Lantern flies are beautiful insects, and with their wings outspread, you could easily mistake them for a colorful butterfly or moth.
These insects are a species of planthopper of the order Hemiptera and entomologists also refer to them as true bugs.
Their distinct spots and eye-catching wings, which turn bright red when mature, are the features that make them easy to identify from other pests.
As their name implies, plant hoppers are among the most destructive pests of cultivated plants.
They live and feed on woody, ornamental, and fruity trees, with tree-of-heaven being one of their favored habitats.
The nymphs and adults of these devastating parasites feed by sucking sap from their host plant’s stems and leaves, causing substantial harm to agricultural plants.
Depending on infestation, this might limit photosynthesis, which weakens and harms the plant.
Through their feeding, they also produce honeydew, a thick, sweet substance that draws in other insects and encourages the development of black, sooty growth.
The growth might further harm the plant by preventing photosynthesis in the leaves of plants coated with waste.
Their destruction is why these flies pose such a problem to farmers.
Lantern flies prefer the invasive tree of heaven as a host plant, but they also eat other plants and crops, such as grapes, hardwood trees, apples, walnuts, and hops.
While the lantern flies prefer to hang outside, how do they access the indoors?
Transportation by human activities is how they move to a new location as they will lay eggs practically everywhere, including on the following surfaces:
- Outdoor equipment that you store outside
- Camping gear, etc
Their eggs may be the most mobile stage of their life with the unintended help of humans. Lantern flies can also use buildings to lay eggs, rest, or climb.
In this article, we will look at how they find their way inside and answer some frequently asked questions.
3 Ways Lantern Flies Get in the House
Lantern flies are beautiful. Despite their beautiful, striking features, they are destructive pests to have around.
The following are ways that they get indoors:
1. Through Human Activity
Although they can fly short distances, lantern flies are excellent hitchhikers and mainly spread through human movement.
They also lay concealed egg masses on fruit plants, pallets, outdoor equipment, and vehicles before covering them with what appears to be mud splash as a protective coating.
You could easily walk by an egg clump in full sight and not even notice it.
The lantern flies will probably hatch when you bring infested items containing egg masses indoors. Inspecting firewood, fruit vines, and any outdoor equipment before transporting them is crucial.
2. By Egg Laying
Lantern flies are not picky and will deposit their eggs on nearly any flat, smooth, vertical surface, though they prefer trees of heaven and fruit trees.
In the wild, it will be on a tree or, rarely, on a rock.
Around a home or place of business, it may be on any wall, the side of a car, a piece of furniture, or any other surface with a few inches of room.
In short, these invasive insects can spread indoors because they can lay the eggs they conceal in a protective layer.
3. Crash Landing
Lantern flies can use any structure to relax or climb. Your house is merely in their path, and they have no interest in it. In cold weather, they prefer to gather on warm house surfaces.
They often climb buildings in areas without large trees on hot, windy days. They expand their wings once they reach the top and seize the opportunity to crash and fall into buildings.
They can fly relatively far and high but are not agile and will land on buildings they come across.
Despite their beauty, lantern flies are horrible pests to have around.
Their best hang-out is outdoors, where they feed on various crops and plants such as hops, apples, grapes, hardwood trees, and walnuts. They can get in the house on any infested item you unintentionally move indoors.
They can also find their way inside from the egg masses on flat and vertical surfaces, including house walls, trees, stones, outdoor furniture, vehicles, and more items around your home.
These insects are also crash landers and will settle on any structure in their way.
It is advisable to inspect every item before bringing it inside and to become familiar with the insect’s life cycle and the optimal time of year to look for them or their eggs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Lantern Flies Harmful to Humans?
Although they cannot sting or bite humans, lantern flies can destroy many crops, trees, and plants.
Also, they can damage your yard by excreting honeydew, a sticky material promoting black sooty mold development.
What Are Lantern Flies Attracted To?
The tree of heaven is a lantern fly’s main attraction. Milkweed, a wildflower, also draws these flies, who enjoy sucking its sap. Vertical objects like utility poles visually attract lantern flies, like moths are to a flame.