SLF news from New York, Tennessee, Rhode Island


October 5, 2023

Photo: Cwieders/iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images

Photo: Cwieders/iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images

Buchanan, N.Y.-based JP McHale Pest Management launched the JP McHale Spotted Lanternfly Action Prevention (SLAP) Program and Task Force in response to the rapid increase in spotted lanternflies (SLF) throughout the Greater New York region.

The new task force is aligned with the unveiling of a new treatment, developed to prevent and reduce SLF, which is effective for both residential and commercial use. WABC-TV recently reported that an uncontrolled SLF population could cost the New York economy $300 million annually.

According to the news release, “the JP McHale SLAP Task Force is comprised of the company’s most experienced residential and commercial pest experts, who together developed an effective strategy for managing, preventing, and reducing SLF. JP McHale’s new treatment features neem oil, an all-natural pesticide that kills both the nymph and adult SLF, and features other topical oils that target the trunk and branches of trees in order to address the problem where it originates. This treatment is then combined with a special soil treatment, designed to combat SLF at the ‘source of their destruction.'”

Tennessee confirms SLF

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) recently confirmed the detection of SLF in Davidson County, Tenn.

Tennessee is the 16th state to detect SLF (Lycorma delicatula) since it was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014. SLF are now found in 16 U.S. states, including most of the mid-Atlantic region and parts of the Northeast and Midwest are currently confirmed in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

“Our Plant Certification Section inspectors responded to a tip from a vigilant citizen about a sighting of spotted lanternfly,” Commissioner Dr. Charlie Hatcher, said in a news release. “This non-native insect is harmful to a range of crops and natural resources in our state. Wood products businesses and fruit growers could be especially vulnerable, and we want your help in watching out for this pest and eliminating any you find.”

If you see SLF or an egg mass in the Volunteer State, take photos, then complete the form on Protect Tennessee Forests website at

Funding to prevent SLF in Rhode Island

In an effort to prevent the spread of SLF in Rhode Island, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are directing $132,474 in federal funds to the Ocean State to keep the pests from spreading and damaging local plant life as well as the state’s nursery and landscaping industry. If left uncontrolled, the invasive pests could affect ecological stability and cost Rhode Island millions of dollars in economic damage, according to the news release.

SLF is an inch-long, moth-like insect that is native to China.Noted for its black spots and red underwings, these planthoppers feed on a wide range of fruit, ornamental and hardwood trees, including maple, oak, pine, poplar, sycamore and willow trees. The insects suck sap out of plant stems and branches, which can weaken and kill plants. It also leaves behind a sticky, sugary waste matter called “honeydew,” which promotes the spread of sooty mold that further harms the plant.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) reports that SLF is a threat to northern Rhode Island’s trees and crops.  Last month, RIDEM commissioned spraying for the pests along Route 7 and Route 146 in Lincoln, North Providence and Smithfield.

The $132,000 in federal funding is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which works closely with state departments of agriculture and cooperators to minimize the risk of artificial spread by focusing primary control measures on high-risk transportation and commodity pathways. Additionally, APHIS supports survey and outreach activities.

Sens. Reed and Whitehouse are also cosponsors of the Spotted Lanternfly Research and Development Act (S. 1837).  This bipartisan bill would designate SLF as a high-priority research initiative for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). This high-priority designation would authorize the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to make competitive grants available for research projects related to the mitigation of this invasive species and find creative solutions to stop the spread. The bipartisan bill is led by U.S. Senators John Fetterman (D-PA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) and supported by Senators J.D. Vance (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and others.

DEM encourages Rhode Islanders who spot a suspected SLF to kill the insect, collect a specimen and report it to:


About the Author

Ellen Wagner

Ellen Wagner is the digital editor for PMP magazine. She can be reached at

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