmental scientist then  surveyed the area where it was found and noted its body and the wings were beat up - suggesting it could have been attached to a vehicle and was probably dead for some time.


Hofmann says it’s good the pest was dead because they do not want it to infiltrate the many orchards and vineyards in Kent County.


Hofmann notes that spotted lanternflys are very distinctive, with bright red coloring and spots on its back.  In many cases, it’s mistaken for a moth.

The Ag Department encourages residents to learn more about the spotted lanternfly and how to report sightings to help keep it in check.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.