Invasive lanternflies spotted in Tri-State parks

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect native to China.
The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect native to China.(WHSV)
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 12:38 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The Cincinnati Parks Foundation is monitoring a new species of pests that have invaded the area.

Parks’ staff say that over the last few months, the spotted lanternfly has been detected in Mt. Airy Forest and Parker Woods.

The insects are very distinctive in size and color. According to parks’ staff, the insect is about an inch long and has a black head with grey-brown forewings and black spots.

Native to China, the insect’s host plant is the Tree of Heaven, another invasive species that emits a foul odor and can be found in Cincinnati and across the U.S., according to a post on the Cincinnati Parks’ Facebook page. The spotted lanternfly feeds on native plants, which becomes a stressor to them.

According to Mt. St. Joseph Dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences, Dr. Gene Kritsky, spotted lanternflies are plant hoppers and distant relatives of cicadas.

Dr. Kritsky also said the insects impact agriculture because they feed on a variety of plant species, including apples and pears.

Keep an eye out for invasive ‘spotted lanternfly’ in the Tri-State

To help stop the spotted lanternfly from breeding, mesh devices have been placed on trees throughout Mt. Airy Forest.

You can also help deter infestation by taking a quality photo of the lanternfly and contacting local authorities.

If you find one in a park or suspect an infestation, Cincinnati Parks officials recommend that if you see the insect to report it to ODA Plant Pest Control by sending an email to You can also call 614-728-6400.

Click here to learn more about the spotted lanternfly species.

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